H.A.M.

Happy Thanksgiving, store Divas!

Aside from a certain Chicago football team (hey, viagra sale at least they won two games in a row), we definitely have a lot to be thankful for. Derrick Rose is healthy again and the Bulls are riding high at 9-5, but more importantly, our Chicago Blackhawks are 12-8-1 (2-1 in their annual circus trip). With rookie Trevor Van Riemsdyk out for three months, a new face stepped up to take center ice: 22-year-old Adam Clendening, our HAM of the Week.

Adam Clendening, http://www.bleacherreport.com

Adam Clendening, http://www.bleacherreport.com

In his first NHL appearance last Thursday’s 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames, Clendening scored his first goal on his first shot against goalie Jonas Hiller.

The 5’11”, 195-lbs defenseman is certainly stirring up buzz, so we’ve got the 411 on the newbie:

Clendening began his career with the U.S. National under-18 team during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, both of which he was a member of Team USA’s gold-medal winning team at the World Junior Championships.

He was selected by the Blackhawks in the 2011 NHL draft–in between playing two consecutive seasons (2010-11 and 2011-12) at Boston University.

Adam Clendening, www.theahl.com

Adam Clendening, www.theahl.com

Following BU, Clendening went to the AHL and played for the Icehogs. In his first season, he was named a second-team AHL All-Star and Rockford’s Rookie of the Year, along with finishing third among all AHL defensemen scoring with 46 points. In his current season, he’s set an AHL record for goals and points by a defenseman with 12 goals and 59 points. He’s also the leading scorer in assists for the Icehogs franchise.

Flashback to 2012, when Clendening talked about his readiness with the organization:

Well, with a goal on your first shot in the big leagues (and an away game), consider us impressed.

The native New Yorker was ranked as the #2 Prospect by NBC Chicago (and Bleacher Report) this past June and is “proficient at quarterbacking the team’s power play from the blue line”. The Blackhawks have the best PK percentage for the 2014-15 season with 90.3%, and adding “Clenny” to the lineup will make that penalty kill play even stronger on the second power-play unit with co-anchor Michal Rozsival.

Though he’s taken, Clendening has the wit and charm like many of his teammates. He loves a good chicken parm and has an affinity for Lululemon clothing, and even knows how we feel about first world problems:

The Blackhawks continue their circus trip tomorrow versus the Avalanche, Friday versus the Ducks and Saturday versus the not-so-deserving 2014 Stanley Cup Champs (yep, we’re still bitter about it). If Clenny & co pull off another stellar performance, they should have no trouble finishing strong. The team returns to the United Center Dec. 3 versus the Blues.

Follow Adam Clendening on Twitter at @Clenny5.

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Well, illness ladies, the time has finally come. On Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls open the 2014-2015 season against the New York Knicks. There was a lot of talk this past summer over who the Bulls would bring on to replace Carlos Boozer (most notably Carmelo Anthony, who, like Lebron James, decided that “home is where the heart is”, despite the Bulls’ best efforts), it was time to turn to a player on the international level. And that player is sexy Spaniard Pau Gasol, our HAM of the Week.

The 34-year-old Barcelona native is most likely going to be in the starting lineup as a power forward/center, and we honestly can’t wait to see him show off his skills.

He’s no stranger to championships, either. He won two NBA Championships in 2009 and 2010 with the Los Angeles Lakers, is a four-time All-Star and a three-time All-NBA selection. He also earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors in 2002, the only non-American NBA player to win the award.

The 7-foot, 250-lbs Gasol was selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the third overall pick in the first round of the 2001 NBA draft, but was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies soon after. He played seven seasons with the team before being traded to the Lakers in 2008.

Gasol began his basketball career playing for FC Barcelona Basquet, playing with his school team and Barcelona’s junior and senior teams during the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons. He would later pick up two Olympic silver medals with the Spanish national basketball team in 2008 and 2012.

Pau Gasol, http://www.usatoday.com

Pau Gasol, http://www.usatoday.com

Gasol also has immense dedication: he played all 164 games in his first two NBA seasons. In 2005, Gasol earned his 5,000th point and 500th block in January 2005 against the Indiana Pacers, the 10th fastest player to reach the feat since the 1973-74 season. He continued to set records in points, rebounds, assists and blocked shots in the Grizzlies franchise, and helped lead the team to three straight playoff appearances. Those stats helped him earn an appearance at the 2006 NBA All-Star game. He also helped Spain win the 2006 FIBA World Championship, where he was named MVP.

