October 31, 2014 3:52PM
Fanta Celah Diaby Diarra
Updated: October 31, 2014 4:48PM
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter October 31, 2014 9:21PM
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 23: Brandon Saad #20 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on October 23, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
Updated: October 31, 2014 9:45PM
TORONTO ? When it comes to Brandon Saad, coach Joel Quenneville sounds like a supportive, but demanding, parent. It’s not that Saad is a disappointment. It’s not that Quenneville is not proud of what he has become.
It’s just that he could be so much more.
“I just think he’s proven that he can be a top player,” Quenneville said. “And that’s what we want to push him to.”
Saad has become almost a prisoner of his early success and his occasional flashes of dominance. He’s so good on some nights that the off nights become that much more glaring. There are stretches such as the final week of the Western Conference final last spring, during which he had three goals and four assists in four games and absolutely terrorized the Los Angeles Kings. Then there are weeks like this past one, in which he’s gone without a point in four games, firing a mere six shots on goal while posting a minus-5 rating.
“It’s not only about producing, but playing well and competing every night,” he said. “Whether you have it or not on a given night, it’s the will to bring it and compete.”
That means keeping your feet moving and not just reaching at opponents as they skate by; working to free pucks from the corners; backchecking with abandon ? all ways to contribute even when the pucks aren’t going in. As Quenne-ville often says, Saad has all the tools to become one of the best power forwards in the league. It’s on Saad to put those tools to use.
It wasn’t hard during Saad’s rookie season; the 48-game slate zipped by. But an 82-game season is a different beast, something Saad learned the hard way last year, and still is adjusting to this year.
“It’s tough in this league,” said Patrick Kane, who said it’s something even he still struggles with in his eighth season. “It’s tough to bring the same kind of impact and influence on the game every night. I don’t know if there’s one player in the league that can do it. Obviously, the best players are the ones that bring it more often than others.”
Saad was benched for a game shortly before the playoffs last year for what Quenneville perceived to be occasional coasting, and he responded in a big way over the next six weeks. The messages have been more subtle so far this year. After the line of Saad, Andrew Shaw and Kane struggled with possession and fizzled early, Saad has bounced all over the lineup. On Thursday in Ottawa, he found himself in a new role, on the fourth line with Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith ? linemates he hasn’t had since he spent the lockout in Rockford.
Saad gets the message.
“Different guys have different things they need to work on, he said. “Being more consistent is something I’m working on. I’m still pretty young, but I have some experience under my belt, so there’s no more excuses.”
He just needs to prove it to Dad, er, Coach.
“He’s got the capability of getting to that next level,” Quenne-ville said. “That’s what we’re all looking to achieve.”
BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media October 31, 2014 8:09PM
Updated: October 31, 2014 9:52PM
The match between the reigning world champion New Zealand All Blacks and USA Eagles on Saturday at Soldier Field will provide great optics for the sport of rugby. In front of 61,500 loud spectators from all over of the world, the All Blacks will perform the Haka before playing in an unprecedented event at one of America’s most famous stadiums.
But it’s only one day, and by itself the game won’t turn rugby from niche to mainstream sport in the United States. If anything, Saturday has to be a springboard.
“That’s up to USA Rugby and the sponsors and whoever’s going to be behind it, investors or whatever else, to not let this just be one big wave,” U.S. captain Todd Clever said. “We have to follow it up with some good things with new sponsorships with university collegiate levels.
“The next big step is going to need a professional league so we can move forward so hopefully that will follow up and get people’s interest, more cities and ultimately all be a feeder into the national team, which will have better players, better athletes and better rugby players.”
A lot of what Clever wants is already happening.
Participation in the sport, which is considered safer than football, has grown to over a million people in the country. The National Rugby Football League is planning on playing a demonstration match next August in a major stadium against a team from England’s
Aviva Premiership before its planned full launch of a six-to-12 team league in April 2016.
Bob Latham, the chairman of USA Rugby, said the success of Saturday’s match will likely lead to similar events with other prominent nations in large venues. But big draws are only a part of the work ahead of the program.
“At this point it has to be bottom-up, attracting people to the sport early in their lives and sporting careers,” Latham said. “It also had to be top-down. We want to inspire as well, and our team has come a long way. I think when people see the commitment and the product we’re putting on the field, they’ll realize that this is a terrific sport to play and to watch and get behind.”
