Blackhawks Battle Familiar Faces From Florida

When the Florida Panthers take the ice at the United Center on Friday night, it will feel like home for more than one of the visitors.

Florida General Manager Dale Tallon, the architect of the Hawks’ Stanley Cup championship in 2010, is building a roster using not only the same model he employed in Chicago, but many of the same faces as well.

Indeed, high school homecomings don’t have as many faces returning as this Hawks game will feature.

The most recent addition to the Panthers lineup, veteran center John Madden, is just one of five former Blackhawks players making an impact for the Panthers. Four of the five were member of Cup team, and the fifth was one of Tallon’s highest draft picks.

Brian Campbell and Tomas Kopecky were both dealt to Florida in separate transactions this past summer. Kopecky was traded before entering free agency, while Campbell’s move was a cost-cutting deal that opened up financial flexibility for the Hawks to add a player before the upcoming deadline.

But Campbell, an All-Star for Florida this year, has been outstanding. He has 34 points (three goals, 31 assists), featuring 19 points on the power play. He’s also skating one of the highest ice time totals per game in the NHL.

Kopecky, meanwhile, has 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) and has struggled to a minus-11 rating so far this year. For as great as Campbell has been for the Panthers, Kopecky has certainly come back to earth.

However, another member of the Cup team that has bounced back to solid form in Florida has been Kris Versteeg. The Panthers’ leader in points (39) and goals (17), Versteeg is also plus-eight this year in 44 games.

The final former Blackhawk forward on the Panthers’ roster is Jack Skille, arguably the worst draft pick in Tallon’s tenure. To Skille’s credit, he has remained consistent with the same worthlessness he displayed in Chicago last year before being dealt to Florida, giving the Panthers only two goals and four assists in 31 games.

While fans in Chicago will certainly not miss the contributions of Madden, Kopecky and Skille relative to their replacements on the current roster, one of the players that has received the most “what if” questions this year has been Campbell. He has 61 blocked shots and has earned every bit of his All-Star invitation.

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4 Responses to Blackhawks Battle Familiar Faces From Florida

  1. Vince Luciano says:

    Will certainly not miss Madden?!?!?!?! Kopecky and Skille are one thing but I shouldn’t be the only one who misses John Madden. Madden was a leader and a penalty killer who put up 84.96% pk for the season which would put us in 8th place for in the league which is much better than 26th. With 51% face-off wins on the Wild last year dropping from 53.1(30th place in the league for the amount of FO wins that year) for the cup winning year, he was pretty solid on the dot. Yeah he may not have been big on the points sheet but he was a role player and he played his role. It may be a long shot to say that without him the hawks wouldn’t have won the cup that year but it is possible. He was one of the only players to win the cup besides Ladd I believe. That is why I like Mayers, he may not have a cup ring on his finger, but he is a role player who works hard every time he is on the ice.

  2. Will says:

    To Soup, Steeger, Kope and Mad Dog: Welcome home boys your contributions to bringing a Cup home to Chicago will not soon be forgotten. Thanks boys it was a thrill that this long time Hawk fan will not soon forget. Good Luck the rest of the season just not tonight.

  3. pete says:

    I understand the salary issue, but Campbell’s absence is hurting us this year. Campbell had a real good game 7 last year in the playoffs against Vancouver. In my view Campbell has good speed and puck handling skills and that has not been replaced yet.

  4. I agree with Pete…Campbell’s abilities from the blue line are clearly something that would help the Hawks.

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