Believing Bowman: Blackhawks Really Standing Still?

On Friday, the Blackhawks lost a fifth straight game and general manager Stan Bowman told the collected media that nothing was imminent on the trade front.

While fans are up in arms about Bowman’s comments, a decent memory should provide a moment of pause before blasting him.

As CSNChicago reported, Bowman appeared on “NHL Live” on Jan. 25 and spoke about a number of topics, including the trade market.

“We’re looking to improve our team through trades, but as you can see, there’s not a lot happening on that front,” said Bowman. ”A lot of talking, but I think it will speed up a little bit as we get closer to the deadline. But right now, it’s a wait-and-see approach, and trying to find answers from within.”

Sounds like a lot of nothing is coming at that point, right?

Less than 48 hours later, veteran center Brendan Morrison was cleaning out his locker in Calgary.

If you look at Bowman’s history as general manager, there are a lot of moves that surprise. How he got anything for Colin Fraser and the free agent rights to Tomas Kopecky and Troy Brouwer is remarkable, and how he has stockpiled draft picks since taking over has been impressive.

Bowman has also used that load of picks to bring talent into the organization, whether by swapping picks or by moving a pick for a player; consider that the draft picks Bowman traded to ultimately bring Steve Montador, Jimmy Hayes and Brandon Saad into the fold weren’t originally Chicago selections.

If fans of any sport, at any time, can accept general manager’s words on their face value, the general manager won’t be in the job very long. Hawks fans need only look back a couple weeks for an example of Bowman appropriately playing the poker played by GMs everywhere.

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41 Responses to Believing Bowman: Blackhawks Really Standing Still?

  1. Joe says:

    Brouwer for 1st rounder is nice value but it was a huge mistake dealing a guy on pace for 20 goals & 200 hits again. For a little more, they could’ve kept him instead of wasting 2 mil on a washed up has been in Brunette.

    Stockpiling draft picks is fine & dandy but there are no guarantees guys like Danault, Saad, McNeil turn out to be anything.

  2. David says:

    Patrick Kane and Corey Crawford for Ryan Miller and Derek Roy

  3. Tab Bamford says:

    “Patrick Kane and Corey Crawford for Ryan Miller and Derek Roy” – you’re not serious… right?

  4. Tab Bamford says:

    Difference between Brouwer & Brunette: next year. And let’s once again put moves into context: in June, when Brouwer was traded, there was a young, cheaper forward who had almost as many goals & hits as Brouwer last year on the roster that more people than just Bowman thought could/would effectively replace him. Nobody predicted that Bryan Bickell would crap the bed this year and suddenly Brouwer is the missing link up front.

  5. Tony says:

    I cant believe all the trade ( insert core player here ) talk I been hearing after a bad stretch of games. Yea it sucks losing but its going to happen.

  6. As loudly as I’ve been screaming at my TV during the swing thru western Canada, the last thing I want to see are over-reacting moves that damage this team longer term just to try and right the ship for right now. We’ve not seen any play as lethargic and perplexing over the past 3 years as has been evident over the past 5-6 games; this team hasn’t forgotten how to play but clearly looks to have lost focus and confidence. I’m not predicting a strong run to the Cup or even a deep run into the playoffs with what I’ve seen lately but let’s not jump off the ledge & fire everyone just quite yet.

  7. KC Hawk says:

    Not everyone , just fire Q and most of his staff — they are inept

  8. Tom Jaremka says:

    There are a few problems with this team and it starts at the top with Stan(my dad really runs the team)Bowman. The reason we can’t get the puck out of our own zone is because Stanley wanted to trade the best skating defenseman in the league, Brian Campbell. Duncan Keith and Nick Leddy can’t do what “Soupy” could do. This team misses him every game.

    Coach Q has forgotten three basic rules of hockey: 1. Finish your checks!!! Nobody on this team takes people off the puck in our own zone. We play like we’re in a no-check league. It makes me wanna puke!! 2. Back check into our zone and keep your sticks on the ice. 3. Nobody leaves our zone until we have puck control. NOBODY LEAVES EARLY!!