As Latham said, events like Saturday’s can help, even if ones in the future don’t feature the world’s most famous team with a strong novelty factor included.
“If we can follow up with games, maybe not of the All Blacks’ magnitude but similar where we’re getting TV, where we’re playing in iconic stadiums and they’re high-profile, I think that’s important,” U.S. coach Mike Tolkin said. “We need consistency and not just a one-shot and everyone kind of forgets about it.”
Some people unfamiliar with rugby will get their first taste of the sport Saturday. And the impact of the match won’t really be known for a while.
“It’s not going to be overnight,” Clever said. “It’s not a one-day thing.”
BY MARK POTASHStaff Reporter October 31, 2014 8:21PM
Updated: October 31, 2014 9:52PM
After Soldier Field’s playing surface showed its wear in the Bears’ 27-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 19, the grass field will be re-sodded following Saturday night’s international rugby match in time for the next home game against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 16.
Depending on the wear-and-tear from the rugby match between the New Zealand’s All Blacks and the USA Golden Eagles, the grass field will partially or totally replaced, said Luca Serra, spokesman for SMG, which manages Soldier Field for the Chicago Park District. Partial resodding generally is done down the middle of the field between the hash marks.
This will be the third re-sodding of Soldier Field’s playing surface since August. A entirely new field was installed prior to the Bears’ first preseason game. After two preseason games and the regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 7, the field was resodded down the middle before the Bears game against the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 28.
A “field committee” comprised of executives from the Bears, their ground crew and SMG examines the field surface after each game. The decision to resod after the rugby match was made after the field was examined following the Dolphins game, when players on both teams slipped and fell.
The Soldier Field playing surface generally is at least partially resodded two or three times a season. The cost of resodding can run from $100,000 for a “between-the-hashes” job to $250,000 for an entire replacement, Serra said.
A second resod of a new surface at this point of the season is a bit surprising, considering the Bears will have played only three home games in a 13-week span prior to the Vikings game on Nov. 16. The only other events in that period were three concerts in August ? which were not a problem for the surface because of good weather, Serra said ? and the rugby match Saturday.
But when the Bears play the Vikings on Nov. 16, it will begin a stretch of five home games in a six-week period. It remains to be seen how the field holds up to that much activity.
“That’s the $50,000 question,” Serra said, “because you’re out of a grass-growing season. It all depends on the weather that we get. If we get a lot of moisture on game days, [which] tends to tear up the field a lot more, then we’re going to be dealt a different hand.”
Email: [email protected]
BY DALE BOWMAN For Sun-Times Media October 31, 2014 8:24PM
Updated: October 31, 2014 9:45PM
Five of the last six women’s championships are tainted in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
On Friday, the Associated Press reported that Rita Jeptoo, 33, the Kenyan who repeated as the Chicago Marathon champion on Oct. 12, had a positive test for a banned substance, according to her agent, Federico Rosa.
The AP reported that Rosa said Jeptoo “tested positive for a banned substance in an out-of-competition test in Kenya weeks before’’ repeating at the Chicago Marathon.
This year Jeptoo dominated in Chicago, separating from the field in the 23rd mile and winning in 2 hours, 24 minutes, 35 seconds.
In 2013, Jeptoo ran her first sub 2:20 in winning Chicago in 2:19:57. Then she set her personal best at the Boston Marathon this spring with a 2:18:57 time.
But this is about more than just honor and honorable performance on the marathon course.
It’s about real money.
That victory in Chicago earned Jeptoo $100,000 and what would have been another $500,000 for winning the championship of the World Marathon Majors. But the awards ceremony for the WMM, scheduled for Sunday, was postponed.
In a statement, the WMM led with this: “World Marathon Majors has been at the forefront of the fight against doping in our sport and has a rule that no athlete can win the World Marathon Majors Series title, who has been in breach of IAAF anti-doping rules.’’
Boston and Chicago officials are awaiting a formal response from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
This came months after the two-year doping ban on Liliya Shobukhova by the Russian Athletics Federation was announced. Shobukhova dominated in winning three consecutives Chicago Marathons from 2009-11.
