Nichol(s) Slots 12/16

Anybody see Patrick Kane’s shootout-winning goal Wednesday night in Minnesota? I’m still dizzy from it. Hopefully I can see straight throughout yet another edition of Nichol(s) Slot.

If you haven’t seen the shot, enjoy!

There’s no question we haven’t seen a goal like that in the shootout, or at least the stick-handling-And 1-mix-tape-prowess Kane possessed but there was no doubt the stunning, crazy move was within the rules — he did not stop — and the goal resulted in a big shootout win for the Blackhawks. What control and skill by Kane and how appropriate it came against a team called the Wild?

Sick.

Hopefully that brought Minnesota back down to Earth. Or the United States. Who did they think they were, a Canadian team?

Imagine how Kane’s goal would have looked to a doped-up Sam Hurd? (too early?)

If there was anything more disappointing than the Bears blowing Sunday’s game to Tim Tebow, a guy we almost completely forgot on the Bears roster ends up in a drug deal.

The Bears wide receiver and special teams player was arrested Wednesday night after purchasing cocaine from an undercover federal agent outside of a Chicago restaurant.

What’s even more depressing about the story is that Hurd negotiated, agreed to buy and intended on distributing five to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana.

And you have to wonder now who’s all connected. Did this go back to his N.I.U. days? What NFL players were involved?

The Bears have to be embarrassed. What does an NFL player need cocaine for?

The three Cowboys Angelo signed this season have all been busts and all for different reasons.

Hurd, as we found out today, is a drug dealer. What was Angelo thinking?

Roy Williams, who loves dropping passes, dropped a game-tying touchdown late in a loss to Kansas City nearly two weeks ago and his been pretty much what people expected him to be: a ball-dropping bum.

What was Angelo thinking?

And good ol’ Marion Barber, he is Chicago’s public enemy No. 1 after running out of bounds and fumbling during key possessions in Da Bears’ 13-1o loss ton the Tebow’s last Sunday.

What was Angelo thinking? What’s with these three and possession?

Barber and Williams can’t hang on, Hurd can’t get enough.

And talk about camera shy — Barber hasn’t really talked to the media about the game. He spoke to members of the Bears media but to no one outside the organization.

Honestly, that’s bull shit. I’m sorry.

When asked about the game, he still refused to comment.

Honestly, that’s horse shit. I’m not sorry.

And the sad thing, those media members let it go.

OK, that’s just f—–g insane!

They didn’t follow up on any other questions — a cardinal sin for journalists. They didn’t investigate and that’s a no-no.

Fire them for not being true journalists?

Oh yeah, be a champ, brush it under the rug and let’s forget it ever happened.

Barber is going to have to talk to us (journalists) at some point in time. He’s a million dollar athlete. He plays for a public team in the Bears. Barber is going to have to face up and deal with the fact he (may have) blew such a giant game for the Bears playoff hopes.

He owes it to the fans, the media and the NFL — who’s telling him he’s got to talk or he’s going to violate a lot of NFL rules, if he hasn’t already.

Lance Briggs talks to the media. Brian Urlacher answers questions. Who does Marion Barber really think he is? Michael Jordan?

Marion: man up. You messed up. It happened. If you had just addressed us after the game, you wouldn’t be disrespected right now. You play football. You’re a man. Man up.

A lot of people, including the entire Bears roster and many journalists are going to say or have said the Bears as a team lost that game — and usually I’d be in that group as well.

But when you don’t stay in bounds and fumble your chance at redemption, those two plays might go down in infamy as sheer reasons why the 2011 Bears don’t reach the playoffs — besides the injuries to quarterback Jay Cutler and Matt Forte.

If you stay in bounds the Tebow legend diminishes just a bit, your team still has a wild card spot and all isn’t even considered.

And if Tim Tebow wants to thank God – as he should — he can. But he better also thank Barber, too.

Here’s hope Tom Brady and the Patriots can finally end all the Tebow talk. Go Patriots. Cheers? Cheers.

All of the speculation is true and official: Richard Hamilton is the Bulls starting shooting guard.

Hamilton signed with the Bulls for the mid-level exception — a two-year, $10 million deal. Bulls also have a third-year option.