    Start benching players who do not commit to a more defensive style. I hate to say this, but Kane needs to go back to center. We need to get him off the boards because teams are now pinning him against the boards and taking him away from the middle of the ice. I can’t believe I am saying this, but put Kaner back at center.

    This team has become soft, quickly. We have no depth at the 3rd and 4th lines. Viktor Stallberg is a fast skater, but he disappears in “game” situations and he gets taken off the puck way too easily. He always gets beat in one-on-one battles.

    This team better get “grittier”, right now, because they will not make the playoffs at this rate. If they don’t make the playoffs, McDonnough better think of getting rid of Stan, his “pappy” and coach Q.

  9. shamrock says:

    Obviously something needs to change. However I dont want to see the team do anything out of desperation, thats how they ended up overpaying for Hjalmarson. Only Bowman really knows what trades a possible and there is no sense trading just for the purpose of make a trade. The trade has to make sense.

    I would rather see this team stay pat rather than trade a prosect just to land a player to appease the fans and that will be gone at the end of the season.

    With all that said I still would love to see Shea Weber here even if it meant saying goodbye to Keith or Seabrook.

  10. joey Zamboni says:

    [((“Patrick Kane and Corey Crawford for Ryan Miller and Derek Roy” – you’re not serious… right?))] I must (cringe…..) agree with Tab on this one, David you shouldn’t post while enjoying that herbal cigar……. :)

    Our problem is we do not play as a TEAM….. We have a lot of “A” type personalities on this team who try to do too much & that gets us in trouble. I really don’t see much of a defensive scheme or if there is one it breaks down quickly & turns into a chinese fire drill…… How many times have you seen a less talented team beat the team with superior talent because they played like a TEAM…..???

    Lets face it, TALENT is not the problem, it’s what were are DOING with it…… Sadly that reflects on the coaching staff….. One of the constant themes on this post is “Why do they keep playing (fill in the blank)…??? Because that’s who the COACH wants, I truly hope Q is not feuding with the GM & trying to make a point….. That will lead him to only one place – the unemployment line…….

    Hawk players – tap into the 85 Bears mindset, if they got scored on they got angry & came back and scored twice!!! (I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Tab again….. :]…) We need to get the swagger back !!!! Are you Hockey players or sheep….?????

  11. Bonehead says:

    A first round pick for Brouwer was nice. As long as we are reflecting back, in the summer of 2010 Stan kept Brouwer & Kopecky at a combined salary of about $2.1M. Both are gone today. Andrew Ladd made $2.3M in Atlanta last year. I believe Ladd’s presence on this team would address a number of the current problems. You could have signed him this past summer given the improved cap situation.

    I agree Bowman is not going to tell anyone in the media when he is about to make a move, but he acts like he is afraid to shake things up. This trade deadline might not make sense to make a big change but sooner or later it has to happen.

    I was good with the Campbell trade assuming the cap money would we invested somewhere else. If you aren’t willing to make the next move then he should have kept Soupy.

  12. Tuke says:

    Does anyone actually believe that the Jets would have allowed Ladd to be signed away from them? No chance in hell. As far as people complaining about Rattlehead, he has been one of the only consistent players during the last month or 2. How anyone can say he constantly gets beaten in the corners and has the puck taken away from him his simply ridiculous and not true at all. As far as Brouwer’s hit numbers go I don’t put much faith in a number that varies from arena to arena and the person keeping count.

  13. Brad Stevenson says:

    Bowman was always planning for next season…he made 2 very desperate gambles this summer…one, he traded Campbell (and thereby adding Olescz’s $3.4 million salary) without having a true plan to replace him, rather hoping that the advancement of 20 year Nick Leddy and the newly acquired Steve Montador would be enough…it wasn’t.