Gasol earned his third straight All-Star selection and All-NBA second team honors in the 2010-2011 season and served as co-captain with Kobe Bryant the following season. He also earned the 2011-2012 Community Assist Award for his charitable efforts in children’s education and health, proving that he is a “champion on the court and in the community”.

Pau Gasol, http://www.bleacherreport.com

Pau Gasol, http://www.bleacherreport.com

Following the 2010 NBA Championship win, Sporting News named Gasol one of the 20 Smartest Athletes. Fun fact: he left the University of Barcelona medical school to pursue his basketball career. And he speaks three languages–Catalan, Spanish and English.

He’s very active on social media, and often tweets in both English and Spanish. And while he’s taken (for now!) we can’t help but stare at his amazing features, from his gorgeous brown locks to his soft brown eyes. Plus, he is superior at selfies:

Looks like things certainly run in the family, as Gasol‘s younger (and equally gorgeous) brother Marc is a current forward for the Grizzlies (but was actually selected by the Lakers in the 2007 NBA Draft).

 

Gasol is a fresh change to the lineup, and he’s obviously a great fit with the team. And bonus: the Bulls get an extra-spooky showdown with Lebron and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.

We can’t wait to see Number 16 “Run With The Bulls” on Wednesday, but if you can’t wait until then, follow Gasol on Twitter and Instagram at @paugasol.

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Happy #Hoctober, sickness Divas!

It’s hard to believe four months have passed since that fateful June evening when the Chicago Blackhawks were in a sudden-death Game 7 OT match against the eventual Stanley Cup winners the Los Angeles Kings.

After what seemed like forever, pharmacy the 2014-15 hockey season is finally upon us, and we can’t wait to see the Blackhawks in action.

After winning their season opener in (what else?) a shootout, the Chicago Blackhawks are off to a 2-0 start. We know there’s a lot of pressure for the team to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals (as was last season), and there’s no better way to start off the new season than with fearless leader Jonathan Toews, our HAM of the Week.

Jonathan Toews, http://espn.go.com

Jonathan Toews, http://espn.go.com

Known to Blackhawks fans as “Captain Serious” for his sharp focus on the ice and leadership skills (and that it’s truly rare to catch him in a smile), the single 26-year-old forward is hands-down the best-looking member of the team (we’ll forgive his inability to grow a playoff beard just so we can jump at the sight of those puppy brown eyes). We were thrilled when he signed an eight-year extension, because honestly, we can’t imagine the team without him.

The 6’2″, 207-pound Toews (pronounced “TAY-VES“), may be one of the more quiet members of the team (and he is not active on social media), but his dedication has led to two Stanley Cups (in 2010 and 2013, the former in which he won the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP) and four playoff appearances in his six years as captain.

Jonathan Toews, htto://blackhawks.nhl.com

Jonathan Toews, htto://blackhawks.nhl.com

The Winnipeg, Canada native was drafted in the 2006 NHL draft at age 19 (hence his jersey number) and joined the team for the 2007-08 season. But while sometimes a young age can correlate with a lack of experience (and players are often sent to the AHL affiliates), Toews proved he was a remarkable exception: he scored his first goal on his first shot in his first game back in October 2007.

The following season, he became the third-youngest captain in the league.

Toews began his career playing AAA hockey for a boarding school in Minnesota during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons. The following year he played two seasons alongside former HAM of the Week (and 2014 Winter Olympics Team USA powerhouse) T.J. Oshie at the University of North Dakota.

When he’s not shooting pucks for the Blackhawks, Toews competes for Team Canada alongside the equally-gorgeous Sidney Crosby (seriously, the two could be brothers). Toews won gold medals in the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics.

Jonathan Toews, http://www.chicagotribune.com

Jonathan Toews, http://www.chicagotribune.com

Toews may be “serious” on the ice with an undeniable work ethic, but he’s also got “serious” style off. Wearing a classic, crisp grey suit on the red carpet at Saturday’s home opener, he looked the part of the quintessential gentleman. He’d be the kind of guy to take you to a romantic dinner rather than meet for a drink in the bars of Wrigleyville. He could easily pass as the boy next door, and is the perfect example that nice guys finish first. Can you tell we can’t stop gushing about this stud?!?!