C.J.Watson gave up No. 32 and will wear No. 7 for Hamilton, as the one-time Detroit Piston bolsters the Bulls in the scoring and defensive departments.

The Bulls lacked a shooter and scoring option that ultimately led to their downfall against the Miami Heat and with teams like the Heat, Knicks and Pacers all adding new pieces, the move was suitable, though Hamilton isn’t the superstar are prolific scorer that many like myself wanted.

Rip is an upgrade from Keith Bogans, who manned the spot last season and Hamilton brings a 34 percent clip from downtown, a career scoring average near 18 points per game and veteran, championship-caliber experience.

Hamilton won a ring with Detroit in 2004 when the Pistons beat Phil Jackson and the Lakers, 4 games to 1.

RIP is going to be a slasher. Someone who’s unselfish and plays a style like Reggie Miller, who made a career of coming off screens, cuts and frantic movement offensively.

And not only is he going to give you experience and help for Derrick Rose, Hamilton fits the Bulls system and as long as the front office gets the headband issue resolved, the Bulls will be better than last year.  But let’s hold off on saying it was the right move. On paper, I still believe the Bulls could be better.

Here’s a team that got better this offseason: the Clippers. No, I’m serious.

The Clips got Chris Paul in a trade on Thursday and along with Caron Butler and Blake Griffin, the Clippers are back to respectability and might rival the Lakers for the hottest ticket in town. Don’t forget, the also claimed Chauncey Billups off waivers so with that corps and the resigning of DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers have a team to BRAG about.

But with the trade comes with a huge mess. And it’s aimed all at David Stern and the NBA.

With Stern basically the de-facto GM of the league-run Hornets, that in itself tells you why the rest of the league was livid with the original Paul trade to the Lakers.

The labor deal was supposed to create competitive balance. Stern basically fixing the NBA and giving the Lakers yet another superstar just seemed a little leery for everyone other than Houston, Los Angeles and the Hornets — the league office.

The original trade gave New Orleans an instant playoff team with Odom, Scola and Martin. Houston got better with Gasol – a cornerstone player they badly needed. The Lakers got Paul.

I’m not sure if this wasn’t a bad trade after all. Houston got what it wanted, New Orleans got better. In fact, I thought with Paul going to the Lakers, it actually made L.A. worse. Have you seen the Lakers roster without Odom and Gasol?

But that trade didn’t happen. And when you look at it closely, the contacts, the aging players, Stern’s fingerprints — it’s all just a little too much for the league and

And with the Clipper deal going through, some — like the Lakers — are still furious. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski has a great insight on exactly what happened, so click here.

CP3 lines up with Blake Griffin in the ultimate alley oop contest and suddenly the Clippers are a playoff team and giving the Lakers a good run for their money.

Kobe told reporters he doesn’t know what’s going on and if things get hairy for the Lakers, look for Kobe to force a trade at some point. But they’re better with Gasol and Bynum right now and unloading the Sixth Man of the Year in Odom was such a bad, bad thing to do in so many ways.

Just don’t you sleep on the Clippers and Pacers this year, you’re going to be sorry.

Latest word out of the Cubs camp is that Theo Epstein and company aren’t sleeping on Prince Fielder, after all. Reports the Cubs are heavily involved and will make a huge push soon. As Prince Fielder’s first choice, the Cubs have a lot to offer him. Who else are the Cubs going to sign?

Yu Darvish? Coco Crisp?

I’d rather have those two than Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield. Although, I’ll take Varitek as a backup.

How come they won’t pursue Michael Cuddyer? That’s what I want to know.

Complete random stuff to talk about

1. Baron Davis will probably join the Knicks. It’s their best option for this season unless they can find a way to do something drastic, like get Davis to lose weight. I think Davis alongside Melo and Amar’e and Tyson Chandler would be a decent fit for this season, but that’s if he can fit into his shorts.

2. If the Packers don’t go 16-0, that’s just nuts. I figure they’ll put the load on Ryan Grant since he busted loose last weekend against the Raiders. Grant could take a load off Rodgers and some of the receivers, who need all the rest they can get after watching Greg Jennings go down. Packers can ill-afford to lose anybody else.

The Jennings injury might influence one loss before it is all said and done but he’ll be ready playoff time when the Pack needs him. Hurting? Your fantasy team with him out.

