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Adam Burish Blasts Chris Pronger

Blackhawks winger Adam Burish popped off in an NBC 5 interview with Paula Faris after the blackhawks beat the flyers in Game 6 to win the Stanley Cup. His comments are not playing well in Philly so I decided to paste this article from the Philadelphia Inquirer. Interesting reading and it should make next season even more interesting.

Blackhawks' Burish blasts Pronger

By: Frank Seravalli

Standing on the Wachovia Center ice with his teammates hoisting the Stanley Cup in the background, Blackhawks forward Adam Burish couldn't hold back any longer.

Nevermind that he didn't actually play in the Stanley Cup clinching Game 6, having been a healthy scratch for the last three games because he was invisible in the first three. He just put on his equipment and skated around the ice like he did.

In an interview with NBC, Burish couldn't pass up the opportunity to needle Chris Pronger on live television.

"I think Chris Pronger's the biggest idiot in the league," Burish said. "I can't stand him one bit. I hope I never have to see him again. If I see him out there, I might punch him."

Did Burish see the poorly done Chicago Tribune poster that depicted Pronger in a skirt, calling him 'Chrissy Pronger'?

"No, but that's perfect," Burish said. "He should have worn that out here [on the ice]. He was terrible."

Classy winner, right?

Those are some big words for a forward who has never posted more than nine points in an NHL season or positively contributed to a winning team. Pronger's resume includes three Stanley Cup Finals with three different teams, a Hart Trophy, a Norris Trophy and a Stanley Cup ring.

Our advice to Burish when these two teams meet next season: keep your head up. That is, if he's playing.




The Blackhawks are Kings of the Hockey World

What a tremendous moment to see the Stanley Cup handed to Jonathan Toews by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the wild celebration that ensued moments later. In my lifetime I have seen several championships. The 1985 Bears, the 6 titles won by Michael Jordan and the Bulls, the 2005 White Sox who won the World Series, and even the 1982 Chicago Sting who claimed the NASL soccer title.

Now all that is left is for the Cubs to end more than a century of futility and finally win a World Series. That is a topic for another day. Now let's celebrate the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks who are the NHL Champions.



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The Blackhawks Lose Their Shirts?

Photos of some Chicago Blackhawks players engaging in a night of partying have surfaced in Vancouver where the Hawks played on Saturday evening, losing to the Canucks 5-1.

The website "The KurtenBlog" posted photos of some Blackhawks partying in a limo with several females. The team is already aware of the pictures and issued this statement that is included in a story on the Chicago Breaking Sports Website run by the Chicago Tribune: "We're aware of (the photos). It's a team-related issue and will be handled like any other situation and that will be internally."

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The Best of the Decade in Chicago Sports

As the first decade in the 21st century comes to a close, let's take a moment to reminisce about the best and worst moments and athletes of the past ten years in Chicago Sports.

Best Team: 2005 Chicago White Sox

Only one Chicago team could call itself champions in the first decade of the 2000s, and that team plays at 35th and the Dan Ryan.  The White Sox magical run to a world championship in 2005 erased an 88-year drought of glory on the south side.  Everything went right for Ozzie Guillen's club that year, as his starting staff of Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, Jon Garland and Freddy Garcia each won 14 or more games in the regular season, leading the club to a 99 win campaign.  Playing "Ozzie Ball", the Palehose used speed and timely hitting to scratch across runs with Scott Podsednik changing the team's offensive strategy.  The White Sox stormed through the playoffs, going 11-1 in October, which included a sweep of the then-defending champion Red Sox, and the Astros in the World Series.  Their bullpen was rock solid all year, as Bobby Jenks burst onto the scene as a bona fide closer, and earned the save on October 26, 2005 to earn the Sox a ring.