Oh yeah, he’s also fluent in French, and there’s a lake in Manitoba and a community center where he skated as a kid named after him.

We know you don’t need proof to see how beautiful he is, but just in case you need a reminder, here’s our captain doing the Ice Bucket Challenge:

We don’t care how you do it–you must make it to the United Center to see the beauty and glory that is Mr. Jonathan Toews this season. And we’ll leave you with this image of Tazer making puppy eyes with a cute puppy for teammate Bryan Bickell‘s Chicago Loves Pits charity calendar. Cue all of the feelings, stat.


via rebloggy.com

We’ll see you there! 

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NFL: Preseason-Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns
Pat O’Donnell

After yesterday’s gut-checking Bears loss to the enemy up North, discount it’s pretty clear that this team definitely still has their work cut out for them this season. But despite getting run over by the Packers (what’s new?), illness there are plenty of players to be excited about – and keep on your radar for multiple reasons – especially a few of the members of special teams. These guys don’t get the attention of their play-making teammates, ask but still deserve your attention none-the-less. Continuing our trend of new eye candy is Pat O’Donnell, our HAM of the Week.

We first profiled O’Donnell with the rest of the 2014 draftees, but he deserves a post of his own. Here’s why:

He’s the go-to punter and has started in four games–and did we mention he’s also VERY easy on the eyes AND looks great in a tight white shirt?

Supporting fellow teammate @DjWilliam55 new clothing line! Order @ http://t.co/AKjkIyrRLc#BeAMonster#DymeLyfepic.twitter.com/aUEYFzMUT5

— Pat O’Donnell (@patod_16) September 26, 2014

The 23-year-old has made 14 punts and posted an average of 43.6 yards per punt since his NFL debut.

O’Donnell was selected as the 15th pick in the sixth round of this year’s draft, and the only punter to be selected, so you know he’s pretty special. A Florida native with golden skin, dark brown hair, dark brown eyes and just the right amount of scruff, this 6’4″, 220-lbs hottie’s got everything it takes to be a truly great football star.

Playing for the Bears also reunites O’Donnell with former high school teammate (and former HAM of the Week) Jon Bostic. O’Donnell lettered three times in both track and field and football, and averaged 45.1 yards on punts and made seven field goals as a senior.

Pat O'Donnell, http://www.zimbio.com

Pat O’Donnell, http://www.zimbio.com

At the collegiate level, O’Donnell punted 181 times for 7,670 yards for three seasons at Cincinnati. By his junior year, he was selected to the first-team All Big East and posted a career-long punt at 76 yards, along with a career-high 43.8 average yards per punt.

O’Donnell transferred to the University of Miami as a fifth-year senior, where he set the school’s single-season record for yards-per-punt average at 47.1 yards. He finished the season with 53 punts for 2,498 yards.

At the 2014 NFL Draft Combine, O’Donnell posted a higher bench press rate than number one draft pick (and current Houston Texan) Jadeveon Clowney. He also posted a 4.64 40-yard dash, one of the fastest times by a punter since 2006, according to the Miami Herald. A guy with super strength and super speed? Sounds like a real-life Superman to us.

Even at training camp, O’Donnell casually earned the nickname “Mega-Punt“, easily emerging as a fan favorite. And how could we not agree? He’s Mega-GORGEOUS.

In an exhibition with One on One Kicking, O’Donnell shows off his superhero skills that bear his nickname:

We’ve got high expectations for O’Donnell, so be sure to keep him on your radar this season.

Follow Pat O’Donnell on Twitter at @patod_16.

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Football is back, troche Divas!

After a lackluster Chicago baseball season (there’s always next year, right?) it’s finally time to turn our attention to football. While the Bears had a rocky first game (and that’s putting it mildly…) last night’s whopping 28-20 win against the San Francisco 49ers is one we’ll talk about for the rest of the 2014 season.

At the first half of the game, it seemed nearly impossible the Bears would win, much less catch up, especially with the 49ers at home. The Bears lost their home opener last week to the Buffalo Bills, which should have been an easy win, and it seemed almost everyone immediately knew this week’s game was going to be a rough one to shake off.

But then the defense woke up, something we’ve long been struggling with for a long time. And miracle of all miracles, we finally pulled through. It was the first win for the Bears in San Francisco SINCE 1985.

