Between the Circles

Kane named NHL's first star of November

Posted by TimS on Tue, 12/03/2013 - 16:43

Patrick Kane was rewarded Tuesday for his big November by being named the NHL's first star of the month.

Kane ranked second among skaters with 9 goals, including 4 game-winners, and 19 points, helping the Blackhawks win 12 of 15 games. Kane had at least 1 point in 13 of 15 games, including six multi-point efforts, and posted a career-long, 12-game points streak from Nov. 3-27.

Kane was a big factor in the 6-1 circus road trip.

"It's a pretty cool honor," he said. "It probably speaks more for what the team has been doing lately and sometimes when your team is playing well you're going to have some personal achievements along the way. I know some other guys had great months so hats off to them, too.

All Bull - Chicago Bulls

How do Bulls compare to other bad-luck NBA squads?

Posted by mikemcgraw on Fri, 11/29/2013 - 13:24

The Bulls have lost former MVP Derrick Rose to another season-ending knee injury. It's tough to take, but plenty of other NBA teams have endured some rotten luck. Some bounced back, other didn't. Here's a list of bad luck NBA teams of the past 30 years:

1984 Portland Trail Blazers
Bad luck: Chose injury-prone Sam Bowie instead of Michael Jordan in ’84 draft.
Outcome: Reached Finals in ’90 and ’92, but no titles.

1984-85 New York Knicks
Bad luck: After averaging 32.9 points, Bernard King played in just 6 games over the next two seasons because of knee injuries.
Outcome: Won the first draft lottery and selected Patrick Ewing.

1984-85 Indiana Pacers

Between the Circles

Bickell to miss 2-3 weeks

Posted by TimS on Thu, 11/21/2013 - 16:19

The Blackhawks will have to do without left wing Bryan Bickell for what coach Joel Quenneville called a couple weeks with a left knee injury suffered in Tuesday's loss at Colorado.

Bickell returned to Chicago on Wednesday to have the knee examined.

"Bick, he's likely out a couple weeks," Quenneville told reporters on Thursday in Winnipeg. "We'll know a little bit more as we progress, but hopefully that's the time frame."

Winger Jeremy Morin was recalled from Rockford on Wednesday and will replace Bickell on the third line.

"It certainly gives Mo here a chance to play a little bit more," Quenneville said.

Marian Hossa will return to the lineup at Winnipeg after missing three games with a lower body injury.

Between the Circles

Hawks won't rush Handzus back

Posted by TimS on Thu, 11/14/2013 - 13:14

Center Michal Handzus was to miss his ninth straight game on Thursday against Phoenix and isn’t expected back anytime soon.

Handzus has an upper body injury that is either a wrist problem similar to the one he played through in the Stanley Cup Final, or a concussion. There have been reports of both.

“I still thought maybe he could be out a little longer here, and he could be,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said following Thursday’s morning skate. “We said we’d give him as much time as needed so it’s not like we’re going to rush him back.”

Handzus’ time on the shelf has opened the door for Brandon Pirri to play center on the second line and he has flourished with Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad.

Suburban Political Recount

Duckworth's "Alive Day"

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 11/13/2013 - 16:26

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth talks on the U.S. House floor Tuesday. Her Blackhawk helicopter was hit on Nov. 12, 2004, making the anniversary what she calls her "alive day." She used the speech to praise the people who helped her.

"I owe it to them to make their sacrifices and their heroic efforts that day worth it," she said.

Between the Circles

Shaw gets two-year extension

Posted by TimS on Tue, 11/12/2013 - 13:21

The Blackhawks rewarded center Andrew Shaw with a two-year, $4 million contract extension on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old Shaw would have been a restricted free agent after the season. Shaw is now locked up through 2015-16.

"It's great to come to this agreement with Andrew and keep another important member of our team here in Chicago," said general manager Stan Bowman. "Andrew has proven his ability to play a prominent role on our team and we look forward to watching him continue to grow as a player for the Blackhawks."

Shaw, a member of the 2013 Stanley Cup team, currently ranks sixth on the club with 11 points on 4 goals and 7 assists and leads the Hawks with 51 hits through 18 games.

Shaw was a fifth-round draft pick (139th overall) in 2011.

Suburban Political Recount

Vallas in the suburbs

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 11/12/2013 - 12:45

Gov. Pat Quinn's new running mate, Paul Vallas, is in a different place politically than he was when he ran in the Democratic primary for governor in 2002. And the suburbs are a different place.

Still, maps are fun, so here's how Vallas did in the suburbs in that campaign he lost to Rod Blagojevich, with Vallas' wins being blue and Blagojevich's being red:

This map via

Here are the suburban results numbers, in case you like numbers more than pictures:

Cook County: Vallas 35.9%, Roland Burris 35.6%, Blagojevich 28.5%
Lake County: Vallas 49.9%, Blagojevich 32.5%, Burris 17.6%
Kane: Vallas 44.1%, Blagojevich 37.9%, Burris 17.9%

Between the Circles

Hawks' Mills could miss serious time; Frolik: 'Maybe they miss me'

Posted by TimS on Wed, 11/06/2013 - 13:27

Forward Brad Mills might be out for a substantial period of time with what is believed to be a right ankle injury.

Mills missed his third straight game on Wednesday for the Blackhawks against Winnipeg at the United Center.

“Right now, I don’t know the extent of it, but he could be out for a while,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

The news is disappointing to Quenneville because it appeared that Mills was fitting in on the fourth line and as a penalty killer.

“He had two solid games and had a nice presence there,” Quenneville said. “That line was responsible and gave us a presence physically and he was killing penalties and taking faceoffs, so we’re still looking for that fit there.”

Suburban Political Recount

Some local mayors back same-sex marriage

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 10/29/2013 - 11:31

Gay rights advocates today are touting a letter signed by several suburban mayors backing same-sex marriage.

State lawmakers could take a vote on the issue next week, but it's still unclear how that'd turn out. Here's the list of mayors: Kevin Burns of Geneva, Bob Hausler of Plano, Stephan Pickett of Sleepy Hollow, Dale Berman of North Aurora, Ray Rogina of St. Charles, Dave Anderson of Elburn and Gary J. Golinski of Yorkville.

Between the Circles

Handzus to miss at least next 3 games

Posted by TimS on Sat, 10/26/2013 - 11:51

The Blackhawks will be without center Michal Handzus for "more than a couple days," according to coach Joel Quenneville, with an upper body injury.

"He could be out for a little bit, we'll see," Quenneville said.

Handzus has battled wrist problems since last year in the playoffs. The Hawks played the Wild on Saturday then are at Minnesota on Monday before returning home to host Ottawa on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Quenneville said call-ups Jeremy Morin and Brad Mills would be in the lineup at forward Saturday night against Minnesota after being recalled from Rockford on Friday.

"Millsy is an experienced guy, he's been around," Quenneville said. "We thought he had a real good camp. He's a right shot, can take faceoffs, kill penalties - he can fill that niche that we're looking for."