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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Week In Sports Round Up

Let’s Make It Happen

Well, it has been an intense week for Chicago sports! Forget New York, Buffalo, or Philadelphia; Chicago is the greatest sports city in the world.

For one week in summer Chicago is a house divided.

For one week in summer Chicago is a house divided.

The Crosstown Classic was this week, and the Cubs came out on top. Though the Cubs swept the White Sox, the biggest news of the Crosstown Classic was the grand slam from pitcher Travis Wood. A rarity in baseball, the grand slam, followed by a homerun, launched the Cubs into the lead. Though the Sox are still in a better position overall, the Cubs victory this week was an energetic shot of fun for major league baseball and the city of Chicago.

No one will ever be tired of seeing this picture (well, except people in Detroit)

No one will ever be tired of seeing this picture (well, except people in Detroit)

Of course, the big sports news of this weekend is the Blackhawks advancing to play the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. Game One begins on Saturday afternoon, kicking off what is sure to be another nail-biter series that gives the Windy City a collective aneurysm. The Kings have a strong defense, but with an average of two goals per postseason game their offense is a weakness the Blackhawks could exploit. Hopefully, the Blackhawks will be able to keep their offense strong in this series and clean this round up nicer than they did the Detroit series. Keeping tempers down, keeping penalties to a minimum, and keeping focused on the competition will push the Blackhawks ahead.

Bring it, Los Angeles!

Bring it, Los Angeles!

Finally, the Scripps Spelling Bee has come to an end and the spelling champion is Arvind Mahankali. Winning by spelling “knaidel,” which means “a small mass of leavened dough” (a word we all use at least six times a day).

Get The Gear!

Get The Gear!

As the next series starts, be sure to visit Clark Street Sports to get your “Because It’s The Cup” shirt and start cheering for our four-feathered Hawks flyin high!

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Shave Another Day, Boys!

Admit it: This is what your heart looks like today

Admit it: This is what your heart looks like today

 

The Chicago versus Detroit series had us all on the edge of our seats. Whether you rooted for the Red Wings or the Blackhawks, one thing was certain: no one was having an easy time watching this series.

What started out as a great series starter for the Blackhawks quickly became the most painful experience for Chicago as the next three games went to Detroit. True to form, the Blackhawks sharpened their game and brought the thunder, embarrassing Detroit, forcing game seven, and taking the series. Let’s admit it: as stressful as the entire series was, the Chicago/Detroit games made for some amazing hockey. Emotions were stirred, tears were shed, and the Blackhawks came out on top.

The team as a whole was a phenomenal force. However, now that the credits roll on this particular series, it is time to take a look at particularly phenomenal players who really shined during this series and thank them for their service and for getting the Blackhawks to victory in a really intense series.

The Red Wings were't ready for Sharpie to handsome that puck around the ice!

The Red Wings were’t ready for Sharpie to handsome that puck around the ice!

After an injury and a regular season career that birthed hundreds of memes, Patrick Sharp skated into the playoffs ready to tear the ice apart. The Detroit series was bookended with great shots by Sharp, showing that he has returned to the ice to do business and eclipse his regular season performance with an electric playoff record. Welcome back, Sharpie. We’ve needed you.

Hockey Casual

Hockey Casual

Transitioning from his usual role as hockey brawler to sharp player, Bryan Bickell stands out as a great asset to the team in this series. Game three found him in the penalty box with his temper to keep him company, but game five had him proving that there was more to him than a brawling bad boy. His determination and focus were a major asset to getting the Blackhawks that had all of us watching hockey with a medical professional on speed dial just in case.

He's like Fred Astaire on skates...and with punches...

He’s like Fred Astaire on skates…and with punches…

Game three found Andrew Shaw on the biggest grumpy boy timeout. Numerous penalties and trips to the box found Shaw on Q’s naughty list. Game five, however, was a major turnaround for Shaw. The end of the game found Toews and him one goal short of a hat trick. Shawzer cleaned up his rough act and became one of the most important players toward the end of this series.

We can lavish praise on Toews, Kane, Hossa, Odouya, Saad, and the rest of the Blackhawks.

