Blackhawks Bring Back Andrew Desjardins

On Friday morning, the Blackhawks signed veteran forward Andrew Desjardins to a two-year deal with a reported cap hit of $800k per.

Chicago acquired Desjardins from the San Jose Sharks for Ben Smith during the 2014-15 season and he had an outstanding playoff run for the Hawks. His ability to kill penalties will make him a valuable asset after losing Brandon Saad this summer.

137 thoughts on “Blackhawks Bring Back Andrew Desjardins

  1. Tab you are the best. I was just reading about this and bam you had it posted already. Great Job!! and great signing!!

  2. Well this confirms that Stan is alive … I was starting to wonder.

    But actually this is good news, but not real significant relative to the other moves that need to be made, notably shedding salary and re-signing Kruger and Oduya (or acquiring another #4 d-man).

  3. I really like this deal, makes my day actually. Solid guy, great $$ for the Blackhawks, and he gets 2 years. The classic win win and in a way a domino has just fallen. They can now include one or more of their young fringe forwards in another deal.

  4. OK … so now the mind is working and I’m concerned this may indicate that Kruger isn’t going to be re-signed. There are only so many forward positions and so far the Hawks have (10) locked up for next season (19, 88, 81, 86, 65, 11, Panarin, Anisimov, Tikhonov, Dana), (3) still under contract that may or may not be here (10, 29, 23), and at least a couple prospects with hope to join the big time (Danault, Baun, Hartman).

    Is there room for Kruger in the lineup, over and above the salary cap situation?

  5. Awesome !!!

    All those guys have little to do with Kruger. They’re not Centers.

  6. re: EbonyRaptor – not sure this is a direct indication of Kruger’s future, but you make a great point about there not being a roster spot for ANY of the kids any more… Hartman, McNeill, Baun, Danault, Nordstrom, Morin, Tropp all on the outside looking in right now and we’re not even considering if Versteeg is back. Will be very interesting to see what the next shoe to drop is

  7. ER- 16 and 27 fit if the moves we expect to happen do happen. I have an armchair GM Cap spreadsheet I use to calculate specific space scenarios, and here’s the steps I have to bring back both Kruger and Oduya:
    1. Remove Morin and Tropp
    2. Trade 10, 29 and 23 (and bring back picks and no salaries).
    3. Sign Kruger for $2.75M and JO for $4M
    4. Bring up TVR, 5, and Johns as your 5-6-7 D
    5. Counting Panarin at his $812 base, you’d have almost $2.1M in cap space and your line mixes look like this (or some variation):
    * Dano-19-81 (Dano slides into Saad’s spot)
    * 72-AA-88 (could be TT’s line, but at his salary and extension, I think it’s AA’s)
    * TT-16-65
    * Baun-Denault-Desi (with an extra forward like Nordy on the Cap)
    * 2, 7, 4, 27
    * 5, TVR, Johns

    Works for me…

  8. ER- sure there is room for both 27/16…
    BUT- need 100% Cap dump- of ALL 23,10,29!!!

    That is going to be the HARD part… At this point- SB should take almost nothing for these guys and throw in a McNeill or 42- for someone to make “Handcuffs” disappear!!!

  9. Edit- Rather than Nordy, I was carrying Tikhonov at $1.04 as the extra forward in my last scenario…

  10. Very happy about this!!! Really came to enjoy watching him on the ice. He has a smooth and methodical style about him. Thought it would happen but am surprised that he stayed very probably for less than what he was being offered elsewhere. Saw an interview on NHL at beginning of SCF and Stan Bowman’s eyes just lit up when talking about Desjardins. You could see he was pleasantly surprised by his play and very pleased to have brought him to the Blackhawks.

  11. Very glad to see Desjardins back. Solid hard working professional who works on the boards and gets in front of the net to clear space for others. Happy happy happy. My wild ass guess is that Stan is working very hard to package Sharp and a prospect for a true quality defenseman. We shall see what happens. With respect to Morin and Tropp they are depth guys. Nothing more. I suspect Hartman is too. McNeal has been a very disappointing prospect in my eyes so nothing is owed this kid. We all overrate what Baum is and might be so let him go back to Rockford. I think Nordstrom and Danault are the two youngsters with the best chance to make a dent on this roster. And I’m getting a sinking feeling that Kruger is not coming back based on money, which will be a blow no matter how anyone wants to slice it.

  12. DUMDUM, Danault is a center and has been the heir apparent to Kruger for the better part of a year or more (at least in some people’s eyes).

    Re: Dano – I’ve read his best position is RW. That doesn’t mean he can’t/won’t play LW but if they’re going to put a rookie in the best position to succeed it will probably be 3rd line RW. If TT isn’t going to play center, I would rather have him “move” to LW than Dano. A TT-Toews-Hossa line would be pretty cool. Course, a Panarin-TT-Dano line could be something too.

  13. Desjardins’ agent coming out saying he took less to stay in Chicago because he liked it here. Speaks loudly for the organization and the coaching staff. I think these players appreciate a staff who understand the grind, gives days off, short but focused practices, etc.

    Look at all these guys who’ve chosen to play in Chicago when they could’ve played elsewhere … Desjardins, Baun, Kero, Panarin, Tikhonov, and several more. It’s very impressive. Of course there are others who have left or signed elsewhere (Reilly) but at the end of the day the Blackhawk organization is doing something right and they’re consistent about it.

  14. Now that they’ve signed Desjardins, Nordstrom is superfluous on this roster. A good guy to have in Rockford though if it comes down to it.