BY JOE COWLEY October 31, 2014 10:01PM
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) goes up for a shot against Chicago Bulls' Taj Gibson (22) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
The facts: 7 p.m., Ch. 9, 1000-AM.
Updated: October 31, 2014 10:25PM
Friday was just another reminder that, yes, Cavaliers-Bulls will very be personal this year, but it’s also about business.
The new-look, old-look LeBron James-led team from Cleveland made it a business trip in their 114-108 overtime win against the Bulls in the United Center, while guard Jimmy Butler was given a dose of the business end of the game by his own organization.
Despite Butler and the Bulls actively discussing a contract extension leading into the midnight deadline, the two sides could not find common ground, as Butler turned down the love-it-or-leave-it last attempt by the franchise.
“Is that a serious question? I think everybody knows,’’ Butler said, when asked if he wanted to stay with the organization. “All y’all, the whole city. This is home for me, besides Tomball [Texas], of course. This is where I want to be, love my teammates, the fan base, the organization, everybody. I think everyone knows that. This is the city I want to be in.’’
By not reaching a deal, Butler can now become a restricted free agent in July.
“I’m not a personal guy, I don’t take everything to heart,’’ Butler said, when asked if he took the last-ditch Bulls offer a personal insult. “I understand this is a business and this is basketball, so I just have to be a better ? a great basketball player.’’
Asked about “betting on himself’’ the rest of this season, Butler said, “I love my odds. I think this team is really good, championship-caliber. I am a part of this team, I’m going to produce, I’m going to guard, I will take that on myself.’’
The Bulls had more immediate concerns coming out of the game with the Cavs, however.
Derrick Rose tweaked his left ankle in the second, and was slowed the entire third quarter, until coach Tom Thibodeau pulled him out and he was unable to return. Taj Gibson sprained his left ankle, left the game and disappeared into the locker room until he came out in the fourth and played hero with a slam at the four-minute mark to put the Bulls up 90-89.
But the real hero-ball for the Bulls was provided by Kirk Hinrich, who scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including eight in a minute span late in the fourth.
The Cavs tied the game up with 27.9 seconds left after Kyrie Irving was fouled on a lay-up, however, sending the game to overtime.
That’s when the absence of Butler (sprained left thumb ligaments) was truly felt, as James made the first eight points of the overtime for the Cavs.
Butler did say the thumb was getting better, and actually took part in the morning shootaround, but still missed his second-consecutive regular season game.
In his absence? James scored 36 points.
Email: [email protected]
BY GORDON WITTENMYERStaff Reporter October 31, 2014 8:48PM
Cubs president Theo Epstein will be hiring his third manager since joining the club in October 2011:
2012 Dale Sveum 61-101 5th 2013 Dale Sveum 66-96 5th
2014 Rick Renteria 73-89 5th
Updated: October 31, 2014 9:49PM
“Hiring Joe in my opinion is a championship move, and they’re letting everyone know we’re going for it,” said Cubs reliever Wesley Wright, who played for the Cubs’ newest manager, Maddon, the final two months of 2013.
In a move considered inevitable for the last week, the Cubs made official their highest-profile managerial hire in eight years on Friday, announcing the “firing” of manager Rick Renteria about two hours before announcing a Monday news conference to introduce Maddon.
Terms of Maddon’s multiyear deal were not announced, but it’s believed he got at least close to the five years, $25 million he was said to be seeking ? making him one of the three highest-paid managers in the game and the highest in Cubs history.
“We saw [Maddon’s availability] as a unique opportunity and faced a clear dilemma: be loyal to Rick or be loyal to the organization,” Epstein said in the statement. “In this business of trying to win a world championship for the first time in 107 years, the organization has priority over any one individual. We decided to pursue Joe.”
Epstein came close to hiring Maddon as the Red Sox manager 11 years ago before choosing the more-experienced Terry Francona.
“Rick deserved to come back for another season as Cubs manager, and we said as much when we announced that he would be returning in 2015. We met with Rick two weeks ago for a long, end-of-season evaluation and discussed plans for next season. We praised Rick to the media and to our season-ticket holders. These actions were made in good faith.”
