Bulls NBA Playoffs action returns to CSN (Game 1 coverage begins Saturday at 11:30 a.m.)

Bulls NBA Playoffs action returns to CSN (Game 1 coverage begins Saturday at 11:30 a.m.)

CHICAGO BULLS NBA PLAYOFFS ACTION RETURNS TO COMCAST SPORTSNET
First Round Coverage Begins this Saturday, April 28 at 11:30 AM
Network to carry exclusive local TV coverage of Bulls vs. Sixers Game 1-3 (5-7 if nec.)

CSNChicago.com to provide LIVE video stream of EVERY Bulls post-game press conference, plus exclusive behind-the-scenes video and post-game reports from Bulls Insider Aggrey Sam

Chicago, IL (April 27, 2012) Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the NBA Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls (who, for the second-straight season, finished the regular season with the NBAs best overall record; tied with San Antonio at 50-16), is ready to deliver electrifying 2012 NBA Playoffs action as the Bulls look to continue their amazing season run in first round action against the Philadelphia 76ers. Comcast SportsNet will be the exclusive local television home in the Chicago market to see live coverage of Games 1-3, along with Games 5-7 (if necessary), plus every Comcast SportsNet Bulls playoff game telecast will also be presented in a high-definition (HD) format.

Comcast SportsNets Chicago BullsNBA Playoffs coverage gets underway this Saturday, April 28 beginning at 11:30 AM with exclusive local home team call coverage of Game 1 between the Bulls and Sixers live from the United Center. The always-entertaining Comcast SportsNet Bulls announcing tandem of Neil Funk and Stacey King will have the call for every first round telecast, plus Comcast SportsNets Gail Fischer will provide in-stadium reports throughout the first round. Coverage for Game 1 gets underway with McDonalds Bulls Pre-Game Live at 11:30 AM live from the United Center featuring Mark Schanowski and Kendall Gill; opening tip-off is set for 12 NOON. Plus, immediately following all playoff games Kia Bulls Post Game Live will feature live locker room interviews, detailed analysis, along with head coach Tom Thibodeaus post-game press conferences and numerous player interviews. (Comcast SportsNets complete Bulls first round coverage schedule is included in this release.)

Throughout the playoffs, viewers can also look forward to SportsNet Central: Playoff Central (scheduled nightly at 10:30 PM, times may vary due to airing of live events) for the most in-depth BullsNBA Playoffs coverage, including game recaps, previews, up-to-the-minute teamplayer updates, interviews and numerous playoff highlights from around the league.

Also, throughout the playoffs, Comcast SportsNets comprehensive website, CSNChicago.com, will provide fans with even more exclusive BullsNBA Playoffs content including the following:
CSNChicago.com will stream EVERY Bulls postgame press conference LIVE providing insider access to coach Tom Thibodeau addressing the media as it happens.
CSNChicago.com Bulls Insider Aggrey Sam will be on-site -- for EVERY Bulls playoff game -- filing stories and video for each game and team practices, plus Sam will provide up-to-the-second Tweets via @CSNBullsInsider throughout the series.
New-look Bulls team page offers latest news, player interviews, highlights, video and more 247
Game highlights available on CSNChicago.com following every game along with Game Story, a web-exclusive recap of each game.
Bulls Talk (@BullsTalkCSN) offers news, views and analysis from Sam, blogger Tony Andracki, Bulls PrePostgame hosts Mark Schanowski (@MarkSchanowski) and Kendall Gill as well as other CSNChicago.com contributors.
Additional NBA Playoffs coverage content sharingcross-promotion via NBCSports.com & ProBasketballTalk.com.
CSNChicago.coms Bulls news is presented by Suzuki; Bulls Talk sponsored by Illinois Back Institute

Note the following first round schedule of games and additional coverage information on Comcast SportsNet:

CHICAGO BULLS vs. PHILADELPHIA 76ers on COMCAST SPORTSNET

Game 1: Sat, April 28, NOON Bulls vs. Sixers (United Center) in HD

(NOTES: Bulls Pre-Game Live at 11:30 amBulls Post Game Live after the game, plus SportsNet Central at 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm and midnight to provide even more comprehensive BullsNBA Playoffs coverage; game replay at 11:00 pm)

Game 2: Tue, May 1, 7:00 pm Bulls vs. Sixers (United Center) in HD
(NOTES: Bulls Pre-Game Live at 6:30 pmBulls Post Game Live after the game; GMC SportsNet Central to follow; game replay at 11:00 pm)

-- IMPORTANT CUBS NOTE: The Cubs at Cincinnati game (originally scheduled on Comcast SportsNet at 6:00 pm) will now move to CSN (or CLTV in the Chicago market).

