Despite no runs, few hits, and cool weather, Guaranteed Rate Field is still fun place for White Sox fans

As Chris Volstad took the hill for the White Sox against the Seattle Mariners on Monday afternoon, temperatures were still slightly chilly. And in a game that featured no runs and just five hits from the home team, you would naturally assume that an already modest crowd was bored.

But Sox fans who did show up for the 4:10 CT start time enjoyed themselves despite the uneventful game on the field, and the eventual losing outcome. While I explored the ballpark for the first time, I discovered the greatest parts of Guaranteed Rate Field. Below are many of the discoveries I made at the ballpark that allowed White Sox fans to still have a fun time.

DePaul softball showing reasons for optimism in 2018 as defending Big East conference champions

For the second time this week, the DePaul Blue Demons won’t play due to weather. After their scheduled contest on Monday against Illinois State was cancelled, they won’t be playing in Omaha, Nebraska this weekend against Creighton either.

While DePaul no longer features the likes of slugger Nicole Pihl this year, the team has been fairly successful anyway in 2018. Currently, they hold a 24-13 overall record, and a record of 7-2 in conference play.

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Photo from the DePaul Blue Demons

Pihl led DePaul and the BigEast conference with 14 home runs last season in conjunction with a .787 slugging percentage. But while there are obvious repercussions that come with losing a player who was that productive on a team, DePaul’s core has done an remarkable job filling that void by committee so far in 2018.

Blue Demons catcher and part-time third baseman Morgan Greenwood (Junior) has helped lead the charge so far, having registered five homers, 25 RBIs, and a .557 slugging percentage through 37 games played and 106 at bats.

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Photo from the DePaul Blue Demons

Senior Megan Leyva has been equally valuable for the Blue Demons since their first game on February 9th at the Total Control Sports Invitational. In 36 games and 103 at bats, Leyva has hit six long balls, and has contributed 26 RBIs and a .583 slugging percentage at the plate. As a pitcher who sometimes plays in the outfield as well, Leyva has a vital role on the club defensively too, and is undoubtedly a major part of its leadership group.

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Photo from the DePaulia

Another key piece of the puzzle for DePaul is Plainfield, Illinois native Jessica Cothern. Cothern definitely isn’t having anything even close to resembling a sophomore slump after winning the award for freshman of the year in the Big East conference last season. She’s hit six big flies, knocked in 21 runs, accompanied by a .492 slugging percentage.

Head coach Eugene Lenti is without question another key personnel member who will inevitably reappear in content that I produce moving forward about his team. Lenti has been affiliated with DePaul for over 36 years, and in February, he won his 1,300th game as the team’s head coach.

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Courtesy of the Daily Herald

Although Lenti is the head coach for the Blue Demons, Lindsay Platt serves as an associate head coach, and she plays an extremely prominent role working with DePaul pitchers. Having also played for the Blue Demons during her time as a student, Platt is considered the best pitcher in program history.

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Photo from DePaul Athletics

While it may seem like repeating as Big East champions in 2018 will be a tough task, the Blue Demons have an enthusiastic group with a strong desire to win each time they step out onto the field.

As I begin putting out content, I hope to share many wonderful moments with you via this website, and on social media. You can follow me on Twitter @davidpstein_, and stay tuned for an Instagram account that’s in the works.

The Blue Demons play their next game on April 18, against UIC at Cacciatore Stadium, and you can bet that I’ll be there to provide coverage.

For now, thanks for reading my first introductory piece, and be prepared for much more to come!

Golden Knights Reassign Hyka and Lagace to Wolves, and should benefit from time in the NHL

Forward Tomas Hyka and goaltender Maxime Lagace were both reassigned to the Wolves on Wednesday, signaling the returns of left winger James Neal and goalie Malcolm Subban to Vegas’ roster.

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Photo was retrieved on Pinterest

Since being recalled in February because of an injury to Malcolm Subban, Lagace only appeared in two games for the Golden Knights. Hyka, managed one goal and a pair of assists in 10 total games while playing on Vegas’ third line.

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Maxime Lagace filling in for Malcolm Subban

Getting Hyka back will especially be an added benefit for the Wolves, given that prior to his call up with the Golden Knights, Hyka had registered 34 points in 33 games this season for the Wolves. Hyka is a huge offensive threat for the Wolves, and getting him back with some NHL experience under his belt should make him soar.

