Hawks edge Kings 4-3, game seven set for Sunday night at U.C.

LOS ANGELES—We’ll see you Sunday night!!! Patrick Kane scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:45 to play, and the  Blackhawks forced a decisive seventh game in the Western Conference Finals with a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night.Kane scored two goals and set up Duncan Keith’s tying goal with 8:26 left in regulation to help the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks avoid elimination for the second straight game.The Hawks blew a lead entering the third period on goals by Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez, but won it with a brilliant effort by the enigmatic Kane.After Kane made the pass to set up Keith’s tying goal, he ripped a long shot through traffic in front of Jonathan Quick for the winner.Game 7 is in the United Center on Sunday night.An already memorable playoff series got another incredible chapter in Game 6, with both teams blowing leads in the third period before Kane took control.Drew Doughty scored the tying goal and set up Alec Martinez’s go-ahead score early in the third period for the Kings, who were less than nine minutes away from their second trip to the Stanley Cup Final in three years.The Hawks led 2-1 entering the third after getting goals from Kane and Ben Smith early in the second period, and Staples Center echoed with worry until Doughty tied it with 14:28 left. The Kings’ dominant defenseman took the puck from the point into the slot and fired a wrist shot past a screened Corey Crawford for his third goal in four games.Doughty then collected the puck during a power play and fed Martinez for a low shot through traffic, putting the Kings ahead 3-2 and setting off a deafening celebration.But the Blackhawks pressed for a tying goal, and got it when Keith beat Quick with 8:26 left.With the crowd hushed again, Kane scored the winner after hanging onto the puck, finding open ice and beating Quick. Kane, last season’s Conn Smythe Trophy winner largely because of his dominance against Los Angeles in last season’s conference finals, had one point in the first four games of this series before scoring seven more in the Hawks consecutive elimination victories.Los Angeles had a handful of late chances, but everything was stopped by Crawford, who made 26 saves as the Blackhawks won for the ninth time in their last 11 elimination games.The Hawks trailed 3-1 in the conference finals after its second straight loss at Staples Center on Monday, but the Blackhawks avoided elimination at home with an epic double-overtime victory. Game 6 was every bit as entertaining, and the champions again showed their poise.The conference finals rematch between the NHL’s last two champions will be decided in a winner-take-all Game 7 — the third of the postseason for the Kings, who are 6-0 in elimination games this spring.The winner gets the New York Rangers, who eliminated Montreal on Thursday night.Crawford exchanged contact and angry words with Quick after the second-period horn.Quick was angry after Andrew Shaw ran into him, and the goalies had a brief confrontation in front of Hawk bench. Crawford shook his glove and blocker at his waist, miming his willingness to fight Quick while a linesman separated them.Dwight King scored an early goal and Quick made 21 saves for the Kings, who fell agonizingly short of their third Stanley Cup Final trip in franchise history.

NOTES—The Blackhawks went with seven defensemen for Game 6, dressing Sheldon Brookbank for the first time since May 13. Kris Versteeg and Peter Regin were scratched. … King hadn’t scored a goal in Los Angeles’ last 10 games. … Kings owner Phil Anschutz made a rare appearance at Staples Center. Prospective new Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and point guard Chris Paul also attended the game.

