The Chicago Blackhawks

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 11:   Chicago Blackhawks celebrate after winning the Western Conference Semifinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Vancouver Canucks on May 11, 2009 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL – MAY 11: Chicago Blackhawks celebrate after winning the Western Conference Semifinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Vancouver Canucks on May 11, 2009 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks, have become one of the dominant forces in the NHL. Winning 3 of the last 6 Stanley Cups, the organization is set for the history books. From sharpshooting forwards to rugged defensemen, it is not far’fetched to say that they reload year after year. Although the Blackhawks were eliminated from this years’ Stanley Cup playoffs, they are still making headlines in the hockey world. This year 13 Blackhawks were selected to compete in the World Cup of Hockey. That number equates to around half the active roster.

The World Cup of Hockey is a tournament organized by the NHL where players are selected to represent their respective countries. The tournament is played prior to the NHL pre-season, therefore it does not interfere with the regular season, unlike the IIHF World Cup that is played during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This year’s World Cup is the first time that the tournament has been played since 2004 in which Team Canada was the Champion.

During the original selection on March, 9 Blackhawks were selected to participate however, each team still had to add 7 player to complete their rosters. This is where the next 4 were selected. A comprehensive list of players selected can be viewed below. It’s important to notice that not only were the Blackhawk leaders selected but, youngsters Teuvo Teravainen and Ville Polka were selected to play for team Finland. Both players will be 22 years old by the start of the tournament. Polka making the cut is huge for the Blackhawks, because he will have time to develop his game through international competition even though he hasn’t seen time in the NHL yet. In regards to Teravainen, who has already seen NHL and international competition, he will look to continue growing as a two-way forward as we saw those abilities in Game 1 of the 2015 Finals.

Many critics express the significance of the World Cup because it is a small glimpse of what the Olympics would look like if they were to start today.

“So what does this mean exactly?”, you may ask. This is concrete evidence that the Chicago Blackhawks are alive and well, despite being knocked out of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. ESPN will be airing the World Cup of Hockey starting September 17th. “

Team Canada Jonathan Toews

Duncan Keith

Corey Crawford

Team USA Patrick Kane
Team Russia Artem Anisimov

Artemi Panarin

Team Finland Teuvo Teravainen

Ville Pokka

Team Sweden Niklas Hjalmarsson

Marcus Kruger

Team Europe Marian Hossa

Christian Ehrhoff

Team Czech Rep. Michal Kempny

 

One of Chicago Bulls Biggest Fans: President Barack Obama

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President Barack Obama, perhaps the most famous Bulls fan in the world, sat court-side on Tuesday October 27 to watch the Bulls defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers on the opening night of the NBA regular season.

In a halftime interview with TNT, Obama predicted the Bulls and Cavs will be “two of the top teams” in the Eastern Conference, but he couldn’t withhold his favoritism for his hometown team.

“I am a big Bulls fan,” Obama told TNT’s David Aldridge. “It’s very promising.”

During his interview with TNT, Obama also thanked the NBA for supporting his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, which helps young men of color.

“It’s a program to make sure that all of us are supporting disadvantaged youth and particularly disadvantaged boys,” Obama said. “The NBA stepped up. Every team in the league is sponsoring mentorship programs.”

Following the game, Obama took to Twitter to applaud the Bulls’ victory.

Obama Tweet
Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose said “it’s always an honor” to play in front of the president.

This wasn’t the first time Obama attended a game while in office. In February 2009, during his first term, Obama sat courtside for a game between the Bulls and Washington Wizards in D.C., and he drank a beer as he took in the action.

When Lebron James was interviewed before the season opening Bulls vs Cavs game, he said “I believe our league is the greatest league that we have in the world. We have the greatest athletes and greatest fans and so on and so on,” said James. “So [for] the president of the United States to grace us on opening night in Chicago, I’m just honored. [It’s] something I can tell my kids a long, long time from now. I’ll actually be able to have the film showing them — kids don’t believe me sometimes — I’ll be able to show them the film that the president of the United States was at a ballgame I played in. That’s pretty cool.”

To read more about Obama’s love of the Bull’s, click here.

A Shutout For Chicago

The cubs had a wild win Wednesday night, after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 in the 2015 National League Wild Card Game at PNC Park. Lead by pitcher, Jake Arrieta, who struck out 11 players in his first ever playoff game, Chicago fans went home overzealous with joy. Tonight, the Cubs will continue in the playoffs, facing the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

Alan Rasof, Jake Arietta

According to a recent article published by SB Nation, “Cubs manager Joe Maddon put what he called the team’s best offensive lineup up against Pirates ace Gerrit Cole, and it paid off to the tune of four runs in five innings,” (Stephen, Cubs vs. Pirates 2015 Final Score). Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber proved to be leading players in Wednesday’s game, with major plays on top of their home runs. The article explains both players’ remarkable impact during the game: “The center fielder Fowler had three hits on the night and scored three runs from the leadoff position while Schwarber, playing in right field and batting second, drove home three runs,” (Stephen, Cubs vs. Pirates 2015 Final Score).

Cubs pitcher, Jake Arrieta, has been showing strength since June 16th, during a game that started his reputation for not allowing more than three runs during a game. Wednesday night was no exception, as the four-run lead did not show any worry on Arrieta’s face whatsoever.

The game as a whole, however, kept tension high until the end, when Arrieta was hit by a pitch while batting after hitting a pair of Pirates earlier on in the game. The teams proved to be evenly matched, with a combination of 195 wins during the regular season, but Arrieta proved to be the leader in bringing the Cubs home with a win. The Cubs will play on Friday in St. Louis.

Chris Sale’s Success

Alan Rasof, Chris SaleThough the Chicago White Sox lost to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, August 26th, White Sox pitcher Chris Sale’s proved his dominance on the field, delivering seven scoreless innings without a whole lot of support from his team.