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The addition of Lagace will also make a difference to the goaltending group, especially with another pair of back-to-back games upcoming for the Wolves this weekend. And it’s a foregone conclusion that Hyka and Lagace’s teammates will be excited to see them upon their return from the show.

Wolves Stefan Matteau can bring much more

Ever since being drafted 29th overall in 2012 by the New Jersey Devils, former first round pick Stefan Matteau is in the midst of his first campaign with the Chicago Wolves. With 64 games of NHL experience to his name already, Matteau could be doing more offensively this season in Chicago.

In 2016, the Devils dealt the struggling Matteau to Montreal for a fresh start in a deal that sent Devante Smith-Pelly from the Canadiens to the Devils.

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Detroit Red Wings Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on March 29, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Eventually, Matteau fell out of favor with the Canadiens organization, and he was signed  by the Golden Knights as a free agent last summer.

Matteau, the son of former Ranger Stephane Matteau, failed to make Vegas’s roster out of training camp. And in 43 games this season, he’s registered 13-8-21 totals.

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At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Matteau’s size and skating ability should be translating into more on-ice production. If he gets closer to a point-per-game average, Matteau would be found gold for the Wolves moving forward.

There is no bigger thrill for Wolves goalie coach Stan Dubicki than developing young, talented netminders, and guiding their game to the next level

Not many teams are as blessed as the Chicago Wolves in the goaltending department. This season, three different goalies who could each qualify as a starter for a lot of American Hockey League teams have had shared occupation of the net for head coach Rocky Thompson’s group.

When the season began, the Wolves looked set in goal with Maxime Lagace and Oscar Dansk as their netminding tandem. But when the Vegas Golden Knights had both of their starters sidelined with injuries in October, both Lagace and Dansk saw time as call-ups. Dansk even made a little bit of history during his brief stint in Vegas, when he recorded the franchise’s first shutout, in a 7-0 victory against the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 28.


But when Lagace and Dansk were needed in Vegas, the Wolves were fortunate enough to receive Kasimir Kaskisuo as a loan from the Toronto Marlies. And Kaskisuo, who spent two years playing college hockey for the University of Minnesota-Duluth, has seized his opportunity with the Wolves since he arrived in Chicago.

In 28 games as a member of the Wolves, Kaskisuo has posted a 13-13 record in conjunction with an impressive 2.38 goals against average and a .914 save percentage.

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Kasimir Kaskisuo playing goal for the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Photo belongs to http://www.NAHL.com

Kaskisuo, who is large in stature at 6-foot-3, says he can learn something by watching any goaltender who is in the NHL. But for him, Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens is, from a technical standpoint, the best in the business.

“I don’t think there is anyone in the NHL who is not doing something that I would want to do. But Carey Price is one guy I think who is just so technically sound. So you wanna follow some of the things that those guys are doing and see if you can get something from them that you can use,” he said.

Wolves goaltending coach Stan Dubicki, who has been in the same role with the team since 2012, has worked with many goalies, some of whom have gone on to establish themselves in the NHL. Jake Allen and Eddie Lack, for instance are now honing their craft at the highest level. And Dubicki wants the current Wolves netminders to follow the same path.

“I want to see all these guys to play in the NHL, and I want them to win a championship here,” said Dubicki about the trio of Wolves goalies, who he believes have each been impressive all season.

“I think they’ve done an unbelievable job. Kas has played fantastic all year, Oscar coming in, and Max being up in Vegas. As a goalie coach, I couldn’t ask for a better situation with these guys. On and off the ice, unbelievable,” he added.

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Stan Dubicki official head shot, via http://www.chicagowolves.com

In order to make sure everyone in the organization is on the same page, especially since guys move up and down for various reasons, Dubicki acknowledged how important it is for him to stay in communication with the other goalie coaches.

“I make sure I always keep in contact with the Vegas goalie coach [David Prior], and the Marlies goalie coach Pierre Greco. They have a great work ethic, and the goalies are great with each other, too, which is a good situation because they’re always pushing each other,” he said.

“He’s always there for me if he notices any bad habits in my game. Or even just to tell me to keep going and stay focused. He’s a great coach to have and he’s helped my game a lot,” said Oscar Dansk, who is still yet to lose a game in regulation with the Wolves and sports a sparkling record of 7-0-1.

Perhaps some of the toughest decisions that Rocky Thompson has had to make this season involve his goalies, and which one he should start, since each gives the team a chance to win on any given night.

A great problem to have.