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SportsMonday: Nothing To See Here

On Sunday, the now 2-9 Bears stayed on track for a top-five, first-round draft pick, and young quarterback Matt Barkley showed some promise (and, yes, a flaw or two) as the Titans prevailed 27-21. What's not to like about this latest chapter of a trainwreck season?

The only thing to do at this point is to move along quickly . . . no gaper's delay here!

And in Chicago there are always other teams gettin' busy. Clearly the time has come to focus on the winter sports - at least until the Cubs make a waiver claim, or even any other sort of the tiniest of transactions.

Then we will jump into the hot stove league faster than Jackie Robinson stole home. But the earliest big baseball moves this week will almost certainly happen in the aftermath of a new collective bargaining agreement. The current deal is scheduled to run out at 11 p.m. Wednesday (midnight in some other time zone).

Fortunately there has been no indication that what will essentially be an extension of the current, highly successful deal between MLB players and owners won't be happening soon.

Meanwhile, the Bulls and the Blackhawks are in the midst of recovering from their respective Circus Trips. The basketball voyage was successful (four wins and two losses on the way to an overall mark of 10-6), and while the Hawks didn't play their best hockey as they toured NHL outposts in western Canada and the West Coast, they avoided losing streaks on their way to a 3-3-1 mark.

That leaves the Hawks at 14-6-3 overall and still in front in the Western Conference. They lead the second-place Blues by four points. The team from St. Louis does have a game in hand.

The Hawks are back in action Tuesday night when they face a team in some turmoil. Dale Tallon's Florida Panthers come to town on the heels of the firing of their coach, Gerard Gallant. He was let go Sunday despite the fact that he finished second in the Coach of the Year voting way back at the end of last season.

Tallon, who as general manager oversaw the acquisition of many of the players who still form the core of the Blackhawks, is now the Panthers' team president. His general manager Tom Rowe apparently grew tired of a tense working relationship with Gallant. Now Rowe moves behind the bench to coach the team with an 11-10-1 record that puts them two points out of the last playoff spot in the East.

I think we can pause now and give a quick bit of thanks to the fact that the Hawks continue to abide by an overall plan that seems to make a bit more sense than what they are doing in South Florida.

The Bulls host the Lakers on Wednesday, and that will give fans a chance to start to assess a move that was the first of its kind over the weekend - the team's first use of their new minor league team to give some of their subs a boost.

The NBA Developmental League Windy City Bulls, based in Hoffman Estates, are 3-3 in their inaugural season. On Saturday they were led by Jerian Grant, Cristiano Felicio and R.J. Hunter as they defeated Delaware 121-110. Grant scored a game-high 34 points. All three players will be back with the real Bulls on Wednesday.

They will face a Lakers team that has also surprised to start the season. Everyone in LA is so excited that the Lakers don't totally suck that their 9-9 season-opening run has been a bit overhyped, but this is a young team that can pile up the points.

Whatever happens in that game, the local team will be looking way better than the squad that unfortunately still has what will almost certainly be five more brutal games out on the gridiron.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

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