CSN to celebrate 'Blackhawks Day' on Tuesday, Oct. 4

CSN to celebrate 'Blackhawks Day' on Tuesday, Oct. 4

COMCAST SPORTSNET TO CELEBRATE BLACKHAWKS DAY ON TUESDAY, OCT. 4

Network preps for the start of the 2011-12 Chicago Blackhawks season with a full day of Blackhawks-themed programming, including Live appearances from Blackhawks playerscoachesfront office execs & more!

CSNChicago.com to feature full-blown Blackhawks content including exclusive, live-streamed features, live interactive chats with players, plus - fans can win Blackhawks signed items via live interactive chat and Twitter
Chicago, IL (October 3, 2011) To celebrate the start of the upcoming 2011-12 Chicago Blackhawks season, Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Blackhawks, is celebrating Opening Week in a big way with BLACKHAWKS DAY on Tuesday, October 4.

Blackhawks Day on Comcast SportsNet is highlighted by the replay airings of a pair Blackhawks Classic telecasts from their thrilling, seven-game, 2011 first round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the rival Vancouver Canucks (airing at 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM). In addition, viewers can look forward to Blackhawks-themed season preview & player profile features, live playercoachesfront office exec interviews and full plate of online offerings via CSNChicago.com, will have fans whetting their appetites for the start of yet another action-packed Blackhawks season.

REMINDER: The 2011-12 Chicago Blackhawks regular season on Comcast SportsNet opens up in a big way with back-to-back nights of live coverage showcasing the SEASON OPENER on Friday, October 7 at 7:30 PM (live coverage starts at 7:00 PM on Chevy Blackhawks Pre-Game Live) and the HOME OPENER on Saturday, October 8 at 7:30 PM (live United Center coverage starts at 6:30 PM on SportsNet Central presented by AT&T U-Verse) as the Blackhawks face the Western Conference rival Dallas Stars on both nights.

Note the following on-aironline highlights from Blackhawks Day on Comcast SportsNet coming up TOMORROW (Tuesday, October 4)

THE DAN PATRICK SHOW (8:00 AM)

- Blackhawks Day festivities on Comcast SportsNet kick off with an appearance by NHL All-Star Patrick Kane on The Dan Patrick Show, which is scheduled for 9:05 AM. Kane will preview the upcoming Blackhawks season with DP among other topics of discussion.

BLACKHAWKS CLASSIC: BLACKHAWKS vs. VANCOUVER (2011 Rd. 1, Gm. 4) (3:00 PM)

- After returning to the Blackhawks line-up for the first time in six weeks after suffering a concussion, center Dave Bolland was determined to make his presence felt once again as he scored a goal and added three assists in the Blackhawks 7-2 rout over the Canucks at the United Center.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE LIVE presented by Captain Morgan (5:30 PM)

- It will be a star-studded Blackhawks edition of CTL as host David Kaplan will be joined by array of Blackhawks playerscoachesfront office execs and more including Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz, President & CEO John McDonough, Executive Vice President Jay Blunk, Vice PresidentGeneral Manager Stan Bowman, Head Coach Joel Quenneville, Comcast SportsNets Blackhawks play-by-play announcer Pat Foley, along with team members Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook and newcomer Dan Carcillo. Plus Blackhawks legendteam Ambassador Denis Savard, Tommy Hawk and the Blackhawks Ice Crew will join the festivities andmake sure to tune in for a special feature as Kap learns exactly how hard it is to be a professional NHL goalie.

SPORTSNET CENTRAL presented by AT&T U-Verse (6:30 PM)

- Hosts Pat Boyle and Mark Schanowski will be a joined on set by a Blackhawks player during the telecast, while Chris Boden will also be on hand to host a roundtable discussion featuring Blackhawks players and head coach Joel Quenneville discussing the upcoming season. In addition, viewers can look forward to interaction with Blackhawks players throughout the network as help out CSN employees with their jobs. NOTE: The 10:00 PM & 10:30 PM editions of GMC SportsNet Central, along with the midnight edition of SportsNet Central, will also feature a heavy Blackhawks Day focus.

