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updated: 1/7/2014 6:16 AM

What does 2014 hold for Chicago Sports fans?

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  • Blackhawks fans should have more to celebrate in 2014, but the rest of Chicago's pro franchises likely won't come close to any championship.

      Blackhawks fans should have more to celebrate in 2014, but the rest of Chicago's pro franchises likely won't come close to any championship.
    Associated Press

 
By Mike North
The Rebel Inside

While everyone is looking back to this past year in review, I prefer to look ahead. So let's see where the great Chicago fans sit going into the new year.

The Chicago Blackhawks are the best team in hockey and the defending champions of the NHL with two Stanley Cups in the last four years. While it's tough to repeat as the Cup champs, the Hawks will accomplish that this year as long as they stay healthy -- especially at the goalie position.

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There is no doubt their core is the best in the league. Guys such as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith have solidified a great roster. Plus head coach Joel Quenneville and the organization are all top-notch, and there isn't any drama with this team. So look for the Hawks to hoist their third cup in five years.

NBA grinders

With fair warning, it's downhill from here for the Chicago faithful. The Chicago Bulls were knocked off their axis with the second key injury to Derrick Rose.

Misguided thinking and over protection of Rose have rendered the Bulls irrelevant. I would imagine GM Gar Forman sits in his office and stares out the window and asks himself what happened.

The Bulls will still make the playoffs because of guys like Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng unless there are more injuries.

Coach Tom Thibodeau expects effort and hard work, but they have no shot to win championship. It's just another grinder type of season for the Bulls this year. The players deserve better, and their meal ticket won't be around to answer the bell for the second straight year.

Nothing new on the diamond

Now time for the pain with both baseball teams.

The Chicago Cubs have Theo Epstein as their president of Baseball Operations and are still rebuilding. Expectations are low and their cornerstone stars making a lot of green are question marks. First baseman Anthony Rizzo and shortstop Starlin Castro would be fourth or fifth guys on another team, but with the Cubs they are the future. Look for the North Siders to be doormats in 2014.

On the South Side, catcher Tyler Flowers is back along with Paul Konerko, who is ownership's "just can't let go player." Are they rebuilding? Will they be relevant? The answer will be no. Is GM Rick Hahn taking his marching orders from Kenny Williams? It sure looks that way.

Third-place Bears

And last but not least, Jay Cutler will guide the Chicago Bears to third place next year unless the defense does a magical turnaround.

Head coach Marc Trestman will have a year under his belt and maybe his judgment will be better.

Oh Cutler and D-Rose make $34 million a year combined -- now that's special for Chicago fans. Happy 2014.

Program notes

Follow me on twitter at north2north, and listen to Fox Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman and myself from 5-8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Fox Sports radio, and Sunday mornings from 7-11 a.m. Check me out on iHeart radio or Foxsportsradio.com.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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