Worst Team: 2000-2001 Chicago Bulls

After a historic run of six world championships in the previous decade with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, things went very bad and very fast for the Bulls after the nucleus of the team left the Windy City.  The team did have Elton Brand, who averaged 20 points per game, Ron Mercer, who could still contribute, and Ron Artest--who by his own admission--was drinking on the job.  The team went 15-67, bad enough for a miserable .183 winning percentage, and ranked dead last in the NBA in points per game (87.6).  Need any further proof this team was a disaster?  This team only had three players average double-digit scoring, and Ron Artest barely qualified in double-digits with just over 11 points per game.  Also, how about these names that contributed minutes to Tim Floyd's club that year:  Dragan Tarlac, Khalid El-Amin, Dalibor Bagaric, A.J. Guyton, Jake Voskuhl.  Need I say more?

Best Athlete: Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears

Say what you want about Urlacher's attitude, or problematic character at times.  It's no question this city could have embraced him far more than they did over this past decade.  But when it comes to the best athlete in Chicago sports over the last ten years, Urlacher takes the cake.  After being drafted in the first round out of New Mexico in 2000, Urlacher immediately emerged as a standout linebacker for the Bears and quickly vaulted to the top of the NFL.  He had more than 800 tackles in the decade, 37.5 sacks, and 17 interceptions.  He was one of the most feared defensive players in the league for the majority of the decade, and led his team to multiple playoff appearances including a Super Bowl berth in 2006.  Note: Honorable Mention goes to White Sox ace Mark Buehrle, for a consistent and successful decade.

Worst Athlete: Corey Patterson, Chicago Cubs

Corey Patterson had a three good months as a Chicago Cub.  That's it.  Otherwise, his career as a Cub could really only be described as a debacle.  The 3rd overall pick in the 1998 draft figured to solve the Cubs center field problem for the long haul.  All we read and heard about him coming up was that he had great speed, great power, and could be a five-tool superstar type player to anchor the Cubs outfield.  Instead, he was a free-swinging, undisciplined, stubborn liability for the Cubs for parts of five seasons.  Other than the 83 games in 2003 in which he hit .298 with 13 homers and 55 RBIs, he was detracting from the team's success.  (And funnily enough, when Patterson got hurt the Cubs acquired Kenny Lofton, who was a catalyst and a big reason why the Cubs nearly reached the world series that season.)  In 2004, he was a microcosm of the team's shortcomings, and his 2005 season was one of the worst statistical seasons put forth by an everyday player in history.  He's still toiling around baseball, last seen with the Brewers this past season.  The Cubs traded him to Baltimore before the 2006 year, and the Cubs have still not found a long term solution for center field.

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The Weekend in Sports

It was an interesting past week in the sports world with the Tiger Woods scandal hitting new levels each and every day. Not a day went by that we didn't hear about another woman who was allegedly sleeping with the Tiger. Who knows where this whole sordid mess is headed. Here is the latest information on a deal that Tiger reportedly made to keep a story about an affair from being published.

In addition, the lurid details about his sex life are now surfacing which has turned the intensely private Woods into a late night talk show punch line. And with the count of women coming forward now at six who knows when this story will leave the news and allow Tiger and his wife some time to work on repairing their relationship.

Then you had the Bears who were coming off of an embarrassing blowout loss to the Vikings. Well, on Sunday the beloved Bear finally put a game into the win column by beating the completely inept St. Louis Rams 17-9 at Soldier Field.

The Bulls finally won a game after they beat the Detroit Pistons at the United Center earlier in the week. However, they were drilled both Friday and Saturday by the Cavaliers and Raptors respectively with the latter winning by 30+ at the United Center.

The Blackhawks won 2 of 3 this week with an 11 round shootout deciding a tough win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday evening before the Hawks lost to Nashville on Friday night at the United Center. However, the Hawks bounced back quickly beating the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in OT on Saturday evening.

Baseball now grabs center stage with the Winter Meetings officially underway in Indianapolis. Both the Cubs and the White Sox are expected to be very active participants with the Cubs hoping to move Milton Bradley while the Sox are considering dealing closer Bobby Jenks.