Cubs insiders say the sudden availability of a manager who represents the ideal fit for this phase of the team’s rebuilding process made it impossible to pass on a chance to hire Maddon ? regardless of how it might look jettisoning Renteria after only one year and going through three managers in four seasons.
Renteria declined comment through his agent on Friday.
Admittedly, “He deserved better, and we wish him nothing but the best,” Epstein said in the statement.
Sources said Maddon has made no demands to bring any of his coaches in, and a staff shakeup is not anticipated. No more than one or two new coaches are expected to join him.
Despite wide speculation he could be targeting longtime Rays bench coach Dave Martinez ? an ex-Cub interviewed last year for the managerial opening ? sources suggest that is unlikely. Martinez is a candidate to replace Maddon in Tampa Bay and remains under contract there regardless.
Maddon, a two-time manager of the year, oversaw the same kind of transition in Tampa Bay that the Cubs are trying to pull off, going from last place to the World Series in his third year there, 2008 ? the first of five 90-win seasons.
An innovative thinker, exceptional communicator and only manager to lead the low-budget Rays to a winning record, Maddon, 60, is a matchup-minded strategist built for the National League.
“Just to see how relaxed and comfortable he was with what he believed in and brought to the table rubbed off on players,” Wright said. “There aren’t a lot of guys who aren’t players who can have as much impact on the game with what they do and how they prepare, to affect the entire team.”
Industry sources said the Rays plan to file tampering allegations with Major League Baseball, believing their failure to sign Maddon to an extension this month was a result of the Cubs making their high-priced interest in him clear after Rays general manager Andrew Friedman took a team president job with the Dodgers.
Freidman’s departure triggered a two-week deadline for negotiating an extension or allowing Maddon the option of becoming a free agent.
Email: [email protected]
BY STEVE GREENBERGStaff Reporter October 30, 2014 7:07PM
LOUISVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 30: Ermon Lane #1 of the Florida State Seminoles scores a 47 yard touchdown pass thrown by Jameis Winston #5 in the fourth quarter against the Louisville Cardinals during their game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on October 30, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Updated: October 31, 2014 10:38AM
We want elimination games, those tense matchups of terrific but desperate teams with national-championship aspirations and no margin for error in the loss column. We crave elimination games, and now ? on the first Saturday after the release of the CFP selection committee’s top 25 rankings ? we’ve really got ’em.
No. 3 Auburn at No. 4 Ole Miss (6 p.m., ESPN) is the best such example in Week 10. On paper, it’s the 6-1 Tigers’ no-huddle, no-holds-barred offense ? cranking out roughly 500 yards and 40 points per game ? against the 7-1 Rebels’ hard-charging, turnover-machine defense, which is allowing a scant 10.5 points
But it’s so much more than that. It’s Auburn, the defending Southeastern Conference champ, against Ole Miss, which hasn’t won a league title in 41 years. It’s the Tigers’ Gus Malzahn and the Rebels’ Hugh Freeze, each on the express elevator to the coaching penthouse of the college game. And it’s a scene-shifter for the SEC West, where four teams currently reside in the top six of the CFP rankings.
Auburn rushed for 395 yards, 167 of them from running back Cameron Artis-Payne, in a 42-35 victory last week against South Carolina, while Ole Miss fell 10-7 at LSU in a particularly rough outing for Rebels quarterback
‘‘We feel like if it’s tight in the fourth quarter,’’ Artis-Payne said, ‘‘we will find a way to win.’’
Me? I’m more comfortable with the Rebels’ so-so offense than I am with Auburn’s shaky defense. Oxford goes wild, 27-24.
The beauty of Week 10 is you can roll right out of Auburn-Ole Miss and into a pair of enticing matchups featuring the best four teams in the Pac-12 South, each with so much left to play for.
No. 17 Utah at No. 14 Arizona State (10 p.m., FS1) is a true tossup, with both 6-1 teams coming off prove-it victories: The Utes slipped past USC 24-21, and the Wildcats won at Washington 24-10. I love Utah running back Devontae Booker, a powerhouse averaging 166.3 yards in conference games, and Kyle Whittingham’s intimidating defense will make the Sun Devils ? who clearly have the more dynamic offense ? fight on every drive. Arizona State scraped by 20-19 last season in Salt Lake City. The Sun Devils will scrape by again, 24-20.