Game 3: Fri, May 4, 7:00 pm Bulls at Sixers (Wells Fargo Center) in HD

(NOTES: Bulls Pre-Game Live at 6:30 pmBulls Post Game Live after the game; GMC SportsNet Central airs at 10:00 pm; game replay at 11:00 pm)

-- IMPORTANT WHITE SOX NOTE: The White Sox at Detroit game (originally scheduled on Comcast SportsNet at 6:00 pm) will now move to CSN (or CLTV in the Chicago market).

Game 4: Sun, May 6 at approx. 3:30 pm Kia Bulls Post Game Live on Comcast SportsNet

Game 5: Tue, May 8 (Time TBD) Bulls vs. Sixers (United Center) (if necessary) in HD

Game 6: Thu, May 10 (Time TBD) Bulls at Sixers (Wells Fargo Center) (if necessary) in HD

Game 7: Sat, May 12 (Time TBD) Bulls vs. Sixers (United Center) (if necessary) in HD

Blackhawks improve faceoffs in Jonathan Toews’ absence

Blackhawks improve faceoffs in Jonathan Toews’ absence

Yanic Perreault came onto the ice as the Blackhawks wrapped up practice on Thursday.

It’s been a relatively common sight the last few seasons. Most of the time, Perreault has helped out when a particular player is struggling from the faceoff dot. That was true with Artem Anisimov earlier this season. But with Jonathan Toews sidelined the Blackhawks have been even more focused on improving upon and winning faceoffs. Thanks to the extra diligence, they’ve done that.

The Blackhawks’ overall faceoff performance has steadily improved. They’ll see how it goes again on Friday night when they face the New York Rangers, their eighth consecutive game without Toews.

“We’re working almost every practice and trying to get better on faceoffs,” Anisimov said on Thursday. “If we win the faceoff, we start with the puck and it’s pretty good. You can go to the offensive zone or win in the offensive zone you start with the puck and you have the opportunity to shoot the puck all day and get chances. It’s a big part of the game.”

Enter Perreault, who was a great faceoff man during his NHL career. The Blackhawks players say Perreault offers a wealth of information in each session.

“It’s different every day. The whole science behind it, he’s been great since he was brought in,” Marcus Kruger said. “He always has something new he wants us to work on, whether it’s just timing or body-positioning or something like that. It’s a lot of different stuff and we work on new stuff every day.”

Rasmussen agreed.

“It’s a lot of things you can work on,” he said. “You try to work on being in a low position so you get stronger. [There are] a lot of small things on how you can go against other guys that do it certain way, and you have to find your own way, too.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Their first game without Toews, against the Anaheim Ducks, was dismal. Part of that is the Ducks having some tremendous face-off guys. But Toews is the Blackhawks’ best at the dot – he’s won 60.3 percent of the time this season – so that first game without him was rough.

Here’s how things have progressed for the Blackhawks, with faceoffs won and lost and percentage, in Toews’ absence.

Opponent Wins-Losses Percent
Ducks 18-49 27 percent
Kings 21-37 36 percent
Panthers 39-35 53 percent
Devils 22-27 45 percent
Flyers 22-31 42 percent
Jets 31-27 53 percent
Coyotes 30-28 52 percent

So yes, there’s been improvement.

“I think we hold our own,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Yan works well with our center men, they take pride in trying to be the best they can and now they’re taking some important faceoffs and some they probably haven’t taken in the past, whether they’re defensive or special-teams faceoffs. They’ve all won some important faceoffs for us at key times, too.”

The Blackhawks have done their best filling the void left by Toews, especially on faceoffs. There’s been a lot of work put into it, especially with Perreault following practices. But the results have been there.

“We know we’d like to start with the puck, and we had a couple of tough games when Jonny went down initially,” Quenneville said. “But it’s been much better since.”

High School Lites Week 2 basketball capsules

High School Lites Week 2 basketball capsules

CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school basketball games across Chicagoland for another basketball edition of High School Lites. Catch the show live at 11 p.m. Friday on CSN and streaming at CSNChicago.com

The show will feature numerous teams in the CSN Preps Power Rankings. The best game on Friday night could be No. 16 Benet traveling to No. 15 Notre Dame in a clash of unbeatens in the ESCC but there will be plenty of other highlights to check for.

The Red-West, North Suburban and Southland are all prominently featured on the show this week while High School Lites will also have highlights from the SouthWest Suburban.