So who makes our week in pictures? Check em' out because we have the stars of the week and the women who are reportedly chasing a Tiger.

Enjoy and get ready for our updates of the Winter Meetings which are in high gear through Thursday and where we have a ton of great sources. Also, please make sure you tune into Chicago Tribune Live at 5:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet and Sports Central on WGN Radio at 7 p.m. Have a great week! Kap

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Vote for the Best in Chicago Sports

There is no better city in America for sports than Chicago and with the end of the year fast approaching it is time to ask for your help to vote for the best in Chicago sports in 2009.

Each year on Chicago Tribune Live we award The Kappy's to honor excellence among Chicago athletes. Click here to vote now! Your help is greatly appreciated!

**Breaking News** Toews, Kane, Keith Sign New Deals

The Chicago Blackhawks have signed three of their best players - Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith to long term contract extensions and will hold a 2 p.m. press conference Thursday afternoon at the United Center to announce the signings.

Toews and Kane will get 5 year extensions and Keith will sign a 13 year deal. More to come.

Who Would You Put On A Chicago Sports Mt. Rushmore?

A great topic of debate is who are the best athletes in Chicago Sports history. But how do you ask that question? Is it the best athlete? Or is it the most individually dominant in terms of statistics? Or perhaps you ask is it the guy who has won the most championships?

So here is how I have decided to ask the question. If you had to carve a Mt. Rushmore of Chicago sports who would be the four men who would have their likenesses carved into your tribute to their greatness?

Below I have pictures of the players that I have nominated. Am I missing someone? Please post a comment with your nominees and your thoughts. Soon I will have a competition to crown the winners based on your voting. However, I have to make sure that the ballot is correctly done. And for that I need your help. So please weigh in. Thanks, Kap

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A Look at Curtis Granderson

After a nice break on the beach in Maui it's time to get back to work covering all of the happenings in the Chicago sports world. So let's start with the Cubs, who are still trying to unload Milton Bradley after talking with a number of teams at the recently completed GM meetings.

The latest I am hearing has the Cubs and the Rangers seriously discussing a trade that would send the disgruntled outfielder back to the the team that he starred for before signing with the Cubs last winter. However, read this nugget in Rangers' beat writer Evan Grant's blog regarding a possible Bradley return to Texas, and you'll see just how tough it may be for the Cubs to move him.

As for the Tigers willingness to trade center fielder Curtis Granderson, things are starting to heat up, as they explore several different options in both the AL and NL.
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Detroit Tigers CF Curtis Granderson would be a huge upgrade for the Cubs outfield defense.

The Cubs are definitely on the Tigers radar, since they fit several of the requirements Detroit has in any Granderson deal. First, they have a handful of excellent prospects that are nearly major league ready and they would be the key to any deal. Also, the Cubs don't play in the AL and definitely don't play in the AL Central. That could make this deal more likely, since Detroit is very reluctant to trade him within their league and even more so in their division. If you were Jim Hendry, would you trade rising shortstop prospect Starlin Castro in a package to land Granderson?
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Chicago Sports Needs Some Personalities

While I consider Rick Morrissey a colleague and a friend, we usually disagree on most of the topics we discuss in the sports world. However, his column this morning in the Chicago Tribune was outstanding. For a world class city with the best sports fans in the world, we sure don't have much in the way of colorful personalities who are compelling enough for even the casual fan to pay attention. How big would Chad Ochocinco be on the national stage if he played in Chicago or New York? He would be a mega star.

Outside of Ozzie Guillen, name me one guy who you think really keeps it interesting, and is engaging not only with the media, but in the way he acts on the playing field. Let's examine the coaches and managers first, then we'll look at the players who call Chicago home.

Managers and Coaches

Ozzie Guillen

He may not be everybody's cup of tea, but I find him so entertaining to watch and to cover that he would probably the guy I'd hire if I owned a baseball team. Ozzie is honest to a fault, and he says what most fans are thinking even if his players don't like his frankness. His personality keeps the White Sox in the headlines even when his team may not be great. Plus, he has a World Series ring on his hand. So those who don't like him can't really argue much, because he accomplished something that no one else has done in this city in a very long time.
 