Still breathing, Hawks edge Kings on Handzus goal in second OT 5-4

Michal Handzus scored at 2:04 of the second overtime, and the Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 in Game 5 on Wednesday night to stay alive in the Western Conference final.Brandon Saad made a nice pass to the middle to Handzus, who beat goalie Jonathan Quick with a backhander for his second goal of the playoffs. Handzus celebrated by jumping against boards behind the net as the sellout crowd of 21,871 roared.Saad had a goal and two assists for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who stopped a three-game losing streak. Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya and Ben Smith also scored, and Patrick Kane set a playoff career high with four assists.Game 6 is Friday night in Los Angeles.Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown each had a goal and an assist, and Jarret Stoll and Tanner Pearson also scored for the Kings, who led 4-3 after two periods. It was Gaborik’s NHL-best 11th playoff goal.Quick and Corey Crawford each stopped 40 shots.Los Angeles was in position to advance to its second Stanley Cup final in three years before Smith drove to the net and swept in a rebound 1:17 into the third. Smith’s third goal of the playoffs set the stage for a frantic finish as both sides pushed for the winning score.Kings center Stoll was sent off for tripping with 3:11 left in the third, giving the Blackhawks a prime opportunity to move in front. Quick stopped Kane on a big slap shot, and then turned away Bryan Bickell in front to keep it tied at 4.Quick made another solid stop on Marian Hossa in overtime, and the loose puck was swept away by the Kings. Los Angeles star Anze Kopitar had a chance to win it about 9 minutes into the first overtime but his shot went off the side of the net.Crawford had a kick save on Stoll in the first overtime after Jonathan Toews turned it over in the Blackhawks’ zone.Back at home for Game 5 after a disastrous stay in Los Angeles, the Blackhawks put together a terrific start. But the Kings weathered the storm and then stepped up their attack in the last part of the first period.Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty was whistled for tripping just 30 seconds into the game, and Seabrook drove a slap shot by a screened Quick at 1:13 for the Hawks first power-play goal since Game 2. The Blackhawks were unsuccessful on their previous eight chances with the man advantage.Oduya and Saad added rebound goals as the Blackhawks built a 3-1 lead just 11:06 into the game. The Hawks second line of Saad, Andrew Shaw and Kane was a headache for Los Angeles all night long, creating numerous high-quality scoring chances.But the Kings grabbed the momentum back with a terrific sequence with 7 minutes left in the first. Quick made a great stop on Toews, and Kopitar set up Gaborik at the other end to get the Kings within one.It was reminiscent of Game 2, when Quick denied Seabrook on a 2-on-1 and the Kings went on to score six straight goals in a 6-2 victory.This time around, Brown had a nice rebound goal after Crawford made a great save on Gaborik, and Pearson made it 4-3 with a wrist shot from the right circle at 13:08 of second. Pearson deftly used Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson as a screen on his fourth goal of the playoffs.Quick also had an outstanding save on Saad from inside the goal early in the second.Pearson’s goal stunned the sellout crowd, but it woke up again when Saad’s perfectly timed shot set up Smith’s tying score. Saad had a plus-4 rating in almost 24 minutes of ice time in one of the best games of his young career.Shaw got tangled up with Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin along the boards with 3:03 remaining in regulation and his right leg buckled underneath him, sending the forward to the ice. He went to the locker room but returned for the first overtime.

NOTES—Los Angeles police say they are investigating a battery report from a fan who says Crawford sprayed water in his face during Game 4 at Staples Center. The report alleges Crawford used a water bottle to spray the face of the heckling fan, who was thrown out of the arena and later filed the complaint with police. Crawford did not speak with the media after the team’s Wednesday morning skate. … Kings D Robyn Regehr missed his 11th straight game with a knee injury. … Blackhawks F Brandon Bollig returned to the lineup after he was a healthy scratch for Game 4. He replaced Peter Regin.