Kyle Fuller, http://www.themash.com

Kyle Fuller, http://www.themash.com

It all started with rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller–whose performance alone crowns him our HAM of the Week. Of the four turnovers from the 49ers, Fuller caught two of them, leading to the first points of the night. And the momentum only grew from there.

We first gave you Divas a glimpse of Fuller when we first profiled the 2014 draftees. With Fuller making the waves in just his second NFL game, what else is there to know about our gorgeous HAM of the Week?

Fuller made headlines for choosing Devin Hester‘s number, but now that he’s making waves in just his second NFL game, we’re thinking maybe that’s a good thing.

The 22-year-old cornerback from Baltimore, Maryland was selected as the 14th pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. He’s the first defensive back drafted by the Bears in 18 years, but we already know he’s going to go far and prove he deserves to stay as a starting player on the roster.

Fuller began his career in high school as a track and field and football star, but ultimately followed through with football, starting as a true freshman at Virginia Tech. He played in 43 games, and recorded 173 tackles, 6 interceptions and 28 breakup passes for all four years (not to mention 231/2 tackles for loss), and made All-ACC second and third team in 2011 and 2013, respectively.

He’s also the third member of his family to play in the NFL, following older brother Corey (now a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions) and brother Vincent (a former safety for the Tennessee Titans). His younger brother Kendall plays for Virginia Tech.

In addition to being an impressive athlete, Fuller is also a pretty great dresser, which goes great with his megawatt smile:

And he graduated with a degree in finance, so you know he’s a smart cookie–he just so happens to be more athletically gifted than the rest of us.

We think Kyle‘s got a strong fit with the Bears D, and we can’t wait to see him grow throughout the season.

Follow Kyle Fuller on Twitter at @kbfuller17 and Instagram at @kbfuller17.

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The weather has finally warmed up, sildenafil but we’re still having a mediocre baseball season in Chicago. One sure-fire way to fix those blues? A new HAM of the Week—and this week, we’re putting the spotlight on Chicago Cubs’ rookie Arismendy Alcantara.

Arismendy Alcantara HAM

Arismendy Alcantara, http://www.chicagotribune.com

After the Cubs designated former Golden Glove winner and second baseman Darwin Barney on assignment, Alcantara, who took over for Barney while he was on paternity leave, moved in his place.

If Alcantara’s name sounds like a mouthful (pronounced AIR-ES-MEN-DEE AL-CAHN-TRA), that’s because it is—just look at his stats:

The 5’10”, 170 pounds Dominican Republic native already crushed a homer onto Sheffield Avenue past the bleachers last week in a win versus the San Diego Padres, and has gained experience playing at second base and center field.

He’s given the team some much-needed energy in the second half of the season, with five RBIs in his first five games.

As most rookies are up in the majors for a two-game stint, Alcantara has taken advantage of his time and continues to put on a performance. Since being promoted to the majors on July 9, Alcantara has a .255 batting average, seven RBIs, four stolen bases and two home runs—and he may not be sent back to Iowa just yet. He’s been playing in almost every game, and continues to prove why he deserves to stay in the majors.

Alcantara signed with the Cubs at shortstop as an international free agent in 2008, playing in the Dominican Summer League that summer. He moved throughout the minor leagues starting in 2011 with the Peoria Chiefs in Class-A, followed by the Daytona Cubs in Class A-Advanced in 2012. He played for the Tennessee Smokies in the Class Double-A Southern League with former HAM of the Week Javier Baez in 2013, where he had a .284 batting average, 13 home runs and 46 RBIs. That year, Alcantara represented the Cubs at the All-Star Futures Game, where he had a home run, and a name to be reckoned with.

Arismendy Alcantara, http://www.baseballhotcorner.com

Arismendy Alcantara, http://www.baseballhotcorner.com

Prior to his call-up, Alcantara began the 2014 season with the Iowa Cubs in Class Triple-A. But even before the season began, his name was starting to gain buzz. According to the Chicago Tribune, while Alcantara was regarded as a “second tier” behind the “Big Four” prospects (including Baez, former HAM of the Week Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora), he had a chance to get to Wrigley before them, just to show them how it’s done.

With the second half of the season in full swing, it’s only a matter of time before we see more fantastic rookies come through for the organization.

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