Will somebody explain to me why No. 12 Arizona at No. 22 UCLA (9:30 p.m., ESPN) has the Bruins in the position of favorites by nearly a touchdown? The betting line would make sense if UCLA had played as expected to this point, but Jim Mora’s extraordinarily talented 6-2 squad has revealed a soft underbelly on both sides of the ball. Meanwhile, 6-1 Arizona has been clutch defensively and dynamite on offense, led by a revelation of a redshirt freshman quarterback, Anu Solomon (2,430 yards, 20 touchdowns, four interceptions).
‘‘We call plays and approach the offense like he is a veteran,’’ Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez said.
The Bruins will lose their third consecutive game at home for the first time since 1961, 34-29.
OK, truth: Stanford at No. 5 Oregon (6:30 p.m., Fox-32) isn’t an authentic elimination game in that the 5-3 Cardinal have no hope of making the playoff, yet this is the Pac-12 matchup I’m most geeked to see. The Ducks (7-1) are decisive favorites, but I still need to see all-everything quarterback Marcus Mariota beat Stanford ? something he hasn’t done yet ? to believe he can do it. Oregon was unbeaten heading into Stanford week each of the last two seasons and came out with a big, fat ‘‘L.’’ You want an upset? I’ll give you an upset. Ducks derailed again, 24-17.
Interesting that ESPN sent its ‘‘GameDay’’ crew to No. 7 TCU at No. 20 West Virginia
(2:30 p.m., ESPN2), but I get it. This might be one of the wildest and most entertaining games of the season. The Horned Frogs (6-1) are absolutely flying offensively. They lead the nation with 50.4 points per game, and dual-threat quarterback Trevone Boykin has crashed the Heisman party. The Mountaineers (6-2)
have their own blistering offensive machine led by strong-armed Clint Trickett, but it’s their defense that has stood out of late. West Virginia wins 41-38 after a late defensive stand.
Throw the records out when Florida meets No. 11 Georgia (2:30 p.m., Ch. 2) in Jacksonville, Florida. At least, the Gators sure would appreciate it if you threw out their 3-3 record. This is about moving up in the playoff race for the 6-1 Bulldogs, who seem to get better every week. For the Gators and beleaguered coach Will Muschamp, it’s about survival.
‘‘As a football coach, it’s a bunker mentality,’’ Muschamp said. ‘‘It’s what you deal with when you get in this profession.’’
Muschamp’s bosses have zero interest in dealing with a fourth consecutive defeat against Georgia, but they have no choice. Bulldogs chomp away, 23-10.
Email: [email protected]
BY DALE BOWMAN Staff REport October 31, 2014 1:46PM
Five of the last six women’s championships are tainted in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
On Friday, the Associated Press reported that Rita Jeptoo, the Kenyan who repeated as the Chicago Marathon champion on Oct. 12, had a positive test for a banned substance, according to her agent Federico Rosa.
BY SUN-TIMES STAFF October 31, 2014 2:09PM
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Manager Rick Renteria #16 of the Chicago Cubs heads out to the field to challenge the call that Junior Lake was out at first in the second inning against the New York Yankees during game one of a doubleheader on April 16, 2014 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.After the review, Lake was safe at first base. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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EUGENIA LAST October 25, 2014 12:07AM
Updated: October 27, 2014 10:53PM
CELEBRITIES BORN ON THIS DAY: Piper Perabo, 38; Mike O’Malley, 48; Dermot Mulroney, 51; Peter Jackson, 53.
