Burish's idea develops into Champs for Charity game

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Burish's idea develops into Champs for Charity game

Adam Burish had an idea.

The former Blackhawks winger was missing hockey a lot, missing his 2010 Stanley Cup champion teammates more. For Burish, it was simple: nothing going on right now, so why not get a bunch of players together, including 2010 Cup teammates, play a game and do it for charity?

On Oct. 26, that idea is slated to come to fruition.

Most of the 2010 Blackhawks and other players around the league, including Bobby Ryan, Ryan Suter and Jack Johnson, will play in the Champs for Charity exhibition game on Oct. 26 at AllState Arena. Proceeds from the game will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana.

It was an idea that Blackhawks players past and present embraced immediately.

You want to be a part of it, said former Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell, who still lives in Chicago in the offseason. For us, its great to be able to be involved with it. Its great of Adam to start it up and lift it off. When Adam has an idea, its always first class. It wont be a legit game with hitting and everything, but its nice to get out there for the cause.

So far, currentpast Blackhawks slated to play are Burish, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager, Brian Campbell, Dave Bolland, Jake Dowell, James Wisniewski, John Madden, Troy Brouwer and Kris Versteeg.

Patrick Kane was originally not on the roster, as he was set to sign with a European team. But between the charity game and the hope that NHLNHLPA negotiations will yield a new deal, Kane decided to stay and play in the Oct. 26 exhibition.

When Burish first had the idea, he sent out a mass email to about 25 fellow players. He said he got responses from 10-12 of them in the first hour, so he got on the phone with agent Bill Zito and set the game wheels in motion.

I told Zito, All these guys are in. Lets work on this. They all wanted to help out, have a good game, and it all came together pretty quick, Burish said. We get the best of both worlds: we give back to a good cause and get a game with your best buddies together. Its a no-brainer.

Players were ready to play and give to the great cause.

As busy as we are during the regular season, traveling all over the place, we dont get to do as much hands-on charity work as wed like in Chicago. So playing this game would be a good opportunity to do that, Toews said. Well go out there, have some fun and give the fans what they want.

Ducks winger Ryan was added to the roster late Wednesday. Others slated to play are Al Montoya, Mike Brown, Alex Goligoski, Tom Gilbert, Ville Leino and Jared Boll.

Tickets range from 10, 15, 30 and 60 levels. There are also 100 500 VIP tickets, which include a glass seat, an event jersey, and a pregame meet-and-greet with the players from 6 to 6:45 p.m. All tickets can be purchased now through www.ticketmaster.com.

It was an idea that took shape quickly. And its developing into a game that will bring back 2010 Cup memories, help those who need it and provide that hockey fix.

We want to give fans who are starving for hockey something fun to watch, Burish said. People are going to be excited watching this game. The Ronald McDonald House (charities) are doing this first class. Its going to be as close to a hockey game as is going on anywhere close by. So people can be excited bout that.

Bears Grades: Offense ignites to end 1st half, puts up season-high points vs. Niners

Bears Grades: Offense ignites to end 1st half, puts up season-high points vs. Niners

With less than 2 minutes to play in the first half the Bears had gained a total of 45 yards, and had zero pass completions (2 attempts) and zero points . By the end of the half they had 115 yards, Matt Barkley had completed 4 of his last 6 passes and the Bears adjourned for halftime with a 7-6 lead.

For the second straight week Barkley engineered a comeback, this time for a win, and running a two-minute offense that, curiously perhaps for an inexperienced quarterback, seems to suit Barkley even more than the offense run a normal speed. More than one player said that 70-yard drive to finish the first half was a tipping point, on all sides of the football.

The turning point “was that two-minute right before the half,” said right tackle Bobby Massie. “Everybody just executed, did what we needed to do and drove right down the field. Then we come out after the half and drove right down again. It was good.”

More than just good for the offense. “I think that really spurred both sides of the ball to be motivated to finish the game strong,” said Barkley, who got the Bears into the end zone twice in last Sunday’s Tennessee game, and nearly a third, within the final 10 minutes, running 35 plays over the span of those minutes.”

This time the result was the highest point total (26) this season and scores on four out of five possessions beginning with that hurry-up score to end the half.

Quarterback: A-

Once again Barkley was beset by dropped passes, although nowhere near the avalanche of them that defeated him against the Tennessee Titans. Barkley shook off the conditions and poor start to complete 4 of 6 passes on the final drive of the half, for 64 yards – the entire passing production for the half.

Barkley followed a shaky first half with a solid second, completing 7 of 10 passes for 128 yards and zero interceptions, a significant key with the 49ers unable to do much of anything against the Bears defense. Barkley effectively convinced coaches that he could operate in the adverse conditions with passing and not simply handing off to Jordan Howard.

“I thought [the way] he handled the two-minute drive before the half, we had to open it up some and throw the ball,” said coach John Fox. “I thought he executed outstanding.”