BLACKHAWKS CLASSIC: BLACKHAWKS vs. VANCOUVER (2011 Rd. 1, Gm. 6) (7:00 PM)

- After being down 3-0 in their first round series against the Canucks, the Blackhawks stormed back to force a Game 7 following right wing rookie Ben Smiths dramatic goal in OT, lifting the Blackhawks to a thrilling 4-3 victory in front of yet another sold-out, rocking night at the Madhouse on Madison.

CSNCHICAGO.COM (ALL DAY)

The Blackhawks will have a complete take over of CSNChicago.com on Oct. 4, providing a full interactive experience for fans. Note the following highlights:

Blackhawks Talk Live on CSNChicago.com will be a live stream and interactive chat showcasing the Blackhawks visit to the Comcast SportsNet newsroom including interviews with players via Comcast SportsNets Blackhawks PrePost Game Live host Chris Boden

Blackhawks players to answer fan questions via live chat on CSNChicago.com

The live stream will include CTL Interactive on Chicago Tribune Live with Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers participating in the live chat with fans during the show and interacting with host David Kaplan and Blackhawks guests. Fans can interact via CSNChicago.com and Twitter CSNHawks.

CSNChicago.com home page take over by the Blackhawks with players serving as Managing Editors in selecting Blackhawks content to publish

Behind-the-scenes videos of Blackhawks interviews will be posted on CSNChicago.com during the CSN visit

Twitter Q&A with players via @CSNChicago , @CSNBoden and @TraMyersCSN

Fans can win Blackhawks signed items via live interactive chat and Twitter

Photo galleries and much more

Jay Cutler remaining Bears starter not assured when he returns from thumb injury

Jay Cutler remaining Bears starter not assured when he returns from thumb injury

Lovie Smith was clear: “Rex is our quarterback.”

Phil Emery was clear: Jay Cutler is an “elite” quarterback.

John Fox isn’t so clear: When Jay Cutler is cleared to return from his thumb injury, Cutler is not automatically still the Bears starting quarterback.

"I don't think there are any givens and that's not an indictment on anybody,” Fox said on Monday. “This is a day-to-day, week-to-week, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league and so we’re just trying to get the best 11 guys out there regardless of the position to where we can play a full 60 minutes and get a victory.”

Tough love is arguably the most effective management style with Cutler. Unlike the contracts and praise heaped on Cutler by prior administrations, current coaches and the organization withheld judgment on him after taking over in 2015. Cutler, who typically played worse after getting contract extensions and gaudy compliments, responded with the best season of his career.

Cutler watched from the sidelines as the Bears were beaten 31-17 by the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday behind Brian Hoyer, who was able to give the Bears some production in the second half for the first time this year, albeit only after the Bears were down 24-3.

“I thought [Hoyer] made good decisions,” Fox said, then qualified, “Not all of them. I think the very first play of the game didn’t go quite as smooth as we’d like. I thought he did some good things. I thought the pass-pro and some of those things helped the situation. I think we did have some explosive runs — we had more explosive plays in this game than we did in the prior two. We’ll evaluate that as we move forward and prepare for Detroit.”

The ultimate question is not whether Brian Hoyer is as good as Jay Cutler.

The evaluation will be whether Hoyer had success because the pass protection and run game worked better, or the bigger question, did those phases of the offense work better because of Hoyer. Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains has stated that a primary job of a quarterback is to get the other 10 players on the huddle to do theirs well. If the evaluation process, which could include another game next Sunday when the Detroit Lions come to Soldier Field, points to the offense functioning better for Hoyer, the Bears will have a major decision to make.

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Cutler has been benched because of performance only once in Chicago, late in 2014, for one game. He started the following week because Jimmy Clausen sustained a concussion.