Happy Birthday: Take it easy, slow down and enjoy life’s little pleasures. Don’t let your emotions pull you into unsavory situations. Focus on positive change and how you can use your skills and knowledge to advance. Don’t allow emotional situations to cost you professionally or jeopardize your personal relationships. An unexpected, change must not throw you off course. Your numbers are 8, 12, 22, 25, 32, 36, 44.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Do things in partnership. Plan to attend a networking function that promises fun as well as opportunities to expand your interests. Don’t view a difference of opinion as being negative. Listen, learn and collaborate to come up with the best alternative. 4 stars
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Keep things moderate and within your means. Don’t feel obligated to pay for someone else. Taking care of your personal finances will help you stay on top of your situation and avoid a loss. A short trip will improve a partnership. 2 stars
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Getting involved in home-improvement projects or making a residential move will lift your spirits, but may upset your bank balance. Tread carefully if you plan to make expenditures that can swell out of proportion. Embrace change, but be realistic. 5 stars
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Don’t expect others to do things for you. Take responsibility for what needs to be done. Express your thoughts and don’t fear hearing a different opinion. Live by your rules and follow your heart. Your intuition won’t let you down. 3 stars
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Make plans to improve your life. A change of scenery or philosophy will get you moving in a direction better suited to who you are and what you want to accomplish. Don’t let anyone hold you back. 3 stars
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): You will get ahead if you are receptive to change, learning new methods and adopting new concepts. The people you meet on your quest to improve will make contributions along the way, leading to long-lasting connections. 3 stars
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Take a moment to reflect and rejuvenate. Nurture, pamper and do the things that you love to do. Taking care of your needs will help clear your head and prepare you for what’s to come. A youngster will offer innocent insight. 5 stars
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You’ll be called upon to assist someone you love. You may be short of energy, but what you offer will be extraordinarily helpful to both you and the ones you help. Your emotions will be mixed. 2 stars
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): You may think you have everything figured out, but be wary of the people feeding you information. Mixed messages will lead to a costly mistake. Now is not the time to trust someone else to do what’s best for you. 4 stars
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Take your time and think carefully through every move you make. There is no room for error when it comes to discussions. Use your insight and brawn if necessary to keep things moving along as required to reach your destination. 3 stars
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Don’t let emotional confusion take over. Think about the consequences before you leap into action. Discuss your plans with whomever they will affect, making sure you are on the same page before following through. Having someone’s blessing will make your victory sweeter. 3 stars
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): An innovative, creative approach to the way you divvy up your money or what you invest in now will make a difference to how well you do down the road. Romance will bring added benefits and a nice contribution. 3 stars
Birthday Baby: You are quick, intuitive and goal-oriented. You are receptive and eager.
Eugenia’s websites: Eugenialast.com for confidential consultations, eugenialast.com/blog for Eugenia’s blog, and join Eugenia on Twitter/Facebook/Linkedin
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter October 30, 2014 10:10PM
Updated: October 30, 2014 10:13PM
KANATA, Ontario ? Even Jonathan Toews, one of the top two-way players in the NHL, can give up on a play sometimes, when an opponent starts streaking toward the other end of the rink, seemingly out of reach.
Then 36-year-old Marian Hossa usually reminds him why he shouldn’t.
“Hoss is always the one that seems to come flying out of nowhere from behind you and catches the guy on the backcheck, just when you think that there’s no chance you’re going to catch up,” Toews said. “He’s amazing.”
The Blackhawks’ dressing room is loaded with highly accomplished star players. But Hossa is the one they all speak about with awe, in reverent tones. To hear Toews talk about Hossa’s work in the corners; to hear Patrick Kane talk about Hossa’s pickpocketing skills; to hear Brandon Saad talk about Hossa’s strength on the puck; to hear Joel Quenneville talk about Hossa’s play without the puck; to hear Kris Versteeg talk about Hossa’s presence off the ice ? that’s how you realize just how good Hossa has been for nearly 17 years.
Oh, there are also all those points. One thousand of them after he scored late in the third period in Thursday’s 5-4 shootout victory in Ottawa, where it all began for Hossa as a 19-year-old first-round draft pick out of Slovakia. But even though he’s now the 80th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 points, the offense has become almost secondary to the all-around game of one of the league’s top all-around players.
The three-time 40-goal scorer could have hit the 1,000-point mark earlier in his career had he kept playing the offensive-minded, one-way game he played back when he was with the Senators. But had he not learned that stealing pucks can be as satisfying as scoring goals, he might not have had those two Stanley Cups and four trips to the Stanley Cup Final in the last seven seasons. Or the rarified esteem of his peers.
“Maybe I would have more numbers, but maybe some other teams wouldn’t have wanted me,” Hossa said with a grin. “Obviously, I’m happy with the outcome. I’m happy being here.”