Hawks up against it, fall 5-2 to Kings, down three games to one

LOS ANGELES—Jake Muzzin, Marian Gaborik and captain Dustin Brown scored in a dominant first period, and the Los Angeles Kings beat the Blackhawks 5-2 Monday night to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference final.Muzzin and Drew Doughty each had a goal and an assist, and Jonathan Quick made 22 saves as the Kings moved to the brink of their second trip to the Stanley Cup Final in three seasons with their third straight win over the defending champion Blackhawks.Brandon Saad and Bryan Bickell scored and Corey Crawford stopped 16 shots for the Blackhawks, who didn’t get rolling until they trailed 4-0 late in the second period.One year after Los Angeles lost the conference finals in five games to the Hawks, the Kings have their own chance to close it out in five.Game 5 is Wednesday in the United Center.Tanner Pearson added an empty-net goal for the Kings, who have been to the NHL finals just twice in franchise history, winning their only title in 2012.Two days after the Kings gritted out a 4-3 victory over the Hawks in Game 3, they won again at Staples Center by scoring three goals on six shots in the first 16 minutes, capping an incredible three-game offensive performance by the lowest-scoring NHL team to make the postseason.After trailing 2-0 late in the second period of Game 2, Los Angeles scored 13 goals in less than 100 minutes. After Muzzin scored on a power play and Gaborik added his 10th goal of the postseason, Brown banged a puck into an empty net for a 3-0 lead in Game 4, setting off multiple standing ovations from their delirious fans.The Blackhawks shuffled their lineup after two poor offensive performances, beginning Game 4 with captain Jonathan Toews centering Bickell and Patrick Kane, who still doesn’t have a goal in the series.Last year, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville teamed Toews with Kane – the 2013 Conn Smythe Trophy winner – when his club fell into a 3-1 series hole against Detroit in the second round. The Blackhawks escaped that deficit on the way to their second Stanley Cup title in four years, but the Kings are an entirely different postseason challenge.The Kings committed two offensive-zone penalties early in Game 4, but the Hawks power play remained inept. After Marian Hossa negated a power play for the Blackhawks by running into Quick, the Kings went ahead when Doughty found Muzzin for a heavy slap shot past Carter’s screen.The goal was the fifth of a revelatory postseason for Muzzin – the same number scored by  Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook combined.Keith then set up the Kings’ second goal with a horrific turnover in his own end. Anze Kopitar threw the puck in front, where Gaborik redirected it through Crawford’s legs.Brown then added his first goal since Game 7 of the first round against San Jose, and the Los Angeles crowd cheered its team to intermission.The Kings kept pressing in the second, and Doughty put a long shot through traffic midway through the period. Doughty, the Kings’ leader in ice time, has goals in back-to-back games after scoring just once in the first 16 playoff games.The Hawks finally beat Quick when Saad scored on a backhand. The Kings sat back on defense to start the third period, and Bickell got just his second goal in eight games when he jumped on a loose puck in the slot with 10:31 to play.

NOTES—The Hawks listless power play went 0 for 3, dropping to 1 for 24 on the road in the postseason. … The Blackhawks scratched F Brandon Bollig in favor of Peter Regin, who sat out Game 3 after Andrew Shaw‘s return. … Game 6 would be Friday at Staples Center.

Hawks fade in third period again, Kings win 4-3 to take 2-1 series lead

LOS ANGELES—Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson are among the few Los Angeles Kings who don’t have a Stanley Cup ring from two years ago.Jeff Carter is grateful the youngsters are carrying him along on their own Cup chase after their line came up with another monster game against the Blackhawks.Carter had a goal and two assists, Toffoli scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period, and the Kings beat the Hawks 4-3 on Saturday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals.Drew Doughty had a third-period goal and an assist, and Jonathan Quick made 24 saves as the Kings returned to Staples Center with an impressive two-way effort against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

“I’m having so much fun with these guys,” said Toffoli, who has scored a goal in every game of the conference finals. “Getting to play with a guy like Carter is a great opportunity, and (Pearson) and me are trying to live up to him.”

Game 4 is Monday night at Staples Center.Three days after Carter had four points in the third period of Game 2, Los Angeles got another dominant effort from the line centered by the veteran goal-scorer.In a 6:11 span of the second period of Game 3, Carter scored the tying goal off Pearson’s pass before setting up the go-ahead score by Toffoli, who has a goal in every game of the conference finals.

“They have a lot of chemistry from playing together” in the minors, Carter said. “They use their speed and their skill to create opportunities, and they kind of drag me along with them, so it’s fun.”

Toffoli and Pearson still hadn’t cracked Los Angeles’ lineup in 2012 when the eighth-seeded Kings won the title. Toffoli became a regular for last season’s run to the conference finals, while Pearson made his NHL debut in a playoff game last spring.They’ve both become key components of the Kings’ four-line offensive attack. Slava Voynov also scored an early power-play goal as the Kings moved halfway to their second Stanley Cup Final in three years.Jonathan Toews scored twice in the first period for the Blackhawks, but they didn’t score again until Patrick Sharp‘s goal with 5 seconds left. Corey Crawford stopped 28 shots for the Blackhawks, who have lost the first road game in 10 consecutive playoff series since 2010.

“Once they got the lead, they seemed to get the momentum, and we couldn’t quite find our way back into the game,” Toews said. “It’s up to us to play better with those leads.”

Three days after the Kings evened the series by scoring six consecutive goals in the final 22 minutes of Game 2, Los Angeles didn’t relax and rely on its NHL-best defense.Neither team played conservatively despite the stakes, instead trading tantalizing scoring chances for the first two periods. The Kings kept pushing for goals even while leading in the third, generating 18 shots and keeping the talented Blackhawks stuck in their own end for long stretches.