We could spend an entire blog article on how each and every player is special and important to the team as a whole.

However, no matter how much praise we heap upon the team, there is only one player we will remember from this series.

"We Are The Champions"

“We Are The Champions”

 

 

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Hawkey Talk

Like a HOSS!

Like a HOSS!

Well, sports fanatics, when we left for the holiday weekend we were all walking on egg shells, biting our nails, and praying to the hockey gods to help bring the Blackhawks a victory. We headed into the weekend hopeful and willing to stand by the mighty, mighty Blackhawks. We went into Game Five hoping that Shaw, Bickell, and Toews could keep their tempers under control long enough to win the game. We went into the game hoping our defense was as strong as our offense.

We all went into Game Five like this.

We all went into Game Five like this.

Our hopes and dreams came true, Chicago, because we’re forcing game seven against Detroit!

Game five saw Toews putting on his captain’s hat, keeping it cool, and scoring two goals. Bickell channeled his hockey rage into a goal. However the greatest star of the Blackhawks in Game Five was hot-headed, punch-throwing, blood-thirsty Andrew Shaw. The player that could not keep his temper under control in game three stepped up his game and kept himself on the ice instead of in the penalty box. This playoff series has shown that players like Shaw and Bickell are more than fist-swinging stereotypical hockey players; these are hockey professionals focused on the Stanley Cup and are dedicated so fiercely to that objective that they will reevaluate their playing tactics so they can best help their team.

Strongest pimp hand in the NHL

Strongest pimp hand in the NHL

Shaw and Bickell’s tremendous improvements, Patrick Sharp’s comeback from a depressing regular season, and the hopes and dreams invested in a team that blazed through the regular season with the twinkle of the Stanley Cup in their eyes have all been inspiring. However, the most impressive Cinderella story of the playoffs has definitely been Corey Crawford. With thirty five saves in game six alone, Crawford’s performance as a goalie has been a crucial element to the Blackhawks’ success; any Blackhawks fan who does not give Crawford the praise he deserves should be forced to give up all hockey apparel, delete their Blackhawks app, and choose a different team to root for.

So we have got a helluva nail-biter on our hands for tomorrow. Two teams deeply rooted in a long-standing rivalry are thirsty for drinking champagne out of Lord Stanley’s cup. Show your support for the mighty Blackhawks with our “Keep Calm and Win the Cup” tee shirt this week.

Game seven: you’ll pay for your seat, but you’ll only need the edge!

 

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Chicago Sports: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Waiting To Exhale

Waiting To Exhale

Well, hockey………hockey…….

Thursday’s game four wasn’t so much painful as it was devastating and heart-breaking. “Painful” implies that what happened is easily walked off; what happened in game four was more like your mom telling you that Santa isn’t real followed by an atomic wedgie from dad. Game four was painful if you elevate the definition of “painful” to “everything that happened in ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre.'”

But I digress.

Johnny, Be Good!

Johnny, Be Good!

The game was strong and tense through the first scoreless period. However, the tight tapestry of the Blackhawks playing began to unravel halfway through the second period. With three penalties on Captain Serious (read: three power plays for Detroit), Toews spent six minutes of the second period in the penalty box, a place where it is actually impossible to score goals. Whereas the Blackhawks were strong in keeping out of fights when Detroit tried to take advantage of the quick tempers and flying fists of Bickell and Shaw, they did not clean up on power plays and their tired defense allowed for the empty net goal that resulted in the shutout game.

No reason. Just look at Sharpie smiling and try to mimic it. It'll feel better.

No reason. Just look at Sharpie smiling and try to mimic it. You’ll feel better.