    And two, he traded Troy Brouwer for a 1st round pick (Phillip Danault) believing that Brouwers 20 goals and 200 hits would be replaced by the young and cheap Bryan Bickell…that didn’t happen either…as a result, we are weaker on the forecheck, a lot less physical, and worse trying to move the puck out of our zone…the result? We are at or near the bottom of EVERY major defensive category in the entire league.

    Now, I think Danault was a great pick, and I believe that in a few years he can help us, but Bickell has become a complete waste, Montador isn’t a #6 DMan let alone a #4, and Nick Leddy’s psyche has been affected by pairing him with overmatched Nik Hjarlmarsson on the 2nd pairing…

    Not exactly the acts of a suave and successful GM Tab…you have to call it what it is…Bowman has done some really good things (2 drafts, the trade of Versteeg to the Leafs, etc.) while performing some really head scratching moves as well.

    This team needs to work harder and commit this season and get the best result it can, and then focus on the calvary coming from within for next year.

  14. pete says:

    A lot of the goals we give up seem to come from not pressuring the puck in our defensive zone and then there is a quick pass a shot and a goal. That overtime goal by vancouver a few games ago comes to mind. I feel that the mix of players is bad. Montador, O’Donnell and Brunette are just too slow and it allows teams to break us down. I would rather have younger faster kids making mistakes than old and slow vets. At this point since #51 can’t be replaced without overpaying I say just bring up the kids who are ready and lets go for it as best we can. We can use the extra salary cap space in the off season to push other teams like San Jose did to us. I would absolutely push Nashville hard by throwing big big money at Weber. If they are forced to match their whole team breaks down or alternatively we get Weber, who is better than #51 and also far far better than Montador, Brunette, O’Donnell, Scott etc combined. Cut all the bust outs, put a huge offer sheet on Weber and bring up the kids. I have evolved to that plan and I like it. If Bowman is planning this I will take a lot of my negative comments on him back. Tab, what do you think?

  15. wall says:

    I agree Pete & Brad…
    I have begged for this all year- bring up kids to learn from the the Pro’s and learn Q’s system.

    1st guy on this site to plead for Hayes, Olsen, and Shaw…
    Like you Brad- I thought going into this year we would be better (at least on paper)-
    the “wild card” was 51′s real worth was truly undervalued– but w/ the disappearences of Bickell and Frolik + speed of Bruno and sub-par “Hollywood Kane” and Montador-
    this team is ACTUALLY worse… Before anyone disagrees with my last statement-
    please consider the schedule played so far- and compare to last year’s early schedule…

    Bowman needs to be a seller- would be nice to have two 1st round picks this year–
    I watched alot of World Juniors– Europe is very deep w/ talent- and this year’s draft should be pretty deep with some talent to be found late!

  16. pete says:

    This team is worse than the team that played in game seven of the playoffs against Vancouver last year. I have no doubt about that. Hopefully Bowman has a plan of one step back so we can take two steps forward. What do you think of the plan to put huge offer in on Weber to either force Nashville to break up the team or we get him. An advantage we have is $$$$. The hawks can afford to bob their heads against the cap each year. A lot of our competition can’t We need to push that.

  17. Tab Bamford says:

    “This team is worse than… last year.” WHAT? children… please! Suddenly we’ve forgotten how much we “loved” Fernando Pisani and Jassen Cullimore and Ryan Johnson and Tomas Kopecky… Please, PLEASE think about what we’re saying here! Is there a gaping hole where Campbell played? Sure. But saying this TEAM is worse than last year is laughable.

  18. pete says:

    Tab, those guys were not playing against Vancouver in game 7.

  19. Tab Bamford says:

    Pisani & Johnson DID play in Game 7, and Kopecky would have if he wasn’t hurt. I’ll say it again… PLEASE have a clue before shooting off a comment like “this year’s team is worse than last year” when it’s not true. And then don’t backpeddle like Deion Sanders when you’re called out on it, and end up being wrong again.