“We all want to win in here, and Toews is obviously our captain and leader,” Duncan Keith said. “He definitely led the way tonight, but we need everybody if we are going to beat this team and try to win one here. Toews came out and led the way. It’s up to the rest of us to follow that.”

The Blackhawks beat Los Angeles in five games in the conference finals last season, but the rematch hasn’t been nearly as smooth for the Hawks. Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell haven’t scored a goal in the conference finals, while Sharp’s last-gasp goal was his first of the series.The Blackhawks had their usual hundreds of red-clad fans in an otherwise black-and-white Staples Center crowd, and Toews put the Hawks ahead just 5:26 into Game 3 with a spectacular short-handed goal, stealing the puck from Justin Williams and beating Quick between the legs. After Voynov tied it, Toews connected again later in the period on a rebound.The Kings evened it in the second period when Pearson corralled a puck that hit a referee behind the net and fed it to Carter in front for his eighth goal.Carter then chipped the puck ahead to Toffoli shortly after a Hawk power play ended. Toffoli broke in on Crawford, who lifted his left pad for only an instant — right when Toffoli pushed the puck under him.The Kings kept up the pressure in the third period, and Doughty scored just his second goal of the postseason shortly after a power play expired in the third period.

NOTES—Andrew Shaw returned to the Hawks lineup after a seven-game injury absence. He took the lineup spot of Peter Regin, who had played the last four games. … Toews had his first multigoal performance in 63 playoff games since May 7, 2010, when he had a hat trick against Vancouver. … Guitarist Slash played the national anthem. Wayne Gretzky, Dick Butkus, David Beckham, Eric Stonestreet, Josh Duhamel, Taylor Kitsch and former Kings forward Dustin Penner attended the game.

Hawks collapse. Kings score 5 in third period for 6-2 win to tied series 1-1.

Jeff Carter scored three of Los Angeles’ six straight goals, and the Kings beat the Blackhawks 6-2 on Wednesday night to leave the Western Conference final tied at one game apiece.Drew Doughty and Tyler Toffoli also scored in Los Angeles’ five-goal third period as the Kings became the first visiting team to win in Chicago this postseason. The Blackhawks won their first seven home playoff games this year, but the Kings skated right by the Hawks after the defending Stanley Cup champions took a 2-0 lead in the second period.Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday night in Los Angeles.Nick Leddy and Ben Smith scored for the Hawks, who won 3-1 in Game 1 on Sunday. Corey Crawford made 25 saves.The Blackhawks were in position for their fourth consecutive win before Doughty drove a slap shot by Crawford to tie it at 2 just 1:37 into the third. Carter then had another power-play score at 4:04 that gave Los Angeles the lead.Once the Kings got going, they appeared to get almost anything they wanted against the sagging Blackhawks. Tanner Pearson set up goals by Toffoli at 8:59 and Carter at 14:44, and Carter added an empty-netter for his seventh of the playoffs.Carter also had an assist in his first career four-point playoff game. It was his second playoff hat trick.It was the most goals allowed by the Blackhawks in a playoff game since a 6-1 loss to Detroit on May 24, 2009.Jonathan Quick made 23 saves for the Kings, including a big stop on Brent Seabrook with the Hawks trying for a 3-0 lead in the second.The Blackhawks got off to a strong start, using their speed to draw four penalties in the first period alone. Brandon Saad was responsible for two of the calls, making a pair of nice moves that ended with Matt Greene in the box for hooking and Doughty sent off for holding.Los Angeles defenseman Willie Mitchell had to cross check Peter Regin into the net to prevent a goal with about seven minutes left in the period, but the Hawks made the most of the man advantage.The Blackhawks turned away a short-handed rush by the Kings, and Duncan Keith made a nice pass ahead to a streaking Leddy coming up the right side. The defenseman, who was a healthy scratch for Game 3 of the Blackhawks second-round series against Minnesota, then sent a backhander over Quick’s left shoulder at 14:16.It was Leddy’s second career playoff goal. He also scored on April 21, 2012, at Phoenix.The Hawks struck again in the second, with Smith jumping off the bench and beating Quick on a line change to make 2-0 at 1:40 of the period. The Blackhawks had another prime scoring chance when Kris Versteeg made a nice pass to Seabrook on a 2-on-1, but Quick got over to make a nice stop on the defenseman’s shot.Quick’s play on Seabrook provided more time for the Kings to get back in the game, and they took advantage when Mike Richards’ pass to the crease went off Justin Williams’ right skate and past Crawford with 1:46 left in the second.Williams’ sixth goal of the playoffs cut the Hawks lead to 2-1 after two, and the Kings carried the momentum over to their big third period.