3. The realignment proposed in the NHL will only be good if — and there’s a big if from me — if the playoffs stay directly the same.

It’s understood that the league will go to four conferences with two containing eight teams, two containing seven teams.

The top four teams in each conference would face off in the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs in an intra-conference battle. The four remaining teams of each conference would then have a NCAA Final Four-like playoff.

My belief is that if the league can somehow designate the conferences to where the East plays the East and the West plays the West, with the East winner playing the West winner — then I’m OK with the realignment.

Although, I would have been much happier with a team like Columbus going to the East and keeping it all the same.

4. Miami has become a huge free agent destination, but I’m really happy Albert Pujols left the NL Central for the Angels. For one thing, he didn’t keep up with the Joneses by going to South Beach. And two, he’s in the American League.

But for the Marlins, who’s printing money like there’s a mint in LeBron James’ mansion, if Hanley Ramirez can’t play third or doesn’t want to, signing Jose Reyes was absolutely stupid. Why go out and get Reyes? May be sign Aramis Ramirez at third instead? All I know is that transaction better work out and Ramirez converts to third nicely. I meant Aramis.

5. One of my new favorite managers is Clint Hurdle. I think he’ll have Pittsburgh in the playoffs faster than you think. After watching him on the MLB Network last week, I’m confident he knows exactly what he’s doing and Pittsburgh is going in the right direction. McCutchen is a great all around player and if they can continue to build around him, Pirate will be fun to watch someday.

6. I love Michael Wilbon, he’s a Chicagoan like myself, he loves the Cubs, he’s a writer so I have a lot in common with him. But there’s a notion out there that Wilbon, as much as he has some great viewpoints and I respect him greatly, I see him as a guy where he defends the athlete too much. He defended Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen when both said they felt rushed going into the season. Wilbon’s counterpart Tony Kornheiser, hit it right on the nail when KG and Ray shouldn’t be complaining. They’re paid athletes who have been off for six months. So there’s two less weeks of training camp. They should benefit from the time off because KG and Allen aren’t considered young by any stretch and the veterans should just shut up and play. And Wilbon needs to learn he can offend a player or two at some point in his career — and that’s OK.

7. If you think the RIP Hamilton deal is bad, go to Portland and watch Jamal Crawford be a cancer for the Blazers. Crawford signed with Portland and he can’t defend. He takes horrible shots let alone can’t give up the rock and I’m glad he’s on the opposite side of the Bulls. If Gar and Pax would have signed Crawford it would have been a disaster.

My heart goes out to former Trail Blazer Brandon Roy. Knee problems forced early retirement and hopefully he can either mount a miraculous comeback or find a way to coach in the association because he was such a great player.

8. When a new owner comes along and snatches up the Hornets franchise, he or they should move the team to Seattle and restart the SuperSonics franchise — which is currently now the Oklahoma City Thunder.  Or if they keep a team in New Orleans, make them the Jazz. Give Utah a new name. Like the Salt Shakers or something.

9. The Flyers will miss Chris Pronger. These concussion problems are going to ruin hockey. All these years and now we’re starting to see top-tier players miss significant time. Absolutely crazy.

10. You’ve got to love the bad blood between the Hawks and the Canucks. But Vancouver coach Alian Vigneault rose it to a new level in his defense (or defence) of the Sedin brothers.

Dave Bolland called the Sedin brothers ‘sisters’ on Blackhawks Live on WGN 720 at Haray Caray’s earlier this week and Vancouver hear, and Vigneault took exception.

“When you have comments like Bolland’s, obviously (it’s) an individual whose IQ is probably the size of a bird seed and he’s got a face that only a mother could look at,” Vigneault told TSN.

Vigneault is only defending his players, but the Sedins took the high road — but I highly believe they’re really respectful.

The Canucks may take their hockey seriously in Vancouver but it clearly shows they’re not over the Blackhawks. The series win in the 2011 playoffs didn’t do much (actually, with the Cup loss, it just looks lucky they beat the Hawks – see Bulls vs. Detroit 1991 for what you do when you finally beat your archrival) and no matter what they do, they’re always going to be critical of Chicago because they wish they were the Hawks.

Or boys.

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