  20. pete says:

    I am not backpedaling. I think last years team in the playoffs was better than this current team. We lost Campbell and added Mayers. Our 6 defenders then were definitely better than what were throwing out there now. We have the upside with Hayes and Shaw s0 if Im wrong its there. I think there is a very good chance we are not going to make the playoffs. I hope Im wrong.

  21. wall says:

    Tab-
    you missed the boat again-
    who is better? Campbell or Monty???
    Who is better Bickell, Frolik, Kane- 2011 or Bickell, Frolik, Kane 2012???
    Yes, Brouwer and Kopecky are better than Bruno and Carbomb-

    But this schedule is just starting to get tough for Hawks!!! As is Hawks will struggle to make Playoffs (just like last year).

    Finally, the only players that are true (modest) improvements this year are Mayers and WHO???? Hayes and Shaw- you remember SHAW??? THE GUY I SUGGESTED the Hawks call up- And TAB said no way- not ready! Won’t stick!
    Remember that Shaw?????

    And you are calling me Deion Sanders!!!

    PLEASE!!!!

  22. pete says:

    I think he’s calling me Deon Sanders because I forgot Johnson and Pisani played in game 7. I don’t know how much of an upgrade Morrison is over Johnson. We will see. My basic point is the team would have been better not trading campbell and promoting the younger guys and adding Mayers. I am not trying to defend Pisani and Cullimore etc. If we make the playoffs and go to the second round I will admit I am wrong. If we don’t I’m right because last year we pushed the number 1 seed to game 7 overtime.

  23. Tab Bamford says:

    LOL… wall…

    Did I ever say Montador was better than Campbell? I’ll give you a moment to read my comment before I offer “child please” in your general direction. And let’s honestly compare apples to apples before you start proclaiming yourself God’s answer to the game, too. Was Frolik, the guy that 9 pts in 28 games down the stretch after being acquired, really that much better than what we’re getting from him now? Reality says no.

    But if you want to play the position-by-position “who’s better” game, that’s fine. Game on.

    Is Viktor Stalberg today (30 pts in 50 gms played) is better than Troy Brouwer last year (36 pts in 79 gms played)? Because that’s an apples-to-apples comparison: the top line left wing (when Sharp isn’t there). Stalberg this year is an upgrade from Brouwer last year.

    Jake Dowell skated 79 games as the fourth line center last year, giving the Hawks 6 goals and 15 assists. Jamal Mayers, this year, is skating a full two minutes per game less than Dowell did last year, and has 5 goals and 6 assists so far, as well as over 55% in faceoffs. That’s an upgrade.

    If we’re comparing apples-to-apples, then let’s be consistent. Andrew Brunette is averaging 12:49 on ice this year, which is 15 seconds per game more than Fernando Pisani gave the team last year in 60 games. Pisani was old and slow… we all agree those words also describe Brunette. As do the words “wrong fit.” But Pisani gave the Hawks 16 pts last year; Brunette already has 19. Brunette’s an upgrade from Pisani.

    Montador is averaging 15:09 per game. If, again, we’re comparing apples to apples, then he’s replacing the fifth defenseman from last year. In 41 games, Nick Boynton averaged 15:43. In 36 more, Jassen Cullimore averaged 12:38. Is Montador for a full season an upgrade from Boynton & Cullimore? Abso-frickin-lutely.

    Do I even need to ask about where we stand on Turco vs Emery?

    If you’re going to abuse your exclamation key, I’ll match it with REALITY. Blanket statements like “this year’s team sucks next to last year’s” is an absolute joke, and you should be embarrassed to believe it. Last year’s Blackhawks didn’t win their 29th game until Feb. 16, and their 30th win game on Feb. 20.

    Two young players, Bickell & Crawford, have taken dramatic steps backwards from what we saw last year as well, neither of which could have been anticipated. With regards to Kane, I maintain my position that moving him to center after a wrist injury was a poor decision and continues to impact his game.