Some perspectives on Bears QB switches

Back in 2005, while over at a social event during Super Bowl week in Detroit, a prominent member of the Bears’ defense vented on a decision that in his opinion cost the Bears their season. That decision was to go back to Rex Grossman as quarterback from Kyle Orton, who had been the quintessential game manager as a fourth-round rookie filling in while Grossman worked back from a broken ankle suffered in preseason.

“We’d’ve been here [in the Super Bowl] if we’d’a stayed with Kyle,” the Pro Bowl defender said.

That didn’t happen in the “Rex is our quarterback” phase of Smith’s tenure.

Josh McCown by his own assessment was not as good a player as Cutler in 2013 when the best-chance-to-win decision had to be made between those two. Coaches wanted to stay with McCown, the GM insisted on Cutler; the team stayed on course with Cutler, accelerated that direction actually, letting McCown leave for Tampa Bay and giving Cutler the “Jay is our quarterback” max contract.

But while Smith was invested in Grossman, who did get the Bears to the Super Bowl the next year, and Phil Emery invested in Cutler, who has won just one playoff game in his seven Bears seasons, coach John Fox and GM Ryan Pace have not gone all-in on quarterbacks they inherited. They stayed with Cutler without any real alternative last year, and Fox admitted that Cutler was perhaps one of the biggest positive surprises coming out of last season, when then-coordinator Adam Gase was the loudest voice in the room on that quarterback decision and the organization stayed with the quarterback to whom millions were guaranteed.

Now there is an alternative, who like McCown was vis’a’vis Cutler, is not Cutler’s football equal physically (“Have you seen him throw?” McCown answered one reporter asking what Cutler did that he, McCown, couldn’t).

Whether the Bears take that alternative will play out in practice and possibly a game over the next seven days.

Blackhawks: Abbott happy to be back after season in Sweden

Blackhawks: Abbott happy to be back after season in Sweden

Spencer Abbott enjoyed his short stint in Rockford, which came after he was acquired by the Blackhawks in February 2015. At the time, he thought staying here was his most likely plan.

Then he got an offer Frölunda in Sweden.

“I thought, ‘why not give it a shot? Maybe it’ll be a good experience and bring it back with me,’” said Abbott on Monday. “It was worth it, for sure. I have no regrets.”

Abbott, who’s back with the Blackhawks, had never been to Europe prior to getting that Frölunda offer. But his first trip across the pond was a good one as Abbott was part of Frölunda’s run to its Swedish and Champions hockey league titles. Abbott had 14 goals and 21 assists in 51 regular-season games. Abbott got plenty out of the games, but not nearly as much as he did in the team’s training camp.

“The first month and a half you’re over there, you’re there from 8 [a.m.] to 4 [p.m.] every day. I think over here there’s a rule against being here for more than 3-4 hours, but not over there. It’s like a 9-5 job for a month and a half, a lot of working out, a lot of bike riding. So for me, that was good because I had never been in that kind of shape before,” said Abbott, who added he’s trying to incorporate some of that into his routine here. “Training camps here are hard but they’re just different over there. There’s a lot of ice, bigger ice [overseas], so they really condition you. So my conditioning may be a bit better.”

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As much as Abbott loved his time in Sweden, he ultimately wanted to be back in the NHL. So when the Blackhawks offered him a one-year deal, he jumped at it. He’s gotten off to a good start this training camp, scoring a few goals in the team’s early scrimmages.

“I wasn’t sure how it would play out, to be honest. I’m 28 and pretty early in the summer they were showing interest,” Abbott said. “This is one for the places I really wanted to come, because I did l really like the organization when I was here for that brief period of time. Now I get the full effect as long as they’ll have me. It’s such a good organization.”

Abbott probably could have kept playing overseas but he wanted another chance in the NHL. He’s happy it’s once again coming in the Blackhawks’ organization.

“It’s overwhelming. There are so many places to play hockey nowadays in Europe. There are tons of leagues over there. But it didn’t interest me,” he said. “I wanted to come back and give it one more shot.”