NOTES—Carter also scored three times in a 4-0 playoff win at Phoenix on May 15, 2012. … Kings D Matt Greene was active for the first time in series. He replaced Jeff Schultz, who was scratched after he played 17 minutes in Game 1. … Quick improved to 8-17-1 in 26 career games against the Blackhawks. … The Blackhawks played without F Andrew Shaw, who is out with a lower-body injury, but could return in Game 3.

Marshall gets 3 year extension with Bears,

Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall signed a three-year extension.The Bears confirmed the extension.Marshall also noted he’s pledging $1 million to the “mental health community.” Pretty awesome.Technically it’s $30 million extension over the three years that will pay Marshall just under $40 million for the remaining life of his contract.Marshall was acquired by the Bears in a trade with the Dolphins for two third-round picks (that looks like a STEAL now, huh?).In two years since he’s caught 218 passes for 2,803 yards and 23 touchdowns. He’s also turned around his life off the field and become a real ambassador for mental health in the sporting community.

Hawks overcome flat second period and poor Officiating-beat Kings 3-1 in W.Conf Finals Opener

Corey Crawford made 25 saves, Jonathan Toews had a big goal in the third period and the Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Sunday.Brandon Saad added a goal and an assist for the Hawks, who remained perfect in seven home playoff games this year. Duncan Keith had a tiebreaking score in the third period.Playing just two days after a Game 7 victory over Anaheim, the Kings got a second-period goal from Tyler Toffoli and outshot the Blackhawks 26-20. But Crawford made a couple of solid stops in another terrific performance.With the Blackhawks clinging to a 2-1 lead in the third, Toews got loose on a 3-on-1 break and one-timed Johnny Oduya’s pass right by Jonathan Quick for his sixth playoff goal at 16:10.Quick made 17 saves after he played a key role in Los Angeles’ rally from a 3-2 deficit in the series against the Ducks. The Kings also battled back from a 3-0 deficit against San Jose in the first round.Toews’ 26th career playoff goal came after he had one waved off in a confusing stretch in the second period.It looked as if the Hawks had a 2-0 lead when Toews’ rush to the net resulted in the puck going off the skate of Kings defenseman Slava Voynov and into the goal. But it was waved off after a conference by the officials, prompting a round of boos from the crowd of 21,832 and a waving, yelling display from Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville.It was an awful call in the long run. According to the NHL, the original call of good goal was changed because the officials decided Toews made incidental contact with Quick before the puck crossed the goal line. The league said the ruling was not reviewable, so the terrible call on the ice remained in place.The sequence seemed to wake up the Kings while deflating the Blackhawks. Los Angeles got its first goal about a minute later, with Tanner Pearson making a terrific pass to the middle to Toffoli for his fourth of the playoffs at 4:35.The Kings then had a couple of chances to take the lead, but Crawford stepped up each time. He denied Kyle Clifford on a 2-on-1 break with 13:42 remaining, and stopped Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown in rapid succession midway through the period.Crawford’s solid play bought the Hawks some time to shake off the disallowed goal, and it paid off when Keith’s slap shot went off the stick of Kings forward Trevor Lewis and bounced past Quick for a 2-1 lead at 11:54.Crawford made another big save on Jeff Carter in the first minute of the third, and Toffoli had a backhander go off the outside of right post on a breakaway opportunity in the final period.The Blackhawks used a bad penalty by Kings defenseman Alec Martinez to grab the lead in the first period. Martinez pushed forward Brandon Bollig to the ice long after the whistle had blown, drawing a roughing call.Saad redirected Nick Leddy’s slap shot past Quick in the final seconds of the resulting power play. Saad’s third goal of the playoffs made it 1-0 with 5:14 left in the period.The Kings had a prime scoring chance with 2:42 to go in the first, but Leddy tied up Mike Richards at the end of a 2-on-1 break. It was part of a nice all-around performance for Leddy after he was a healthy scratch for Game 3 of the second-round series against Minnesota.