Hossa’s always been reluctant to assess his own game. But there’s no shortage of people willing to speak on his behalf. He might be underrated by the general public, but those who have played or coached, with him or against him, can’t speak highly enough of Hossa.
“The perfect pro,” Quenneville said.
“The ultimate pro’s pro,” Versteeg said.
“Unbelievable,” Toews said.
“Special,” Kane said.
“He scares you every time he gets on the ice,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said.
“It means I’m older,” Hossa said. “But I try to stay the way I was when I came here. I try to be myself still, and I think nothing changed there. I’m just having lots of fun. There are lots of kids running around, a bunch of 19-year-old and 20-year-old guys. But it’s fun to be around that environment, and I’m just glad I can still play.”
Hossa is signed through the 2020-21 season, a bear of a contract that expires when he’s 42. Should he retire before then, the Hawks will face a significant salary-cap penalty for each year remaining on the contract.
But Hossa has no such plans. Not yet, at least. There are more pockets to pick, more points to score, more respect to be earned.
“You have to find that spark that you still want to play, and I still want to play,” he said. “Before every game, I get the butterflies in my stomach. So that’s a good sign.”
Email: [email protected]
By NEIL STEINBERG October 30, 2014 4:08PM
Updated: October 30, 2014 6:53PM
History will sort out whether the bitter, right-wing hatred of Barack Obama was significantly greater than the bitter, right-wing hatred of John F. Kennedy or Franklin D. Roosevelt or any previous president.It sure feels that way, a six-year typhoon of endless shrieking malice, where whatever the president says or does, from saluting his Marine guard with a coffee cup in his hand to invading (or failing to invade) a particular country becomes that day’s reason to get worked into a lather of condemnation. That it hurts our country is without question. First, we can’t get anything done. Huge problems ? immigration, global warming, infrastructure, health care costs, you name it ? just sit there, unaddressed, festering.Second, though they don’t realize it, the poisonous passion of the right corrupts the causes they embrace. While I don’t view Obama’s term in office quite as a dud, I would expound on his failings more if doing so didn’t put me on the same bench with a bunch of muttering, tin-foil-hatted crazies. Or take worry about government overreach. The balanced view is that government, like any entity, does some good things, does some bad things, and is capable of great success and great failure. On the whole I would say it works; too big, perhaps, but it functions, Congress notwithstanding.The far right ? and here they join hands, ironically, with the far left ? owns fear of government. To them, the U.S. government is a terrifying enemy, an occupying force.So when I felt the fear myself this week ? and about that classic far-right bogeyman, the Internal Revenue Service no less ? it was doubly unsettling: first feeling the fear, then recognizing whose fear I was sharing.Over what? The New York Times ran a piece on its front page that was terrifying. The IRS, looking for tax cheats, has a rule where banks must flag cash deposits over $10,000. So in an attempt to avoid this scrutiny, drug dealers and other criminal types engaging in illegal cash activities keep their deposits under $10,000, a practice the IRS calls “structuring” deposits. But legal small business owners who aren’t trying to hide anything, just get the money from their hot dog cart into the bank, also make regular small cash deposits. You’d think the IRS would differentiate between running a drug ring and running a bakery. But they didn’t. The IRS was seizing assets from hundreds of small businesses that had not broken any law. Then it was up to those businesses to prove they had not committed a crime. Then maybe, though not always, they could get their money back.This is totalitarianism. It violates a wide swath of the Constitution, the Fourth (barring unreasonable seizure) the Fifth (barring punishment without due process of law) the Sixth (right to speedy trial) and, arguably, Seventh through Tenth amendments too.The story created the briefest ripple. It has to be the Boy who Cried Wolf Syndrome: After years of maligning government as an awful police state, evidence that an agency was abusing its authority didn’t register. The IRS seizing your money when you have done nothing wrong, without having to prove its case or make an allegation, should be more alarming than Benghazi and Ebola combined. It sure is to me. I asked the IRS about this; they blamed Congress: “Whether the funds come from a legal or illegal source, structuring bank deposits or withdrawals to evade Bank Secrecy Act reporting requirements is a felony,” the agency said in a statement to the Sun-Times. “The law, written by Congress, authorizes law enforcement agencies to seize and forfeit money and property involved in structuring violations.”Still, they’re going to dial back. “We recognize that small businesses and other taxpayers often make deposits under $10,000 without any intent to avoid the reporting requirements ? that is not structuring,” the statement continues. “After conducting a review of structuring cases (which predated the recent press reports), the IRS concluded that it will focus its limited resources on cases where evidence indicates that the structured funds are derived from illegal sources.”Well that’s encouraging. I can’t decide whether I should be relieved that they’re stopping, or continue being aghast that they ever did it in the first place. A little of both, I suppose. Mistakes do happen, and actions that make sense in an administrator’s office have a way of seeming unforgivably stupid in the light of day. The country is a vast clockwork of systems and balances, and it’s a big job to keep it all running in tune. Email: [email protected]
It sure feels that way, a six-year typhoon of endless shrieking malice, where whatever the president says or does, from saluting his Marine guard with a coffee cup in his hand to invading (or failing to invade) a particular country becomes that day’s reason to get worked into a lather of condemnation.
