WBEZ | Jonathan Toews http://www.wbez.org/tags/jonathan-toews Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Have the Blackhawks saved the NHL? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/have-blackhawks-saved-nhl-105894 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_2blackhawks_joe_smierciak.jpg" style="height: 351px; width: 620px;" title="The NHL gets a huge boost from the play of the Blackhawks. (AP Photo/Joe Smierciak)" /></div><p>This may be a stretch to some: the Blackhawks may have saved the NHL.&nbsp; This was a league on the brink of total disaster as the lock-out crept into a long drawn out process.</p><p>The season was on thin ice in the sports world until the mighty Chicago Blackhawks put on their famous sweaters and dazzled the world of hockey with an unprecedented start of a season.</p><p>With the 5-3 win over Minnesota last night, they have tallied a point in every game this season and maintain a record of 20-0-3.</p><p>NHL commissioner Gary Bettman can thank his lucky stars (actually, thank the Hawks stars) that one of the oldest franchises of the league has played this game to almost virtuoso heights. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Towes, Marian Hossa and a roster full of better than average players are all contributing to this historical start of this 48-game season. Tonight it will be the half-way point and the Blackhawks are making the sport relevant when it could have disappeared off the panacea of the sports world.</p><p>Since the 2009-2010 Championship season, the Blackhawks have been the talk of the town in Chicago and making waves on the national front. Their exploits are the number one story on TV, radio and the newspapers in Chicago. They played to a large audience on the NBC network on Sunday. The overnight rating had 1.6 rating&nbsp;and 9.7 rating in Chicago. There have been national discussions about which is the better team in sports right now, the Miami Heat of the NBA or the&nbsp;Blackhawks? (Chicagoans will side with their hockey team.)</p><p><strong>Lockout may help the Blackhawks&#39; big stars</strong></p><p>&nbsp;Marian Hossa was crushed by a blow from Phoenix Coyote Raffi Torres in the playoffs last spring. All the down time from the lock-out allowed the veteran an opportunity to heal and get his bearings back from the concussion he endured. Last night the Blackhawks honored their Slovakian star for playing his 1,000 game. Hossa also celebrated scoring his tenth goal of the season.</p><p>Twenty-four-year-old Patrick Kane seems to have&nbsp;matured, maybe playing in Europe as&nbsp;the negotiations dragged on helped him. Even though he won a Stanley Cup just three years ago, there have been questions about his indiscretions getting the better of his talent. On Sunday, he showcased against Detroit exactly how much talent and ability he possesses. When he scored the power play goal&nbsp;in the final two minutes of the game, Kane saved the streak. It was his nifty shot in the shoot-out against Wings goalie Jimmy Howard that won the game. And again last night when the Wild closed the Hawks lead to 4-3 Kane came up with his twelfth goal of the year.</p><p>Jonathan Towes, the team captain, just does everything right on and off the ice. He kept the team together during the lock-out. He has been a dominating presence on the ice. His pass to Brent Seabrook for the game winner on Friday in overtime showed his enormous ability. Like Kane, he is only 24, but plays and performs much older then his years.</p><p>The goaltending and defense has been superb. Ray Emery and Corey Crawford&#39;s play between the pipes has been impressive. Crawford told me he made an adjustment to his play in the net by reducing his movement. It is paying off so far.</p><p>&nbsp;With a jammed packed 48 game season, the teams with the most talent had the distinct advantage. (No training camp, no problem.) When Joel Quenneville can throw four lines out on the ice he can preserve his best for last if need be which he has done. How many teams can do that in the NHL?</p><p><strong>The fans are rewarded</strong></p><p>&nbsp;The Hawks loyal fan base has responded with huge support, selling out the games. It is a sea of red Blackhawk sweaters in the stands. They have been rewarded with a season full of excitement. It is a shortened season, but one of the most spectacular one in recent&nbsp;Chicago sports history. To be frank, the shortened season this year by the NHL and last year by the NBA has made it more entertaining and the sense of urgency to win is definitely a positive. The players and owners may not like that idea (too much lost money).</p><p>There may be some doubters about the premise the Blackhawks may have saved the NHL season, but how often are you hearing, reading or maybe talking about the Blackhawks? Are you humming <em>Chelsea Dagger</em> yet? The Hawks are still competing for headlines with the Bears, baseball and Derrick Rose for attention. But it seemed just a few months ago they (and the NHL) were on the verge of being an insignificant story.</p><p>Of course, the doubters may say it will only matter if the Blackhawks can once again hoist the Stanley Cup in June. They may be right. But enjoy the moment. Enjoy the history. There almost wasn&rsquo;t a season.</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">@CRayeStout</a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame </a></em></p></p> Wed, 06 Mar 2013 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/have-blackhawks-saved-nhl-105894 Young pros: Leadership in Chicago sports http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/young-pros-leadership-chicago-sports <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/cutler dope_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The <a href="http://www.chicagobears.com/index.html" target="_blank">Chicago Bears</a> will play the Seattle Seahawks Sunday for a shot at the NFC Championship. Last time they met, the Bears lost to the Seahawks and it&rsquo;s been four years since the Bears won a playoff game. But the odds seem to favor Jay Cutler and the boys. Although, Cutler has never been in an NFL playoff and in recent days, there have been a few some <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=3682223" target="_blank">unkind words</a> about his personality and leadership.