NOTES—Kings D Willie Mitchell was active for the first time since Game 6 of Los Angeles’ first-round series against San Jose, but D Robyn Regehr remained out with an injury. He has missed the Kings’ last seven games. … Blackhawks D Michal Rozsival was active after he was a healthy scratch for the last two games of their second-round series against Minnesota.

Pippen to Knicks with Phil?

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

Could Scottie Pippen be working for the New York Knicks soon? This is what The New York Post’s Marc Berman touched on in his May 15 featured article:

“Knicks general manager Steve Mills huddled with Scottie Pippen for about 15 minutes Wednesday at the Bulls draft combine to gauge the legenardy Bull’s interest in possibly working for the organization in some capacity, possibly as an assistant coach, according to an NBA source.

“Knicks president Phil Jackson, stung by the Steve Kerr rejection, would have interest in Pippen in some capacity, pending whom his new head coach is. Pippen, master of the triangle, has the title of advisor with the Bulls.

“When asked by The Post about potentially working with Jackson, Pippen said: ‘I haven’t talked to Phil. I have to wait until that time comes. Right now nothing’s out there. I’m not going to say whther I’m interested or not until it happens.’

“Jackson was in Chicago, but stayed away from the gym where the draft continues conducted workouts. Pippen once called Steve Kerr his favorite teammate. Kerr was with Pippen for three of the Bulls’ championships.

“‘I was a little surprised,’ Pippen said of Kerr not taking the Knicks’ job. ‘I thought the familiarity working with Phil, able to run the offense, having Phil there to mentor him as much as possible made it a bit of a surprise. I think at the end of the day, Golden State is probably the better team. They have a lot more upside.'”

Kerr, who has been negotiating with the Knicks for their head coaching position for roughly two months, decided to take the Warriors’ offer on May 14 instead. Kerr was given a five-year, $25 million contract by Golden State, per Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. The New York Times’ Scott Cacciola explains why Kerr rejected the Knicks’ offer and what’s next in the coaching search for team president Phil Jackson.

“Kerr said it was difficult to say no to Jackson because of his great respect for him. But Kerr’s family lives in California, the Warriors have a ready-made roster for the playoffs, and he has solid relationships with several members of the Warriors’ front office. One more thing: Although his offense will be influenced by the triangle, Kerr said, the Warriors will not resemble the Bulls of the 1990s. Jackson appears to want someone who will operate as an extension of himself, someone familiar with the triangle, someone familiar with the triangle, perhaps someone he has coached. Someone young and fairly compliant would not hurt, either. Jackson, after all, is as much coach emeritus as team president. While there is no shortage of viable coaches who are available for work — Lionel Hollins and George Karl, to name two — Jackson’s pool appears a bit more shallow and more confined. He is considering at least three candidates he knows well, according to a person familiar with the search who requested anonymity because he had not been authorized to speak publicly about it. The three are Luke Walton, who played for Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers; Kurt Rambis, one of Jackson’s former assistants; and Brian Shaw, who played and coached for Jackson before becoming the coach of the Nuggets. Shaw is under contract with Denver, but the Knicks could try to pry him loose.”

Reporters Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne also identify former New York head coach Jeff Van Gundy and current Bulls head coach Tom Thiobdeau as other potential candidates to coach the Knicks. Pippen, a seven-time All-Star, eight-time All-Defensive First Team and three-time All-NBA First Team member, averaged 16.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists during his 17-year NBA carer with the Bulls, Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers.He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 and was hired by the Bulls to be their senior advisor to president and COO Michael Reinsdorf two years later.

Bears first to sign their top draft pick-CB Kyle Fuller gets 4 year contract

LAKE FOREST—The first first-rounder of the draft class of 2014,Kyle Fuller of the Bears, has agreed to terms on his rookie contract.That would be cornerback Kyle Fuller, drafted by the Bears with the No. 14 overall pick. He’s slotted to receive a four-year deal (with a fifth-year option for the team) that, according to CBSSports.com’s Joel Corry, will be worth $9.687 million with a $1.761 million salary cap number for 2014.The Bears’ selection of Fuller was praised by CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco, who wrote, “I love the Fuller pick. The top corner in my mind and [the Bears] need corners in a division with two good passers.”