Barkley finished with 11-of-18 passing for 192 yards, no touchdowns but no interceptions and a passer rating of 97.5.

Running back: A+

In a game that demanded effective rushing, Jordan Howard delivered a statement game, his fifth in the last eight with 100 rushing yards and 115 total yards of offense.

Howard rushed for 3 touchdowns, giving him five on the year, and carried 32 times, an average of 3.7 that belies the overall, which involved the chemistry of the run game, now averaging 4.4 yards on the season . “He’s fun, man,” said guard Eric Kush. “We block our butts off to try to give him something. Even if it’s not the prettiest block, we try to finish our blocks and give him a chance.”

Howard displayed power inside as well as burst on the Bears’ outside-zone runs that exploited the San Francisco edges. He carried 10 times in the first half, then 22 in the second.

“I’m definitely ready to be that workhorse,” said Howard, who now has 883 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns despite not starting until game four. “Even though they might know the run is coming, they still have to stop it.”

Receivers: B+

Josh Bellamy, replaced in the starting lineup by Deonte Thompson after his drop-laced game against Tennessee, had perhaps one the streakiest game of the Bears year. Bellamy again suffered with drops that included lost TD catches, but Bellamy rebounded to match his career-best 4 catches against Tennessee but with 93 yards and a long of 31 and others of 24, 22 and 16 yards. Bellamy also was handed the ball on an end-around for 12 yards.

All of this despite two egregious drops, one of a potential TD ball with Bellamy two steps behind his defender. “He came up to me and said, ‘Keep feeding me,’” Barkley said. “I’m not going to stop giving those guys the ball… .I’m going to keep coming back to them for the rest of the year.”

Cam Meredith remained in the starting lineup and caught 3 of the 4 passes thrown to him, with Thompson and tight end Daniel Brown catching 2 each.

Offensive line: A

With the adverse weather conditions expected, coaches made a specific challenge to the offensive line to take over this game against a struggling San Francisco front. Guard Josh Sitton was active but still limited with an ankle injury, so coaches stayed with Eric Kush at left guard and were rewarded with some consistent blocking in the run game. Kush executed combination blocks and worked to the second level. Kush and Charles Leno repeatedly dominated the San Francisco left side as the Bears pounded with the run and never let up in the snowy conditions.

“With the conditions, you had to run the ball,” Leno said. “The O-line just tried to come together, not worry about the record and win one week at a time.”

The result was another 100-yard rushing day for Jordan Howard, with 3 touchdowns, and 142 rushing yards, high for the season. “Today the offensive line got great push like they always do,” Howard said.

Barkley was sacked once, in the fourth quarter, on a breakdown in one-on-one blocking by tight end Daniel Brown.

Cody Whitehair going down in the fourth quarter with a leg injury was a blow, but Whitehair was able to return later in the period. The Bears had Sitton dressed and part of field-goal unit, and Sitton came in at right guard and Ted Larsen moved over to center.

Coaching: A

The obvious overall effort and preparation of a 2-9 team for a game of virtually no import to the season was noteworthy, as the Bears again played with intensity and efficiency throughout, including recovering from first-half gaffes on special teams that put the Bears down 6-0.

The defense schemed for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick by staying almost exclusively in a 3-4 front, utilizing three down-linemen and two outside linebackers to pressure Kaepernick and with the speed to thwart his runs. The result was the worst game of Kaepernick’s career, with 20 rushing yards and 4 passing, vs. 25 yards lost to sacks.

The offense held to a run-based mindset and plan, even when the 49ers turned two special-teams mistakes into field goals for the first two scores. The 49ers also relied primarily on man-to-man coverage, committing an extra defender to run defense, but the Bears were willing and able to challenge downfield knowing that the San Francisco pass rush was hampered by the field conditions.

“Props to Dowell[Loggains, offensive coordinator] and the whold coaching staff for getting us ready and making adjustments like that during the game,” Barkley said.

Special teams was again mistake-prone with mental breakdowns compounded by physical mistakes.

Morning Update: Bears beat 49ers; Blackhawks' offense struggles in loss to Jets

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USA TODAY

Morning Update: Bears beat 49ers; Blackhawks' offense struggles in loss to Jets

Here are some of the top stories from Sunday in Chicago sports:

Five Things to Watch: Bulls back in action against Trail Blazers

Tune in tonight for Chicago Bulls Charities Night

Blackhawks score late but can't get past Jets

Bears offense finds groove in win over 49ers

Winter meetings preview: Why teams will find trying to copy a ‘Cubs Way’ rebuild is easier said than done

White Sox revamp would mean fewer 'stopgaps' and 'half-measures'

Significance of Bears win over 49ers lies beyond records and score

Five Things from Blackhawks-Jets: Offense still anemic

Bears' Matt Barkley 'showing the world' he can be a starting QB in the NFL

Lars Johansson excited for Blackhawks call-up