#1 hit 30 homers and drive in 81 runs. He began the season as the everyday shortstop, but finished as the first baseman, where hell likely remain next yea von chenwen121314 28.12.2019 07:11

There was something ho-hum about it as the Chicago Blackhawks packed up and headed for points west, north and south as part of their annual November circus trip. Randy Wright Jersey .The perennial Stanley Cup contenders were sitting atop the Central Division with an impressive 11-3-2 record. Defending scoring champion and reigning league MVP Patrick Kane was off to another sterling start with 18 points in 16 games. Frequent linemate Artem Anisimov was red-hot as well, with an 11-game point streak between Oct. 15 and Nov. 6.Just your run-of-the-mill dominance from a team for whom dominance has become commonplace. But -- have appearances been deceiving for the Blackhawks? And, more to the point, will this current road trip help bring the Blackhawks big picture into greater -- if not more accurate -- focus?In short, the answer is yes.In some ways, thats always been the case. When Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey invade the United Center for an extended stay through the Thanksgiving holidays each November, the Blackhawks subsequent road trip serves multiple purposes -- not the least of which is giving the team a chance for critical self-evaluation.This season, the annual circus trip might be even more important for Chicago, both in terms of accurately assessing where the team stands and in that it will allow the Blackhawks to more fully integrate a significant number of young players into the fold. Twin threads of the same tapestry, if you will.Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman acknowledged that his teams record might have been a little misleading, given how well netminders Corey Crawford and backup Scott Darling had played leading up to the trip.Crawford, overshadowed in some ways by the play of Carey Price in Montreal and a red-hot Tuukka Rask in Boston, has put together a body of work early on that should suggest Vezina Trophy and perhaps even Hart Trophy consideration.Coreys been unbelievable, Bowman said. Its allowed us to not play that well and still gain some confidence.Crawfords play specifically has helped mask transitional challenges for a lineup that features five rookies and another first-year player in 26-year-old defenseman Michal Kempny, a native of the Czech Republic?who came over from Russias Kontinental Hockey League during the offseason.When the Blackhawks -- who are a gaudy 8-1-2 at the United Center -- kicked off the circus trip by getting shut out in Winnipeg 4-0 Tuesday night, leveling their road record at 3-3, it reinforced the notion that they have a lot to learn during the trip.This is going to be a good benchmark for us as a team, Bowman said in an interview a few hours before Chicagos trip-opening loss.The Blackhawks have won three championships since 2010, but they followed up a 2015 Stanley Cup win with a first-round ouster at the hands of the?St. Louis Blues?last spring. Several key parts of that 2015 Cup roster are long gone, including Patrick Sharp, Brad Richards, Teuvo Teravainen, Kimmo Timonen, Antoine Vermette, Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad.The Chicago model is the future for everyone, whether you win Cups or not, one top NHL executive said recently.As in, take your shot, cast off parts that dont fit under the salary cap, and then make another run at it.This season is no different. It took some time because we had so many new players, Bowman acknowledged. Youre trying a bunch of new things.Not everything worked. Early on, the Blackhawks penalty kill was historically bad. Even though theyve shown more structure of late, they still rank dead last in the league in penalty-killing efficiency.?One former NHL coach told ESPN.com early in the season that he wondered if there would be enough offense in the revamped lineup to keep the Blackhawks competitive in what has historically been the most competitive division in hockey. The Blackhawks are tied for sixth in goals per game despite their shutout loss on Tuesday. That is also in spite of the fact that captain Jonathan Toews got off to a slow start, with no goals in his first eight games. Toews has picked up the pace of late while often playing alongside Kane.Now this team will find out even more about itself over the next 11 days and six games, as it makes its way through Western Canada and Southern California.One thing that Bowman looks forward to is the fact that his young players, like 20-year-old college star Nick Schmaltz and 20-year-old defenseman Gustav Forsling, will get their first chance to spend quality time with the rest of the veteran core that remains so much of the teams identity.Those vets -- 37-year-old veteran Marian Hossa has 15 points in 16 games, for instance -- have helped to deflect some of the attention that might otherwise be on these young players as they get their NHL feet under them.Now theyll get a chance to spend time together away from the rink and connect in a much more personal way -- something thats been difficult with veterans for the