Sports Digest: Chicago, Pittsburgh plan NHL game at Soldier Field

2013-05-01T21:15:00Z 2013-05-06T21:34:06Z Sports Digest: Chicago, Pittsburgh plan NHL game at Soldier Field nwitimes.com
May 01, 2013 9:15 pm

Pro hockey

BLACKHAWKS, PENGUINS TO PLAY AT SOLDIER FIELD: The Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins are heading outside again. Just not on New Year's Day this time.

The NHL announced Wednesday that the Blackhawks and Penguins will play at Soldier Field next year. The regular-season game between two of the league's marquee franchises will be played on Saturday night, March 1.

"It's an exciting thing," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "I think that's an exciting matchup especially that a lot of people will probably look forward to. The last time around a lot of the guys that were in this locker room that had the chance to play at Wrigley Field, it was an amazing day and a lot of things about it made it special. So it will be a different venue but to be at home here again, that will be a pretty cool thing."

The Blackhawks hosted the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field on Jan. 1, 2009, as part of the Winter Classic series. Some 40,818 fans attended the game at the home of the Cubs.

The March 1 date for Chicago and Pittsburgh is part of a series of outdoor regular-season games planned for next season. The league is planning to announce more games soon.

"It's a great experience," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "You go back to when we were over at Wrigley and I think everybody had the time of their lives. It's a special game. Once we get into that season, you really anticipate it. You look forward to it."

 

Pro basketball

PACERS REBOUND WITH 106-83 ROUT OF HAWKS IN GAME 5: David West scored 24 points and Paul George had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead Indiana past Atlanta 106-83 on Wednesday night, taking a 3-2 playoff series lead.

The Pacers have all won three home games in the best-of-seven series and are 5-0 at home this season against the Hawks. They'll go to Atlanta on Friday with a chance to clinch the best-of-seven series. But the Hawks have won 13 straight at home against the Pacers, including both games in this series.

Atlanta was led by Josh Smith and Al Horford, who each had 14 points. And it was every bit as ugly as the Hawks' first two double-digit losses in Indy.

 

 

CELTICS STAY ALIVE, BEAT KNICKS TO FORCE GAME 6: Jeff Green scored 18 points and the Boston Celtics stayed alive in the NBA playoffs, cutting the New York Knicks' lead to 3-2 with a 92-86 victory Wednesday night.

The Celtics will host Game 6 on Friday night, needing two victories to become the first NBA team to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a series.

Brandon Bass added 17 points, steadying Boston as it shook off an 11-0 deficit and pulled away in the second half to stop the Knicks again from their first playoff series victory since 2000.

J.R. Smith, back from his one-game suspension for elbowing Jason Terry with the Knicks way ahead late in Game 3, missed his first 10 shots and finished 3 of 14 for 14 points.

DAMIAN LILLARD IS NBA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: It's unanimous: Damian Lillard is the NBA's Rookie of the Year.

No, it never was in question.

Lillard, the sixth overall pick in last June's draft out of Weber State, led all rookies with a 19-point scoring average. He also averaged 6.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds, playing in all 82 games this season.

He broke Stephen Curry's rookie record for 3-pointers in a season, finishing with 185, and became just the third NBA rookie with at least 1,500 points and 500 assists, following Oscar Robertson and Alan Iverson.

And he swept all six of the league's Rookie of the Month awards this season.

"I can't stop smiling," Lillard said when he was awarded the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy on Wednesday.

Lillard is the fourth player in league history to win the Rookie of the Year unanimously, joining Blake Griffin in 2011, David Robinson in 1990 and Ralph Sampson in 1984.

 

Auto racing

APPEAL BOARD UPHOLDS PENALTIES AGAINST PENSKE: A three-member appeals board upheld NASCAR's sweeping penalties against Penske Racing on Wednesday for a failed inspection last month at Texas and team owner Roger Penske vowed to take the ruling to the series' highest level.

The three-member National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel unanimously upheld all penalties levied against the organization, including defending champion Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, over confiscated parts in the rear suspensions of the drivers' Fords. NASCAR chief appellate officer John Middlebrook will hear Penske's final appeal next Tuesday.

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