Lou Piniella

When Lou was hired by the Cubs, many fans and members of the media (myself included) expected a Mike Ditka-like presence in the Cubs dugout based on what we had seen of Sweet Lou during his time as the manager of the Seattle Mariners. However, with rare exception, we have seen a much more mellow Piniella, especially in 2009 when his lack of public anger frustrated many fans. When he shows his emotion, he is a colorful "Chicago type" personality. And that is what he needs to show in 2010.
 
Lovie Smith

While he may know his football, he is one of the most boring personalities we have seen on the Chicago sports scene in a long time. Smith is steady and unspectacular, but his lack of charisma drives fans who remember the days of Mike Ditka crazy, when every news conference and media moment was must-see TV. Smith is true to himself, but I believe that sometimes management forgets that professional sports are entertainment and you need to keep people watching even when you aren't going to the playoffs.

Joel Quenneville


Coach Q is very intense, and will flash a glimpse of his fiery personality from time to time behind the bench. But he does not usually show that side of himself away from game action. His news conferences are calm and informative, but he doesn't do much to garner attention.
 
Vinny Del Negro

Another of the modern day coaches who does not ever say anything to stir the pot. Del Negro is polished and concise in his comments, but like most of his Chicago counterparts he is not must-watch TV when he addresses the media.
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The Blackhawks Cannot Win Big With Huet in Net

Enthusiasm for the Chicago Blackhawks is at a fever pitch. And with the season underway and the Hawks roster loaded with outstanding talent, it is not a surprise that several national publications including Sports Illustrated are predicting a run at a Stanley Cup.

However, after watching Huet play last season and the start of this season, and talking with a handful of excellent NHL sources, it is obvious to me that the Blackhawks have no chance to contend for a title if Huet is their #1 goaltender. He allows far too many soft goals, and he has no proven track record of success, which would allow a team to believe that he can turn around a shaky start to the season.

Tonight's performance against the Calgary Flames was awful. He allowed 3 goals in less than 8 minutes and two of the three goals he should have definitely stopped with the third goal somewhat questionable on whether or not he should have handled it. Calgary's first-period goals came in a span of 5:29. Dustin Boyd, Eric Nystrom and Jarome Iginla ended Huet's night with goals within 53 seconds of each other, and Rene Bourque and Olli Jokinen padded the lead.
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Random Thoughts From the Chicago Sports Scene

Once in a awhile I like to look at some of the happenings in the sports world rather than just concentrating a blog post on just one sport. So here are some thoughts and questions that I have been observing and wondering about for a while.

Did you know that the over/under total of wins for the Bears in Las Vegas when the season began was 8 1/2? You have to think that the large numbers of Chicagoans who travel to Vegas must have put some serious money down on the over. The Bears look pretty solid and with Jay Cutler at the controls it would take a real collapse to not win at least 9 games.

The total bet in Vegas that has the casinos very happy is the number that they posted on the Broncos of 6 1/2 after seeing huge money come in on the under with the total posted at 7 1/2. The casinos adjusted their number out of concern that they could lose a ton on the under. Several "wiseguys" continued to pound the under and the casinos could make a fortune with the Broncos already 4-0.
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Hey, Patrick Kane: You are not a normal 20 year old!

The news was stunning to many Blackhawks fans when they woke up on Sunday morning and heard that Patrick Kane had been arrested and charged with multiple counts involving a taxi driver in his hometown of Buffalo, NY.

The story was broken by the Buffalo News who reported that Kane and his cousin were involved in an altercation  around 5 a.m. after leaving Chippewa Street which is known for having some of the city's best bars and restaurants.

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The Untold Story - Hawks Wanted to Change GM's Last December

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This pairing was never going to survive long term so John McDonough pulled the plug on Tallon on Monday.