most part heading home to their families when the teams in Chicago.We want these guys to come together as teammates, Bowman said. Right now they dont know each other all that well.This road trip should change that, just as it might give us a clearer understanding of exactly what this Blackhawks team is capable of. Kevin King Jersey . Now that hes hitting streaking teammates with pin-point passes for easy layups, Love is asserting himself as one of the true superstars in the league. Jared Veldheer Jersey . "No difference at all," chirped U.S. roommate and linemate James van Riemsdyk. "Its still the same cranky Phil. https://www.packersjerseysale.com/1514j-...ey-packers.html .ca! Hi Kerry, Heres an interesting one. I know its common knowledge that all players are responsible for their sticks. We witnessed that when Zack Kassian hit Edmontons Sam Gagner in the face after a missed check. ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays insist they arent as bad as their worst finish in nearly a decade might suggest.You have to go all the way back to 2007, when the franchise was still known as the dreadful Devil Rays, for an inferior record to this years 68-94 mark that matched the second-worst in the majors and kept Tampa Bay in the basement of a division that sent three teams to the playoffs.Were not far off, manager Kevin Cash said. We all believe that.As strange as that might sound, considering the Rays finished 25 games behind AL East champion Boston and werent much closer (21 games) to division co-runner-ups Toronto and Baltimore, its not far-fetched if you accept the argument the season essentially was undermined by a stretch in which Tampa Bay dropped 22 of 25 games leading into the All-Star break.Injuries were a factor, most notably losing center fielder Kevin Kiermaier for nearly two months. But so was inconsistent starting pitching, which was expected to be a strength, and an overworked bullpen.One year after being a first-time All-Star, No. 1 starter Chris Archer lost 19 games. All-Star closer Alex Colome was outstanding, converting 37 of 39 save chances, but far too many games were out of reach by the late innings because the rest of the bullpen struggled to maintain leads or keep the score close.Evan Longoria had one of his best seasons offensively, batting .273 with a career-best 36 homers and 98 RBI. Two key offseason additions, Brad Miller and Corey Dickerson, added some much-needed power to the middle of a lineup that hit 216 homers (sixth in the majors) yet only ranked 25th in runs scored.In the middle of the season it got pretty dark. Weve sat around and talked about it -- the talent in this room is unquestionable. You look around and were just as good as any team across the majors, outfielder Steven Souza Jr. said.Were probably missing a couple parts that hopefully next year we can fill in, he added, but theres no reason that we cant compete for the AL East next year.FOR THE RECORDThe 2007 Devil Rays won 66 games. The franchise became the Rays the following year, which began a stretchh when Tampa Bay made the playoffs four times in six seasons. Jake Kumerow Jersey. This is the third consecutive season the team has failed to reach the postseason.LONGOS RESURGENCELongoria appeared in at least 160 games for the fourth consecutive season, posting career highs for hits (173) and extra-base hits (81), in addition to home runs. He attributed some of the success to some adjustments he began making last offseason.I wasnt afraid to make changes that in the past I may have shied away from, whether it be stance or approach or things I had been working on in the cage, the third baseman said. For a long time I was a believer in just sticking with a routine and (hoping) that would get me back on track. Eventually it did at some point. It just took a lot longer than it did this year.MILLER TIMEThe Rays felt Miller would add some power to the lineup, but no one projected hed hit 30 homers and drive in 81 runs. He began the season as the everyday shortstop, but finished as the first baseman, where hell likely remain next year.COBBS RETURNRHP Alex Cobb returned in September from Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for all of 2015 and went 1-2 with an 8.59 ERA in five starts. The good news is he didnt have any setbacks health-wise.Were very thrilled with where hes at, Cash said. The most exciting thing is Alex is going to have a normal offseason, and come into spring training totally healthy, so we can pencil him in every five days.STRONG SECOND HALFRHP Jake Odorizzi rebounded from a rough stretch heading into the All-Star break to finish 10-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 33 starts. Hes another reason the Rays are confident their starting pitching should be better in 2017.We view him as much more than just your average starting pitcher. Hes young. Hes still learning what hes capable of doing, Cash said. I know the win-loss record. It is what it is. But for the innings that he goes out and provides, he keeps us in a ton of ballgames. More often than not, were going to find a way to win ballgames for him. ' ' '

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