    But if we’re talking about the summer moved Bowman made to change the lineup, REALITY, friends, is very, very simple: the Blackhawks traded away Brian Campbell and have not adequately replaced him. The other moves he has made are, almost across the board, upgrades from the players that were here last year. If you’re going to make a blanket statement, at least have some fact behind it.

  24. Brad says:

    Tab: I appreciate the ‘big picture’ perspective that you take in every column. A lot of people have varying degrees of emotional investment in this team, and your investment (while I’m sure it has an emotional component to it) comes through in the form of stats and analysis of the data. It’s probably hardest to write objectively during a losing streak, so I just want you to know that I appreciate it. Keep up the great work!

  25. wall says:

    Tab, shouldn’t really compare Stalberg to Brouwer… because Stalberg was there…
    (did not replace anyone!).- but he has been improving and is better than last year in all facets of game.

    That is why I compared Kane 2011 to Kane 2012, and Bickell 2011 to Bickell 2012-
    Frolik- I think half of his goals this year are EN’s… ( can you honestly say he is playing as well as last year?)

    While I will definately say Monty is better than past– considering contract- IT IS REALLY not much better!!!

    Lastly, yes Bruno has more Points than Pisani– But they both suck- Pisani was alot cheaper- And Bruno Is a huge liability everywhere on Ice -except behind other team’s goal… Don’t want either one!

  26. Austin Purkey says:

    Thanks Tab for factual analysis into the ‘last year vs. this year’ conundrum. We need a defenseman. Period. Plenty of opportunity to move up from our current 6th seed. We could continue to struggle if Bowman cannot find that Campbell replacement at the trade deadline. Based on the current trade market, that will be difficult to do though. However, it is the NHL. Any team who sneaks into the playoffs can do serious damage and make a serious run. Let’s not completely freak and say it is over. Two years ago, the 7 and 8 seeds met in the Eastern Conference finals (PHI and MON)… just saying.

  27. Everybody take a seat sit back and gather your thoughts. The team that is assembled now is the team we will be going to war with down the stretch except for a few tweaks obviously to the defense and center positions we hope. Bottom line is this core has been there before and knows how to shake out of this funk. Remember we have one hell of a captain that takes losing very serious (no pun intended with serious) they need to close the door and everyone needs to hold each other accountable. Kane needs to stop feeling sorry for himself and his dreadful numbers and show everyone that he cares and can play a at both ends of the rink. Give Crawford some support and the defense has to play cohesive and trust each other out there and stop looking for the pretty pass hit your opponents with solid checks set the tone from the face off. In conclusion bring the lunch pal and the hard hat to every game and grind it out because no one is going to lay down for you set the tone boys the playoffs have officially begun.

  28. haters says:

    do you think the hawks should sign carter hutton to a pro contract then bring him up?

  29. jim says:

    One of the reasons why the penalty kill is so bad is because we cannot win a draw. Number 2 is we do not pressure the point shooters. It is like a shooting gallery. We
    collapse and try to block shots, but with Crawford (crowfoot) giving up juicy rebounds
    and our defense unable to knock anybody down with their purses, it is no wonder we are near the bottom of the league on the PK. Similar on the power play. With Johnny
    T’s hand being sore even he can’t win a draw. Without winning the draw- no puck control , which is absolutely vital for a power play especially for a team that cannot
    dump a puck in and go get it. The guy who mentioned the no check league is right on.
    Byckell-fat and useless, Frolik- a lot of flashy nothing, Freddie Krueger- useless and oh did i mention “useless”, Brunette is ready for the “iron” division. Whoever is in charge of the PK should be hung. And if Kjarlmerson makes one more of those 800 foot passes up the left boards I will just puke. I should go on but I am tired of typing.