The blogosphere, radio shows, ESPN, local news programs, people around the water cooler, and everyone else you know will be spending every minute from now until puck drop on Saturday dissecting what went wrong in game four and how we can repair what we have in order to claim victory at the Madhouse this weekend. Whereas the Blackhawks do have a shot (they spent the majority of this shortened season undefeated, remember), the shot comes with acquiring discipline. They were more focused and disciplined in game four than they were in game three, but what everyone seems to have forgotten (well, until last night) is that the Red Wings have absolutely stepped up their game, and it did not come out of nowhere. Yes, the Blackhawks swept the Red Wings in regular season, but the Red Wings defeated the Anaheim Ducks in the first round of the playoffs; the Anaheim Ducks were the only team the Blackhawks could not beat in regular season. Detroit is a serious threat. Winning the next three games isn’t impossible; the Blackhawks are a great team. However, in order to do it, they need to focus on Detroit being a legitimate threat and play them with discipline, heart, and impeccable skill. This is not impossible, but no matter what happens the city of Chicago will be on the edge.

"Someday," thought Mike Ditka, "I'm gonna run this field."

“Someday,” thought Mike Ditka, “I’m gonna run this team to the greatest Super Bowl ever and have a mustache God and all the angels envy.”

Let’s move on to happier Chicago sports news. The headline “Chicago Bears Retire Mike Ditka’s Number” may be a few decades late, but we’re glad that it’s finally here. Iron Mike Ditka’s number now retires to the hallowed land of retired Chicago Bears numbers with Dick Butkus, George Halas, Gale Sayers, Brian Piccolo, and Walter “Sweetness” Payton. Read more about Ditka’s retired number here, and be sure to pick up our Superfan Ditka tee to make sure you have the proper attire to celebrate on December 9th when the retirement ceremony takes place at Soldier Field.

We cannot guarantee that our Ditka shirts will make you look this good.

We cannot guarantee that our Ditka shirts will make you look this good.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Ditka’s number will be the last one that the Bears will retire, which is upsetting to the Urlacher fans who were not only sad to see #54 retire this week but would also like to see his number hang with the rest of the legends. A thirteen year career at Soldier Field that was spent being a reliable, talented, and unique asset to the Chicago Bears certainly deserves major recognition. However, since it took decades to honor the man who is the face of the Chicago Bears to many, only time will tell what honors can and will be bestowed to the greatest linebacker since Butkus.

This Urlacher fan is a pretty adorable honor. None of us will miss Urlacher like she will.

This Urlacher fan is a pretty adorable honor. None of us will miss Urlacher like she will.

Finally, Memorial Day weekend is here! As we all watch the clock so our three day weekend can begin, many of you will be braving the chilly spring weather to see the White Sox take on the Florida Marlins or the Chicago Cubs play the Cincinnati Reds. Though it may be cold for baseball, the weather reports are saying that perfect eighty degree weather will be here for the Crosstown Classic. If you don’t have the perfect shirt to show your baseball fever, don’t fret! We’ve got plenty of White Sox and Cubs gear to choose from. Visit our website or check out one of our shops as you enjoy a weekend of shopping, brunching, and relaxing this holiday weekend.

 

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Wednesday’s Wild World of Sports

With baseball season in full swing, playoff hockey causing us to chew off our fingernails, a big announcement from Brian Urlacher, and the Bulls still grabbing headlines, this has, indeed, been a heck of a week for Chicago sports!

Dave Bolland does his best Joker impression to intimidate the Red Wings.

Dave Bolland does his best Joker impression to intimidate the Red Wings.

With the Blackhawks down in the playoffs against the much-hated Detroit Red Wings, the team is still optimistic about game four. Perhaps the Blackhawks were too confident against the team they swept in the regular season (a team they beat by a touchdown on Easter Sunday) and dismissed the fact that in order to play the Blackhawks, the Red Wings beat the second seed, the Anaheim Ducks (a team the Blackhawks could not beat in regular season). Game three saw an intense, ugly game that kept every fan, Chicago and Detroit, on the edge of their seats. The denial of what could have been the Blackhawks’ second goal certainly lowered the Blackhawks spirits as much as it raised the Red Wings’. However, in game four, it is clear that they cannot allow lowered spirits to turn into violent outbursts. Hockey may be a notoriously violent sport, but you can’t score goals from the penalty box. Though Brian Bickell and Andrew Shaw clearly will not let the Blackhawks go down without a knock down, drag out, good old fashioned hockey fight, in order to play effectively the Hawks need to keep their anger in check and focus that energy on getting to the net, keeping the puck in control, and playing angry while playing smart.