That it hurts our country is without question. First, we can’t get anything done. Huge problems ? immigration, global warming, infrastructure, health care costs, you name it ? just sit there, unaddressed, festering.
Second, though they don’t realize it, the poisonous passion of the right corrupts the causes they embrace. While I don’t view Obama’s term in office quite as a dud, I would expound on his failings more if doing so didn’t put me on the same bench with a bunch of muttering, tin-foil-hatted crazies.
Or take worry about government overreach. The balanced view is that government, like any entity, does some good things, does some bad things, and is capable of great success and great failure. On the whole I would say it works; too big, perhaps, but it functions, Congress notwithstanding.
The far right ? and here they join hands, ironically, with the far left ? owns fear of government. To them, the U.S. government is a terrifying enemy, an occupying force.
So when I felt the fear myself this week ? and about that classic far-right bogeyman, the Internal Revenue Service no less ? it was doubly unsettling: first feeling the fear, then recognizing whose fear I was sharing.
Over what? The New York Times ran a piece on its front page that was terrifying. The IRS, looking for tax cheats, has a rule where banks must flag cash deposits over $10,000. So in an attempt to avoid this scrutiny, drug dealers and other criminal types engaging in illegal cash activities keep their deposits under $10,000, a practice the IRS calls “structuring” deposits.
But legal small business owners who aren’t trying to hide anything, just get the money from their hot dog cart into the bank, also make regular small cash deposits.
You’d think the IRS would differentiate between running a drug ring and running a bakery. But they didn’t. The IRS was seizing assets from hundreds of small businesses that had not broken any law. Then it was up to those businesses to prove they had not committed a crime. Then maybe, though not always, they could get their money back.
This is totalitarianism. It violates a wide swath of the Constitution, the Fourth (barring unreasonable seizure) the Fifth (barring punishment without due process of law) the Sixth (right to speedy trial) and, arguably, Seventh through Tenth amendments too.
The story created the briefest ripple. It has to be the Boy who Cried Wolf Syndrome: After years of maligning government as an awful police state, evidence that an agency was abusing its authority didn’t register. The IRS seizing your money when you have done nothing wrong, without having to prove its case or make an allegation, should be more alarming than Benghazi and Ebola combined. It sure is to me.
I asked the IRS about this; they blamed Congress: “Whether the funds come from a legal or illegal source, structuring bank deposits or withdrawals to evade Bank Secrecy Act reporting requirements is a felony,” the agency said in a statement to the Sun-Times. “The law, written by Congress, authorizes law enforcement agencies to seize and forfeit money and property involved in structuring violations.”
Still, they’re going to dial back.
“We recognize that small businesses and other taxpayers often make deposits under $10,000 without any intent to avoid the reporting requirements ? that is not structuring,” the statement continues. “After conducting a review of structuring cases (which predated the recent press reports), the IRS concluded that it will focus its limited resources on cases where evidence indicates that the structured funds are derived from illegal sources.”
Well that’s encouraging. I can’t decide whether I should be relieved that they’re stopping, or continue being aghast that they ever did it in the first place. A little of both, I suppose. Mistakes do happen, and actions that make sense in an administrator’s office have a way of seeming unforgivably stupid in the light of day. The country is a vast clockwork of systems and balances, and it’s a big job to keep it all running in tune.