</p><p>Will the behind-the-scene dynamics of this team play a factor in Sunday&rsquo;s game? And what about some of Chicago's other young teams &ndash;how are these winning teams coming together behind the scenes?</p><p>There&rsquo;s only one reporter in this town that gets up-close-and-personal enough to answer those questions, &quot;Eight Forty-Eight's&quot; sports contributor Cheryl Raye-Stout.</p><p><em>DJ&nbsp;John Ciba's Music Button: Samson and Delilah, &quot;There's a DJ in Your Town&quot; (7&quot; on Black Prince Records)</em></p></p> Fri, 14 Jan 2011 14:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/young-pros-leadership-chicago-sports Forget local Chevy dealerships, how long til we see Kane and Toews in a Nike commercial? http://www.wbez.org/jkaufmann/2010/03/forget-local-chevy-dealerships-how-long-til-we-see-kane-and-toews-in-a-nike-commercial/16417 <p>Whew,what a game yesterday. Kane and Toews are way past the local TV ads. It's time for their agents to get rid of the Luna carpet and Walter E. Smithe scripts and upgrade to McDonald's, Sony and Nike. Your tables are definitely ready. You know they are partying hard as you read this. Vancouver style. Trust me, <a href="/jkaufmann/2010/01/photos-me-patrick-kane-hanging-out-shirtless-in-vancouver/13314">I know Kaney from my party days with him</a>... <a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//patrickkane.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-16423" title="patrickkane" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//patrickkane.jpg" alt="" width="462" height="300" /></a><code> </code> <strong>Top story:</strong> <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/2074318,chicago-chilean-quake-response-022710.article" target="_blank">I hate earthquakes and the lives they ruin</a>. My heart (and wallet) go out to the people of Chile. But what a gift for the U.S. news cable shows that a tsunami was supposed to hit a U.S. state (but not right away).‚  That means they would get a prime-time audience waiting to see a live catastrophe. And we sat glued to the screen as they just filled time, vamped and stalled by showing the same live shot of a beach and a couple b-roll shots of surfers, probably taken hours (if not) days earlier. But I have to say, when I found out about the news (via the internet), I turned to cable news to be my up-to-the-minute source.‚  The anchors on MSNBC narrate the story and curate the news. I find that much easier than trying to find it myself. <strong>B story:</strong> The <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/business/2072262,SHO-Sunday-wolf28.article" target="_blank">Sun-Times ran an article yesterday</a> featuring longtime sports broadcaster Bruce Wolf's job search. They even talk about how he has been leaving comments on Robert Feder's blog at vocalo.org. His quote when pressed about his comments"¦<!--break--> <blockquote>Wolf's Feder-described "rants, digressions and self-serving plugs" ceased a couple of weeks ago. At the moment, he's unsure if they'll return. "At some point you're just entertaining the people who you're trying to impress," he says, "and I don't feel like doing it for nothing."</blockquote> What does that mean? Was he just cherry-picking knowing influential eyeballs who were reading daily? I'm positive that's what it was, but to come out and just say it? I guess that's gutsy. Or just plain stupid. It's all comment-crazy right now as I got so many e-mails on Thursday/Friday about the comment section on Feder's blog getting out of control. I had to step in and yell at people. Can you imagine me, yelling at people about blog comments? The hypocrite alarms are sounding off the shores of Lake Michigan"¦ <strong>C story</strong>: This is <a href="http://www.filmspotting.net/" target="_blank">Oscar week</a>. And I guess this year they are expanding the "ËœBest Picture' category to 10 nominees. That's a lot more movies I won't see before the Oscars. It almost takes it over the saturation line. I am so intimidated by not seeing any movies this year that I will probably keep it that way. I had a chance to rent some Oscar stuff from the RedBox this weekend, but went with <em>Confessions of a Shopaholic</em> instead. No big deal. I'm not sure if it is nominated for any Oscars, but if it is, it shouldn't be. <strong>Sports:</strong> Wow, those Olympic games couldn't have worked out better for the NHL and the Chicago Blackhawks. <a href="http://dennis-dodd.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/6270202/20258662?tag=coverlist_active;coverlist_footer" target="_blank">Kane and Toews starred in the gold medal game</a> yesterday and the NHL is going to push this duo like crazy, because everyone in the world got a good glimpse. Let me be clear about something: I'm not a huge hockey fan. It's hard to get into the sport when the local team has been so miserable for years. And truthfully, the Blackhawk ownership didn't give me the product on television, so I relied on newspaper articles and local news highlights to get a feel for the game. Here is an observation from watching a full hockey game yesterday: You don't need two halftimes. I understand there is probably a need for it, but you should take a page from the NFL: they understand their American audience. Quick, fast, non-stop action keeps us around. The 10 minute breaks for analysts and commercials doesn't. I'm just sayin'"¦ <strong>Kicker:</strong> <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-0216-harry-caray--20100215,0,1775134.story" target="_blank">Harry Caray's restaurant opens on Navy Pier today</a>. There is a huge celebration planned, including stars, live radio shows and fireworks. It sounds like every other day out here at Navy Pier. They should rename it McFun. This opening is really a first-step for the McPier folk to see how privatization works - this place is owned by all the celebs that are pushing it tomorrow. If this works, would they be interested in running the future McDonald's? Maybe the churros wagon? McCormick Place?</p> Mon, 01 Mar 2010 08:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/jkaufmann/2010/03/forget-local-chevy-dealerships-how-long-til-we-see-kane-and-toews-in-a-nike-commercial/16417