Save it for when we're ahead, Shawzer.

Save it for when we’re ahead, Shawzer.

The Chicago Bulls may be out of the playoffs, but the team with the most heart in the NBA may be losing the biggest heart of the team, Nate Robinson.

But we can't split up this dynamic duo! We can't!

But we can’t split up this dynamic duo! We can’t!

The news of Robinson’s likely departure has Chicago in an uproar. The little powerhouse that was a valuable asset to the Bulls in the playoffs has won the hearts of Bulls fans (and his on court relationship with the giant Joakim Noah might be one of the most endearing things in all of the NBA). The threat of Robinson’s leaving the Bulls has gotten Bulls fans in such an uproar that there is an online petition to convince the Bulls to keep Nate Robinson on the roster. Is this the best way to keep the running heart of the Bulls on the roster? Only time and a growing collection of signatures will tell.

So long, Brian

So long, Brian

Breaking news this morning is the retirement of Brian Urlacher, the Bears’ amazing linebacker. After toying with the idea of signing with the Vikings, Urlacher decided to retire from football altogether. Whereas we will miss seeing him destroying the competition every Sunday afternoon, we can selfishly admit seeing him go is better than seeing him in a purple helmet with viking horns on it. Retiring from football as a Chicago Bear was important to Urlacher, and we at Clark Street Sports wish the revered #54 the best of luck in retirement after thirteen years tearing up Soldier Field in navy and orange.

Baseball is serious business!

Baseball is serious business!

Memorial Day weekend means three day weekend and a lot of Chicago baseball. Whether your allegiance is to the North Side or the South Side, this weekend is a great time to take advantage of some fantastic Chicago baseball against the Marlins and the Reds before the Crosstown Classic kicks off on Memorial Day!

If you’re not dedicated enough to sport a full back Sox vs. Cubs tattoo this weekend, don’t worry! Clark Street Sports has all the gear you need for this year’s annual baseball blow out and for all your other Chicago sports needs! Until next time, sports fans, let us know what you think of what’s happening in the wild world of sports and keep rooting for the Windy City!

 

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Sens’ MacLean, Ducks’ Boudreau, Hawks’ Quenneville are Jack Adams finalists

ProHockeyTalk

The nominees for this year’s Jack Adams Award are Ottawa’s Paul MacLean, Anaheim’s Bruce Boudreau, and Chicago’s Joel Quenneville, according to the NHL. The award will be given “to the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.”

Overcoming adversity is something that all teams have to do, but no one had more roadblocks than MacLean’s Senators. They lost major pieces of their team for significant portions of the season, including the reigning Norris Trophy winner, Erik Karlsson, their top two goal scorers in 2011-12, Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza, and starting goaltender Craig Anderson.

The Senators weren’t regarded as a juggernaut even when all those players were healthy and any one of those losses could have been justification for the team missing the playoffs. Instead Ottawa fought against the odds and managed to squeeze into the postseason.

Boudreau replaced Randy Carlyle as the Anaheim…

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Blackhawks 4 Red Wings 1

Three goal third period gives the Hawks a 1-0 series lead

Just like the Blackhawks first game during the Western Conference Quarterfinals, the Hawks got of to a slow start at entered the third period tied 1-1 at home. Unlike that series, the Blackhawks showed why they were the winner of the presidents trophy and scored three third period goals to give them a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Just as they have all season long, the Hawks received contributions from both their forwards: (Patrick Sharp (goal and 2 assists), Marian Hossa (goal), Marcus Kruger (goal), Jonathan Toews (assist), Patrick Kane (assist), Daniel Carcillo (assist)); defensemen (Johnny Oduya (game winning goal), Niklas Hjalmarsson (assist), Nick Leddy (assist)); and goaltender (Corey Crawford stoped 20 of 21 shots).

Chicago will continue their series Western Conference Semifinals Series Saturday noon at the UC as the Hawks look to take a 2-0 series lead to Detroit.

 

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