This week's Viewers' Choice Game of the Week generated over 5,000 votes as Von Steuben will travel to Taft to represent the Red-North.

We'll also have a Getting to Know feature on Conant senior guard Jimmy Sotos.

Thursday's Game

Hyde Park at No. 7 Kenwood, 4:30 p.m. -- Kenwood will try to keep its momentum going as they host Hyde Park in a Red-Central battle. Kenwood (5-1, 1-0) is coming off of a Red-Central win over Dunbar earlier this week while Hyde Park (3-1, 1-0) defeated Lindblom for a conference victory as well. The Broncos are still unbeaten in Illinois as they're relying on senior big man Manny Patterson and his talented group of teammates. Hyde Park is trying to figure things out in head coach Jevon Mamon's first season as Andrew Anderson had a nice game against U-High at the Chicago Elite Classic.

Friday's Games

No. 11 North Lawndale at Westinghouse, 4:30 p.m. -- The Red-West is going to be a lot of fun to watch this season as this should be an interesting game. The Phoenix (5-1, 1-0) knocked off Marshall for a Red-West win on Wednesday while Westinghouse (3-3, 0-1) is coming off of a tough double-overtime loss to Farragut. Westinghouse is going to have to slow down Carlos Hines and Martrell Barnes but they can counter with a talented senior of their own in Coreyoun Rushin.  

Kankakee at Crete-Monee, 6:00 p.m. -- We also head to the Southland on Friday night as Kankakee (1-3, 0-1) travels to Crete-Monee (3-2, 1-0). The Warriors survived a high-scoring, double-overtime win over Rich East on Wednesday as they're led by senior and Toledo commit Dwayne Rose, the nephew of Derrick Rose. Kankakee is off to a sluggish start as they've lost some close games and they could use a conference road win here.

Rich East at No. 19 Bloom, 7:00 p.m. -- Keeping it in the Southland, Rich East (2-4, 0-1) will try to shake off a double-overtime loss this week as they travel to face No. 19 Bloom. Rich East has two one-point losses and the double-OT loss to Crete-Monee this year, so they could be better than the 2-4 record indicates. Bloom (4-1, 1-0) was impressive during Thanksgiving week at the Chicago Heights Classic as they look like one of the premier teams in the South Suburbs this year.

No. 24 Thornton at Lincoln-Way West, 7:00 p.m. -- These two teams battled in the SouthWest Suburban Red last season and both programs return some key pieces. Lincoln-Way West (2-4, 1-0) is led by senior Marco Pettinato as he's an All-Area candidate and big-time scorer. Thornton (3-2) will counter with a big scorer of its own with senior Alonzo Verge.

No. 16 Benet at No. 15 Notre Dame, 7:00 p.m. -- This could be the best matchup of Friday night as two unbeatens clash in the ESCC. Benet (5-0) is coming off of a runner-up finish in Class 4A as they bring back some talented players like Jack Nolan, Liam Lyman and Justin Enochs. The Redwings have looked very good early this season as they've piled up a lot of double-digit wins. Notre Dame (6-0) is also off to a hot start as they picked up an overtime win over Loyola and another victory over Bartlett last weekend. The Dons have a lot of size on the inside as Chris Heinichen, Jeameril Wilson and Sean Johnson are all 6-foot-5 or bigger.

No. 12 Stevenson at Mundelein, 7:00 p.m. -- Stevenson is off to a great start as they try to carry that into Mundelein in this North Suburban contest. The Patriots (6-0, 2-0) are led by Indiana commit and senior Justin Smith as he's one of the best players in the state this season. Mundelein (2-4, 0-1) dropped one to Zion-Benton earlier this week as they try to get back on track in the North Suburban race.

Lake Zurich at Zion Benton, 7:00 p.m. -- Two team with high expectations in the North Suburban face each other in this one. Zion-Benton (2-1, 1-1) dropped a conference game to leader Stevenson last weekend but recovered with a double-digit win over Mundelein during the week. Lake Zurich (4-1, 0-1) dropped its conference opener to Waukegan after a 4-0 start to the season.

Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

Von Steuben at Taft, 6:30 p.m. -- This week's poll was a tight one as over 5,000 people voted and this game barely beat Lane at Uplift. The Panthers (0-2, 0-1) are trying to pick up their first win of the season after losing to an out-of-state opponent and No. 9 Uplift. Senior Rafael Cruz put up monster numbers last season as he's the player to watch for Von Steuben. Taft opened its Red-North slate at home against Lincoln Park as they're facing two tough opponents right out of the gate at home. They'll try to capitalize on those early conference home games with a win here.