Solid NHL sources confirmed for me yesterday that had the Blackhawks not gone on a 9 game winning streak last season the firing of Dale Tallon would have been moved up by 6 months.

As team president John McDononough told the media at a press conference on Tuesday he and Tallon had style differences and those differences existed last winter as well.

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Blackhawks Avert Trouble - Sign Kris Versteeg

The Tribune's Chris Kuc has the scoop on the Blackhawks signing of standout Kris Versteeg who inked a 3 year deal last night. Versteeg was part of a group of Hawks players who received their qualifying offers after a league deadline and could have had an arbitrator rule them all unrestricted free agents.

Instead, GM Dale Tallon has signed all of the affected players which quiets the controversy for now. However, if because of the snafu the Hawks are forced to part ways with a key player down the road because they run out of cap space then this controversy will grab center stage again. Hockey experts that I spoke with believe that the Hawks are headed for salary cap troubles over the next couple of seasons and being forced to overpay these 7 players because of a clerical error will only help exacerbate the situation.

Next up on GM Dale Tallon's shopping list is a veteran, stay at home type defenseman and then beginning contract negotiations with superstars Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith. A quick look at the math shows the Blackhawks dealing with serious cap issues after the 2009-10 season meaning a key player on the current team will not be here after next season.

The Blackhawks Make Another Move

The Blackhawks have signed another player who should be a key cog in their run for Lord Stanley's Cup next season. John Madden has signed a 1 year 2.75 million dollar contract and leaves New Jersey where he was considered a very solid player. The best hockey analyst in the world, Eddie Olczyk just called me and told me that the signing is great move by Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon. Here is Madden's bio. More to come.

Say Goodbye to Nikolai Khabibulin

The Blackhawks are celebrating their signing of superstar scorer Marian Hossa who agreed to a huge deal this morning. However, the Hawks are rolling the dice that the Cristobal Huet is the answer in goal because I have just confirmed through two NHL sources that Nikolai Khabibulin has agreed to a 4 year - 15 million dollar deal with the Edmonton Oilers.

Khabibulin was excellent in the Hawks playoff run to the Western Conference Finals but his age (37) and fragile health plus Huet's big contract that he signed last summer made this decision fairly easy for GM Dale Tallon. Tune in to Chicago Tribune Live on Comcast SportsNet at 5:30 p.m. for more on the signing from our panel of experts.

Blackhawks Sign Hossa

Canada's TSN is reporting and I have confirmed the Blackhawks have signed star winger Marian Hossa to a contract.

The eleven year veteran inked a whopping 12-year contract worth $5.2 million per season.  Hossa is 31 years old and the deal will keep him in the Indian head sweater until he's 43. 

Last year he tallied 71 points with the Red Wings but ranked 5th in the NHL with 40 goals.  However, he struggled in last year's playoff run with the Wings, lighting the lamp just six times in 23 games.

Hossa is a five time all-star and has scored 339 career goals.  In 775 career games he has scored 719 career points, and figures to be a big time addition to a Hawks offense that was excellent last year.

This likely means the end of Marty Havlat's tenure as a Hawk, however.

Hossa To Hawks?

Canadian Sports Network TSN reported this morning that the Blackhawks were "close" to signing free agent winger Marian Hossa, who spent the last two seasons on the runner up teams in the Stanley Cup Finals. 

Having just worked the phones, an excellent hockey source tells me the Blackhawks are indeed in the mix for Hossa's services and along with a handful of other teams are working towards bringing in the dynamic scoring winger.  However, a move for Marian Hossa would mean that the Blackhawks likely wouldn't be able to resign Marty Havlat for next season, since the team wants to make sure it can resign Toews, Kane and Keith next year.  Should the Hawks resign Havlat, Hossa likely won't be making Chicago his new home.