  30. Pete says:

    Tab, the whole debate started because of the analysis to the team in the playoffs last year vs. this years team so far with a basic argument that we were better off keeping #51, cutting the bad players you mentioned and bringing up the kids. I think the Brower trade was good and letting Kopecky go was fine. Maybe something very positive will be done with the cap space, but until then our defense is worse than last years playoff defense. On some of the players you mentioned, Cullimore, Boynton, Dowell never played in the playoffs. Turco never got on the ice in a game. I’m going by memory on this stuff, but I don’t think Pisani would/should have played in the playoffs but for the injury to Kopecky and Kopecky strikes me as being better than Brunette. The jury is out on Johnson vs. Morrison and Mayers is definitely an upgrade, but I think we could have signed him anyway even if we kept #51. So I am saying that our basic group of defenders in the playoffs (Keith, Seabrook, Campbell, Hjarmlson, Leddy and Campoli) are better than what were throwing out there now. And at forward the only real substantive upgrade is Mayers and we could have signed him anyway. So that’s where my comments are coming from and they are just opinions from a Blackhawks fan and season ticket holder and no I haven’t fact checked every little thing and frankly I didn’t think that was an absololute requirement to participate in this conversation. I hope Bowman uses the cap space and we get better, maybe by signing an rfa to a big offer sheet in the offseason.

  31. Tab Bamford says:

    re: Carter Hutton – no. The NHL roster is already maxed out, and I would rather they dump someone to make room for a functional player like Hayes, Morin, Smith, Pirri or Olsen than another question mark between the pipes. No doubt Hutton has been outstanding in Rockford, but not enough for the NHL club to carry three goalies.

  32. KC Hawk says:

    Tab : I agree — dump one or more of the loads : Scott, Bickel, Lepisto, Bruntte, Frolich ( who I thought would be a solid player ) and bring up Hayes & Olsen . Nothing to lose lots to gain.

    I enjoy your honest & frank comments

  33. Haters says:

    What if emery or craw were traded to Tampa for kubina? Would the hawks then sign Hutton?

  34. Tim says:

    -Haters- I think it would be more likely we would sign someone with NHL experience if we were to move a goalie. Someone like Pascal Leclair. Nothing flashy, but can come in. Hutton really doesnt have “great” numbers and its againest a lower level of talent.

    But IMO, if we move a goalie, we need to get back a piece that isnt just a rental.

  35. Steve says:

    Crawford needs to go…….now. We can’t afford a goalie who can’t move from post to post, or can’t get in proper positioning after being burned. There are plenty of holes in the team, but the biggest one is right between the pipes

  36. Barry Brown says:

    Not sure I agree with Tab on the 2010 vs 2011 teams. This team is a lot like that team for my money. One player you failed to mention is Corey Crawford, he is not having the season he had last year, and if we get to the post season that will become a significant problem for the Hawks. Also the Hawks PP was near the top of the league last year, this year not so much, so I will say special were better last year.

    Also consider at this point last year the Hawks had 60 points and finished with 97. This year they sit at 65 and have one of the more difficult schedules remaining and must contend with a strong central division.

    Player by player comparison in my opinion does not give a good indicator of which team is better. The question is not which group of individual players is better but which team is better. Neither squad was or is good enough to contend, but I see a lot of the same team issues, too many turnovers , soft play in both ends, ….

    I did think at the beginning of the season that this team would be better but players still here like Bickell have stunk and the new guys with exception of Mayers also are not providing what we expected. So I think there is a case for what Wall and Pete said, especially if you consider the team that pushed Van to the brink.

  37. Tom Jaremka says:

    This game against San Jose is awful!! I think I saw Stalberg hit someone with his purse, though. NOBODY FINISHES THEIR CHECKS……..NOBODY!! As Ozzir Guillen once said, “we stinks”!!

  38. Tom Jaremka says:

    Much better second period. We have a little more jump. We still need to finish our checks and stop giving up the odd man breaks.

  39. Tom Jaremka says:

    I’m not sure that this team will make the playoffs. Everything is “suspect” on this team………the goaltending, the forwards, the “D” and the coaching. WOW!! NOT GOOD!!

  40. Bob Schmitz says:

    I know I meant Stan Bowman, not Scotty.

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