Update on Chicago Professional Sports Teams: Rose and Kane Injuries Change Championship Possibilities
For fans of Chicago's professional sports teams, the end of the NFL regular season meant that we could move on from the disappointing, messed up Bears to the winter sports teams that give us the best shot for a championship in 2015: the Blackhawks and the Bulls. Although the Bears seem to now be heading in the right direction with changes in the coaching staff and management, a championship in the immediate future seems unlikely. But the Blackhawks and the Bulls -- yes!
Unfortunately, February 24 was a crushing day for both teams. Blackhawks scoring star Patrick Kane fractured his collarbone and will be out about 12 weeks. If he is lucky and the team continues to do well, Kane could possibly be back toward the end of the Stanley cup playoffs. Even in that best case scenario, how effective would Kane be after sitting out for so long?
Unfortunately for the Bulls, guard Derrick Rose is now facing his third severe injury in his young career -- his second right medial meniscus tear. Although the extent of the damage and the prognosis are not yet known, it is likely that Rose will be out at least eight weeks.
So what does this mean for the Blackhawks and the Bulls? I am guessing that it means that Chicago will not have any sports championships in 2015. The Bulls were certainly not a sure bet to go as far as the conference finals, and without Rose they do not match up nearly as well with the better teams in the Eastern Conference. The Blackhawks still realistically have a chance to win the Stanley Cup, but going forward without their charismatic leading scorer will be difficult. The NHL's Western Conference is loaded with good teams, and the rest of the season will be a struggle.
Thankfully, baseball season is on the way! Spring training is underway, and both the White Sox and Cubs made great roster improvements in the off season and should be much better than they have been the past two seasons.
The Cubs picked up a stud pitcher in Jon Lester and have a wealth of young, promising players. The Cubs farm system is reported stocked with more talent than any other team. The White Sox picked up some key players, including pitcher Jeff Samardzija and Melky Cabrera.
My predictions for 2015:
Chicago Bulls: The Bulls maybe win one playoff series and then bow out. Tensions between head coach Tom Thibodeau and front office underachievers Gar Forman and John Paxson boil over for good and Thiodeau leaves for greener pastures.
Chicago Blackhawks: Without Patrick Kane and lacking depth on defense, the Hawks do not make it to the Stanley Cup finals. One of several teams could torpedo the Hawks run. But there is always next year.
Chicago Cubs: A much-improved Cubbies team brings excitement back to Chicago baseball. The Cubs finish around .500 and look to make a serious playoff run in 2016.
Chicago White Sox: The Sox will challenge for a division title and will battle for a spot in the playoffs. The optimist and life-long Sox fan in me predicts that the Sox will play n the post season in 2015.
Chicago Bears: New coaching staff turns things around quickly and begins to build excitement for the Bears. Unfortunately, it will take a few years to restock a poor defensive group. Bears fan will need to keep optimistic for 2016.
I hope to see a Cubs and/or Sox spring training game in Arizona at the end of March. I already have tickets for the King of Komps and I to watch the Cubs at the White Sox in August. Getting tickets to see the Sox at the Cubs or Cubs opening day vs the Cardinals? That will take some luck when single game Cubs tickets go on sale early next month.
How is YOUR city doing regarding professional sports in 2015?