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."

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Steverson will be White Sox' new hitting coach

Posted by scotgreg on Fri, 10/25/2013 - 12:46

Forget a big name like Jim Thome, Frank Thomas or Charlie Manuel.
A source has confirmed an report that Todd Steverson is going to replace the fired Jeff Manto as White Sox hitting coach.
Steverson, 41, has filled multiple coaching roles with the Oakland A’s since 2004.
He joined the organization as hitting coach for Class A Vancouver and was named manager at A Stockton in 2005. Steverson continued managing in the Athletics’ minor-league system until taking over as Oakland’s first-base coach for two years.
In 2011, he was on the move again, serving as hitting coach for Triple-A Sacramento.
The past two seasons, Steverson was Oakland’s minor-league hitting coordinator.

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Micah Johnson's AFL season over (and other notes)

Posted by scotgreg on Wed, 10/23/2013 - 15:25

While we wait for the White Sox to officially announce the signing of first baseman/designated hitter Jose Abreu, which probably isn't happening until after the World Series, let's take a look around the AL Central:
*Top prospect Micah Johnson's Arizona Fall League season is over.
According to the White Sox, Johnson is going to have a surgical procedure Tuesday to reposition a nerve in his right elbow.
Dr. Mark Cohen, the Sox' hand/wrist/elbow specialist, will perform the surgery at Midwest Orthopedic's Surgery Center in Chicago.
Johnson had a similar procedure when he was playing college baseball at Indiana. According to the Sox, the 22-year-old second baseman is expected to be fully recovered by the start of spring training.

Between the Circles

Kostka to miss 4-6 weeks

Posted by TimS on Wed, 10/23/2013 - 13:58

The Blackhawks announced Wednesday that defenseman Mike Kostka would miss 4-6 weeks with a lower body injury suffered in Tuesday's morning skate.

Kostka appeared in two games and had his first NHL goal in Saturday's 3-1 win over Toronto, his former team.

The Hawks still have seven defensemen on the roster. At this time they will finish the road trip through Florida with 21 skaters.

Suburban Political Recount

Session in Springfield this week

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 10/22/2013 - 11:33

There's lots of talk about action in Springfield this week, but new House Republican Leader Jim Durkin summed up his expectations directly.

"I think that we can pretty much write off the week," Durkin said.

Competing same-sex marriage rallies will take over the Capitol today and Wednesday, and Durkin thinks talks on other big issues like changes to the state's public pension system could happen behind the scenes next week.

Suburban Political Recount

Senger wins more backers

Posted by Mike Riopell on Mon, 10/21/2013 - 13:13

While the National Republican Campaign Committee doesn't pick sides in primaries, state Rep. Darlene Senger is trying to amass a big number of local Republican officials in her congressional primar bid against Chris Balkema of Channahon and Ian Bayne of Aurora.

Today she announced support from: "Dr. Darlene Ruscitti, DuPage Regional Superintendent of Schools, Naperville Township Republican Chairman Rachel Ossyra, and Lisle Township Republican Chairman and State Senator Michael Connelly."

Odd that Ruscitti isn't identified as the chairwoman of the DuPage County Republican Party?