In addition, a potential signing of Hossa would also mean the end of the run for one of the Blackhawks goaltenders from this past season.  Freeing up cap space to sign Hossa means, according to the same source, that the Hawks would be forced to either end negotiations with Nikolai Khabibulin or would need to trade Cristobal Huet to make room for the ex-Wing.  The Colorado Avalanche are reportedly interested in Huet.  So if the Blackhawks sign Hossa look for them to trade Huet or to make him their number one goalie and end their relationship with Khabibulin.

The Latest on the Blackhawks as Free Agency Begins

I am manning my regular booth at the Egg Shell Cafe in Deerfield which is home to the greatest omelettes and the phone is ringing with scoop from around the sports world.

Free agency begins today in the NHL and the NBA with both Chicago teams expected to be very busy from the get go.

Here is what I am hearing from very good sources around the hockey world:
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Havlat, Blackhawks Work To Ink Deal Soon

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Martin Havlat is committed to the Indian.  So much so, that according to The Fourth Period, the winger has offered to take less money than he could make on the open market to return to the Blackhawks for next season and beyond.

Havlat made $6 million this past year, and he officially becomes an unrestricted free agent less than a month from now, July 1st.  Sources from The Fourth Period say he'd take a pay cut from a million to a million and a half dollars per year to stay on the west side.

How long will it be until Marty is officially returning to the Hawks?  It could be as early as next week.  Sources I spoke with this morning indicated GM Dale Tallon and Havlat's agent, Allan Walsh met in Pittsburgh this week to discuss a new contract. 

The Hawks Have Serious Salary Cap Issues

Lost among all of the feel good stories being written about the Blackhawks great run in the Stanley Cup playoffs is the fact that the franchise has some serious salary cap problems that must be addressed immediately. After the 2010 season is concluded the Hawks will have to address new contracts for Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith. Figuring that each player will land a deal worth a minimum of 6 million dollars per season puts the Hawks in a tough spot concerning the hard salary cap that the NHL instituted a few years ago.

Figure a minimum of 18 million for those three, 7.2 million per year for Brian Campbell (he signed a huge deal in the summer of 2008), Patrick Sharp (3.9), Dustin Byfuglien (3.0), Brent Seabrook (3.5), and Cristobal Huet (5.625). Add that up and you have spent approximately 42 million dollars for just 8 players. The salary cap is projected to be around 56 million dollars or less in 2010-11 which means that the Hawks will have roughly 14 million dollars to spend on 15 players. Add in the fact that you will have to re-sign Dave Bolland, Kris Versteeg, Cam Barker, and a handful of others and you can see that a big name who is currently on the roster won't be here after next season.

The Hawks are in better position for next season salary wise and that is why they are trying to re-sign Martin Havlat and are considering a short term offer to Nikolai Habibulin when the team could add some salary to make a run at the Stanley Cup by adding some high priced veterans on 1 year deals.

The problems are not here yet but they are right around the corner so look for GM Dale Tallon to make a proactive move by shedding some salary this summer to put his franchise in a better position for the future.

The Latest in Chicago Sports

Let's see....where should I start? The Zambrano meltdown? The Blackhawks elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs? Derrick Rose's name being linked to an NCAA scandal at Memphis? The Jake Peavy rumors that continue to link both Chicago teams to the superstar pitcher?

Let's start with the Derrick Rose story that was broken by the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper.

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To Be The Best You Have To Beat The Best

So tonight the Blackhawks take to the ice in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings.

The young Hawks played well in stretches in Game One but they turned the puck over far too often against a great skating team that made them pay dearly for their mistakes.

Add in the fact that while Nikolai Khabibulin made some spectacular saves he gave up at least two goals that he should have stopped.

Tonight the Hawks need to bring tremendous energy to the party from the get go and they must not turn the puck over especially in the neutral zone which could lead to 2 on 1 and 3 on 2 rushes and that is a recipe for disaster.

However, if the Hawks can get a great performance out of their back line and both Kane and Toews step up their offensive output then they have a good chance of coming home with the series tied up 1-1.

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