Said Fuller after his selection: “We didn’t talk about it specifically, but coming in, I feel like they know I can play corner or nickel, possibly safety. Whatever it is, I’m a versatile player. I know they’ll put me in the best situation for myself and for the team.

“I haven’t actually played safety. Some of the things we did at Virginia Tech was some safety stuff. but being able to line up… My skill set, as far as being able to play safety, I’m tough, physical, can come up and tackle. I haven’t played it, but I played corner and nickel, and I feel like I can do that.”

Bye Bye Minnesota–Hawks win Wild series 4-2 on Kane’s OT goal

ST. PAUL—The Blackhawks were chasing for much of the game, and the Minnesota Wild just kept generating chance after chance to score.Once overtime arrived, though, all Patrick Kane needed was one friendly bounce to finish off another opponent.Kane scored on a backhand at 9:42 of the extra period to lift the Blackhawks to a 2-1 victory over the Wild in Game 6 to clinch their second-round Western Conference series on Tuesday night, the fourth playoff overtime winner of his career.

“He’s a special player, and guys have that instinct, have that knack of finding pucks, wanting to be out there, wanting to score,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

Kris Versteeg scored 1:58 into the game and Corey Crawford came up with tough save after tough save among his 34 stops for the Blackhawks, who advanced to the Western Conference finals to meet either Anaheim or Los Angeles. The Ducks lead the other semifinal series 3-2, with the Kings hosting Game 6 on Wednesday night.Since 2009, the first postseason appearance for Kane and co-star Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks are 14-0 in Games 5 and 6 of playoff series that were tied after Game 4. They’re also 12-2 in games with a chance to win a series, including 6-1 on the road.

“We probably didn’t play our best tonight, but just finding a way to win is something this team has done for many years now,” Kane said.

Erik Haula scored his fourth goal of the playoffs and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 25 shots for the Wild, who pushed a frenetic pace for much of the night but paid for all those missed prime opportunities when a simple dump-in behind the net by Brent Seabrook took a strange bounce off the glass back toward the slot.Kane snagged it, deked once and flipped it into top of the net. He said he wasn’t sure right away if the puck was in.But he soon found out.

“It seems like it was not our luck tonight,” said Bryzgalov, who nearly matched Crawford save for save. “We hit some posts in the third period and they got like the first goal after some crazy two bounces.”

The Wild kept up the pressure on Crawford that they created in the middle of the game, but whether it was the goalie’s pads, blocker or a crossbar in the way, the pucks didn’t go in.

“We really believe that we were capable of doing more than just winning this game,” a dejected Wild coach Mike Yeo said, adding: “Our guys did everything that we asked and they laid it on the line, and that’s what hurts.”

The Blackhawks scored first in six of their previous 11 games in these playoffs and won each time, their only victory without taking the first lead coming in Game 5 against the Wild.Versteeg put them right back in control just 1:58 in on his 28th birthday, when he outmuscled Keith Ballard for possession in the corner and flipped an bad-angle shot that bounced awkwardly among the bodies around the crease, hit the back of Clayton Stoner’s leg and skidded past Bryzgalov.The Wild got their break — or, rather, breakaway — soon after the first intermission when Haula sped to snag a pass by Matt Cooke that banked perfectly off the boards and he snapped the puck on the rush past Crawford’s glove.Each side brought an aggressive game plan, with defensemen pinching down often and all kinds of rushes developing both ways, particularly in that breathless penalty-free second period that had the home team buzzing so much that Quenneville used his timeout.Crawford made two saves apiece on a pair of breakaways by Justin Fontaine. Cody McCormick tried a spin move to fend off Duncan Keith and nearly got the puck past Crawford, who used his left pad to stop it.

“On the road this was probably one of my bigger games of the playoffs so far,” Crawford said. “This team seems to enjoy that position where we have a chance to eliminate and move on to the next series. We had a chance to do that and we stuck with it all game.”

NOTES—Kane moved into the NHL lead with 35 postseason goals since 2009. … The Wild had goalie Darcy Kuemper dressed for action for the first time since he was removed in the third period of Game 6 of the first round series against Colorado because of what the team labeled an upper body injury. … The Blackhawks fended off two more power plays in the third period and dropped the Wild to 2 for 20 in the series.