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article imageChicago sports in December

By Scott Gehrke     Dec 10, 2011 in Sports
December is an exciting time for Chicago sports fans. With three of our teams in action and the anticipation of what our baseball teams will do the new year, December is fun for all of us.
December is big for Chicago sports teams. The Blackhawks are in the top five in points in the NHL, the Bears have the #5 seed in the NFC, the Bulls start their season on Christmas Day, the White Sox attempt to rebuild their roster for new manager Robin Ventura and the Cubs lose out on Albert Pujols.
The Blackhawks are 17-8-4 for a total of 38 points, second best in the league and just three points behind the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference. Their next game is Sunday night at the United Center against the San Jose Sharks. Led by their "big four" of Jonathan Toews (17 goals, 15 assists), Patrick Kane (8 goals, 23 assists), Patrick Sharp (15 goals, 15 assists) and Marian Hossa (12 goals, 17 assists), the Hawks are poised to make another run at the Stanley Cup.
Meanwhile, the Bears are 7-5 for fifth best in the NFC. Tied with the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions, the Bears hold tiebreakers against both of them. But with quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte both out until the end of the regular season with injuries, the team has lost two straight going into their game Sunday afternoon against the Broncos in Denver. QB Caleb Haine has so far been ineffective and now Marian Barber and Khalil Bell must step up and fill the shoes of Forte. This game and next week's last home game against the Seattle Seahawks are must wins for the Bears if they are to hold on to their playoff postion. The final two games of the season are on the road against the undefeated Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings.
Christmas came early for the Bulls. The NBA, which seemed to be doomed to a season long lock-out, came to their senses and settled on a new labor agreement. The Bulls start their season on Christmas Day with a match-up in Los Angeles against the Lakers. Reigning MVP Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer will lead the Bulls in search of their first NBA Championship since 1998. Losing to the Miami Heat in last season's Eastern Conference Finals, the Bulls look to solidify their roster before the start of the season.
The Cubs finally got their man in Theo Epstein. After leading the Boston Red Sox to two World Series Championships, Epstein brings his expertise to the north side. Unfortunately, they lost out on getting Albert Pujols, who signed with the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. Now they must focus their attention on Prince Fielder. The Cubs do not look like contenders in 2012, but Cub fans do not fear. While it has already been 103 years since the Cubs won the World Series, another year should not bother fans. The Cubs will be one of the best teams in the league in the next couple of years.
Finally, the White Sox lost one of their long time players in Mark Buehrle, who signed with the Florida Marlins earlier this week and traded their closer Sergio Santos to the Toronto Blue Jays for a minor league pitcher. The question for Sox fans is, whose next? General Manager Kenny Williams has no clear objective or direction for this team. After winning the World Series in 2005, there are now only two players left in Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski. Unwilling to resign Buehrle and rumors of Carlos Quintin, John Danks and Gavin Floyd on the trading block, 2012 looks to be a long and dreary season for the south siders. After finishing a disappointing 79-83, 16 games out of first in the A.L. Central and a third place finish, next season looks to be even worse. With no viable option in left field, possibly an opening in right field, no starting rotation worth mentioning and questions of Adam Dunn rebounding after a horrible season in 2011, the White Sox could be facing their worse season in years.
December 2011 will be one to remember for Chicago sports fans. As 2012 quickly approaches, it looks as though three of our teams will be in the playoffs. As for our baseball teams, well, not so much. Regardless of what happens, the fans will continue to be passionate and supportive. I just wonder how much that will be put to the test with the Cubs and White Sox. As for the Bears, Blackhawks and Bulls, we will see how far they can go.
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