According to ESPN.com, “The beauty of Sale is that he still knows enough tricks of the trade to not only get by without his best stuff, but also to hold an opponent scoreless into the late innings,” (Chris Sale Finds a Way, But White Sox Can’t). Sale entered Wednesday’s game coming off a 15-strikeout game on August 16th against the Cubs, followed by a 14 strikeout game against Seattle. Though the Red Sox would not give left-handed Sale the ability to become the second pitcher in the MLB’s modern era to strike out in 14 consecutive games, Sale kept his team afloat, delivering a great game.

Though Sale did have a bit of trouble with his fastball for the Red Sox’s right-handed hitters, he was able to adapt throughout the game. After the game, Sale stated:

“I was throwing a lot of pitches; they were spitting on some good ones. But I wasn’t really Alan Rasof, Chris Salehelping myself out. The arm-side fastball kind of got away from me a little big. I made some in-game adjustments. We talked in between innings to get that a little bit tighter,” (Chris Sale Finds a Way, But White Sox Can’t).

As we know, team communication plays a huge role in the outcome of a game. So though Sale was very vocal about switching up his pitching style, the White Sox as a whole must work on ways to communicate more effectively.

Overall, a round of applause for the way Sale has been pitching lately, but the lack of team effort definitely needs to be worked on amongst the White Sox.

The Best Things About Being a Bears Fan

Alan Rasof chicago_bears_logoChicago Bears fans are some of the most genuine, motivated fans that will do anything to show support for their favorite team. The Bears have been around since the creation of the NFL, so their fans go deep back into the roots of American football. Since the beginning the Bears have always been supported by their fans. Here’s a list of just some of the many reasons why it’s great to be a Bears fan:

First, Chicago is one of the best reasons to love the Bears. From 1921, when they were known as the Chicago Staleys, Bears fans support one of the greatest cities in the world. It may not be as big and luxurious as New York, or as celebrity-infused as LA, but Chicago’s atmosphere on game day outshines any other city’s. From the delicious aromas of barbecue at tailgates, to the views of the stadium situated near the lake, Bears fans have love for not only their team, but for their city that makes it all come to light.

Next, the Bears have the best players in NFL history – there’s no question about that. The 1985 Bears Superbowl team was stacked with the most Hall of Famers of all time. From arguably the greatest running back to have ever existed, Walter Payton, to Mike Singletary, Danimal Hampton and Richard Dent – the team was stacked. From backfield players to middle linebackers and a quick-as-lightning offense, no team in football history has ever come close to the Chicago 1985 Bears, and fans will not let you forget it.

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George Halas is another reason it’s great to be a Bears fan. Known as the father of the NFL, coach Halas reached more than 300 wins in his career, including the time he played defensive end for nine of those seasons. Halas was so influential for the Bears that they have adopted his initials, GSH, onto their jerseys.

Another popular name, and number (51), in Bears history, Dick Butkus, is one that Bears fans will never forget. Selected to play in eight consecutive Pro-Bowls, Dick Butkus is one of the most famous linebackers of all time. He ruled the field from the mid 1960s until 1971, and has gone down in history as a legend. And, since he’s known as being one of the most intimidating men on the field, why wouldn’t you want Butkus on your team?

Lastly, it’s great to be a Bears fan because of their incredible track record of success. The Bears hold the most wins in NFL history – 729, and that includes playoffs. They also have the best winning percentage of any other team at .575. Their continued success has made Bears fans some of the strongest, most dedicated fans in the business.

To read more about why it’s great to be a Chicago Bears fan, read this article published by The Bleacher Report.

Duncan Keith – The Best on the Blackhawks

Alan Rasof photo of Duncan Keith blackhawksAs we all know, the Chicago Blackhawks took home the 2015 Stanley Cup last week on June 15th. But, who proved to be the best player throughout the final rounds in the tournament? Most people would immediately jump to Toews, Crawford, and Kane, but according to an article recently published by USA Today, “Duncan Keith is the best player on the Chicago Blackhawks right now,” (Jhaveri, Not you, Patrick Kane. Or you, Jonathan Toews). So, why does Duncan Keith deserve this title? Here are some of the many reasons:

First, Keith’s undeniable stamina and fortitude as a defenseman throughout the post-season play are what made many fans and spectators look to him as MVP. During the Wednesday night Game 6 Western Conference Final, Keith’s efforts really came into light as he assisted the first 3 goals for the Blackhawks within a span of 3 minutes and 45 seconds. Keith played for an impressive 28 minutes and 35 seconds throughout the crucial game over the Ducks.

According to the USA Today article, “While Keith didn’t notch a goal, he was still the best player on the ice, using speed, skisl, patience, and toughness to help the Blackhawks to a win,” (Jhaveri, Not you, Patrick Kane. Or you, Jonathan Toews). Keith’s initial long pass to Kane ended in Sadd’s goal, putting the Blackhawks first on the board for the night. Then, Keith maneuvered his way through the Anaheim defensive with a double pump fake which led to Marian Hossa’s goal, shortly followed by his ability to keep the puck in the Blackhawks zone that quickly followed by the third goal placed by Kane.

Alan Rasof -DuncanKeith

Furthermore, “With 16:40 left in the third period and the Blackhawks clinging to a one goal lead, Keith also made the save of the night on Corey Perry. There’s not much else Keith could have done to help the Blackhawks win,” (Jhaveri, Not you, Patrick Kane. Or you, Jonathan Toews). Keith’s consistency during this game carried on throughout the remainder of the tournament, proving that great players, not just great scorers, are what leads a team to winning a championship game.

For more information on what makes Duncan Keith one of hockey’s greatest players, read USA Today’s article here.