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Blackhawks fall after Neal’s hat trick; Predators proving they’re for real in Central

NASHVILLE — Add another team to the gantlet. The Nashville Predators appear to be for real. As if the Central Division weren’t imposing enough to begin with. Nashville beat the Blackhawks at their own game Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena, outshooting and outworking them until …


Kyle Fuller might play against Patriots


Rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller, who suffered hand and hip injuries in the loss to the Dolphins last week, practiced on a limited basis Thursday and could play Sunday against the Patriots in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Fuller had his broken right hand wrapped but was able to …

Thibodeau won’t say if rookies Doug McDermott, Nikola Mirotic will be in rotation


Even with seven preseason games and close to 30 hours of practice on tape, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau doesn’t have an answer about whether rookie forwards Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic will be in his rotation when the regular season tips off next week in …

Tom Brady is elite; Jay Cutler is, well?


ADAM L. JAHNS: It’s a bizarre week to debate whether Bears quarterback Jay Cutler can, will be or already is an elite quarterback.

Joakim Noah admits knee has ‘ways to go’


Joakim Noah and his left knee were again front and center on Wednesday, as the two-time All-Star admitted, “I still have a ways to go.’’ How far?

Bryan Bickell acknowledges he has to be more physical more consistently


You’ve read this one before. It’s the one about Bryan Bickell and the maddening difference between the mild-mannered regular-season guy who’s always in search of confidence and the postseason ­goal-scoring machine who’s always in search of a body to bruise. It’s a well-worn plot line, …

Royals chase Peavy in Game 2, use five-run 6th to even World Series


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Royals got to Jake Peavy — and everyone else from the Giants bullpen that manager Bruce Bochy threw at them — for five tiebreaking runs in the sixth inning, and Kansas City evened the World Series at a game apiece …

Antti Raanta answers call, makes 32 saves in 4-0 win over Flyers


They got the quantity of shots, only this time they also got the quality. They drew penalties, only this time they capitalized. They made some pretty plays, only this time they also made some ugly ones.

The Blackhawks are 4-0-1 after their 4-0 thrashing over …

Giants pounce on Shields, Royals, take Game 1 of World Series 7-1


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Giants went on the attack early against James Shields, and Madison Bumgarner took care of the rest, holding the Kansas City Royals to one run on three hits over seven innings in San Francisco’s 7-1 victory in Game 1 of …

Joakim Noah’s knee will be an ‘issue all season’ — source


Those who know Joakim Noah often cite his warrior mentality. According to a member of the Noah camp, that mentality is about to be tested. “Jo’s [left] knee is going to be an issue all season,’’ the source said. “He has played through pain before …

Trestman cuts down on Cutler’s decision-making: Are big changes coming?


Halfway through the game Sunday against the Dolphins, the Bears decided that less of Jay Cutler was a good thing. Matt Forte ran the ball only two times in the first half in part, coach Marc Trestman said Monday, because four other plays were turned …

Jermon Bushrod: Bears’ yelling at each other won’t go further


The Bears’ screaming in the locker room Sunday was just that — no physical altercations — and doesn’t threaten the team’s cohesiveness, offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod said Monday at Halas Hall. Emotions can only undermine a team ‘‘when locker-room issues become public issues — and …

Derrick Rose scores 30, but LeBron leads Cavs to win


COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Bulls and Cavaliers are expected to be slugging it out at the end of the season for supremacy in the Eastern Conference.

On Monday, they were still working out the kinks in the preseason.

Derrick Rose, for one, looked ready.

Rose …

Kris Versteeg’s return sparks Blackhawks’ line dance


Blackhawks winger Kris Versteeg is poised to return to action Tuesday against the Flyers at the United Center. And that’s likely to have a ripple effect on the Hawks’ talented roster. Versteeg, who has been sidelined for two weeks by a lower-body injury, looked sharp …

Joel Quenneville mulling changes on power play

With the Blackhawks off to a 3-0-1 start, their power-play woes haven’t been a big deal. But coach Joel Quenneville is thinking about ways to deal with it, including some personnel changes. “Absolutely,” he said Monday. ­“[Tuesday against the Flyers,] I think we’ll start the …

Auto Racing: Brad Keselowski keeps title hopes alive at Talladega


TALLADEGA, Ala. — Brad Keselowski refused to be knocked down — not by Matt Kenseth, who jumped him from behind after a disastrous race at Charlotte, and not by garage-wide condemnation over his post-race meltdown. He kept his head up and arrived at Talladega Superspeedway …