    Agree on Kyle Baun. A little seasoning in Rockford is probably a good thing.

  15. Wall- 100% correct, they’d all have to go with no salary in return.

    For what it’s worth, here’s the salaries by line per that scenario:
    1. Dano-19-81: $.925+$10.5+$5.275= $16.727
    2. 72-AA-88: $.812+$3.283+$10.5= $14.595
    3. TT-16-65: $.894+$2.75+$2.0= $5.644
    4. Tikonov-Denault-Desi: $1.04+$.863+$.800= $2.703
    * Extra forward (Baun): $.858
    TOTAL O: $40,528,750

    * 1st pair: 2-7: $5.5+$5.8 = $11.3
    * 2nd pair: 4-27: $4.1+$4= $8.1
    * 3rd pair (+1): 5-TVR-Johns: $1.05+$.925+$.800= $2.775
    TOTAL D: $22,213,462

    * CC: $6
    * SD: $.587
    TOTAL G: $6.587

    TOTAL TOTAL: $69
    Cap space: $2M

  16. RTF-you may be right about Baun-(who knows) But Coach Q was almost giddy talking about him last week and how responsive he is and he learns quickly. It was easy to see he likes what he has to offer.

  17. Allright! Good news for sure. Really like Negzz spreadsheet breakdown. Lets hope thats whats in the cards. Also 100% agree with Hof that everyone dumps on Oduya around November…sure was a lot of “get rid of him”, “he’s finished” sentiment last season. Oduya is too valuable back there and I sure hope we can sign him on. Such a silky skater.

    If I could I would like to mention that Billy “Red” Hay was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. A career Blackhawk and a key player in the 1961 Cup win. He came from Saskatoon, I believe he was the first NCAA guy to make it to the NHL, coming out of Colorado, He won the Calder with 55 points in 1960. He played on a line with Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull. I sorta knew him a wee bit…I was just a kid but in the summer months he would go Diamond Drilling in exploration for a company owned by my good friend and close neighbour. He was a guy who left at the top of his game.

  18. For what it’s worth, I am less concerned in this exercise with exactly where each player is slotted position-wise, but rather the pieces available for Q to to blend and the unmistakable fact that the stronger you are up the middle and on D the better you are come playoff time. Therefore- it follows that having lots of C options available the better. In this case, we’d have 19-AA-TT-16-Denault-Desi-65 and even Dano that could take a faceoff. Of course, re-signing 27 would mean the Champs would boast the best top-4 D pairings in the league (again.)

  19. Also- for those asking about Bickell buyout options, I believe the rule is 50-60% (exact numbers anyone?) of the remaining salary spread out over 2x (double) the actual years left on the deal. Therefore, if 29 was simply bought out: He has 2x years left at $4M each, the Hawks would be on the Cap hook for $8M x .55 / 4 yrs = $1.1 per year for 4 years (or close to that anyway.)

  20. Good to see Desjardins back in the fold. He gave some energy and toughness to the 4rth line. I would not like to see Oduya resigned. For most of the season prior to his injury he was a turnover machine. I would expect a further decline next year due to his age. I would rather see Kruger resigned then 27. Stan’s big problem is 29. Who is going to take him and his complete salary? The only way that could happen IMHO is if we through in a good prospect. Stan will find a taker for Sharp. He is still a very good player.

  21. Negzz- I like it

    but I flip TT on 1st…
    put 11/16/65
    so Dano stays on Rt wing with-Tiko/Danault/Dano

    HOF-Re: Baun- While Hogs wouldn’t hurt him
    I watched him like a Hawk-lol… just like I did TvR at 1st-
    the kid never made mistakes, always hustled, made good reads, and on time…
    I predicted TvR would stick early in camp… and Per $$$- Baun is an improvement over 29… don’t even care if he scores… is in the right place at the right time… and there is 100% effort… eventually a puck will bounce off the kid’s leg and go in- like Kruger-

  22. MMan- 27 sucked for most of the 1st half of year!!!
    But- he did play 100% better come PO’s…
    so to me that says- mental focus- isn’t there ALL of the time- I can live with that- knowing 27 really does have the skills/skating and ability to focus in crunch time…

    to add- perhaps the forwards/cheating/leaving a little early were part of the blame- during season… once again- 27 proved he can focus during crunch time-

    way less mistakes- in way more minutes!!!

  23. Textbook example of agents on opposite side of spectrum. Desjardins’ agent doing what his client wants/authorizes, and Saad’s agent doing what he wants to enrich his own pockets. Agents have fiduciary duties to clients. Saad’s agent apparently doesn’t comprehend that, while Desjardins’ agent gets it.

  24. There were a lot of “experts” who were saying Desjardins wouldn’t be back, but with the way he played in the SCF and his low salary I had a feeling Bowman would re-sign him. I am very happy with the move.

  25. Wall- Don’t think Oduya was 100% for most of the first half. After his injury and he got some time off, he came back on fire. So I’m saying more health and less focus. Or maybe he just knows the Hawks are going to make the playoffs and he doesn’t have to kill himself before that.

    As far as Kruger. If he wants $3M the Hawks can’t afford a $7M 4th line. Kruger is a great checking line center, but he is really bad at scoring. So how much are you willing to spend?

  26. Desjardins is the kind of player Chicago loves. He plays to win, plays smart, no ego, and gave up extra dough to play here. Character matters.

  27. JS- You didn’t ask me but for what my 2cents are worth: If Kruger signs for $2.75, add Shaw @$2 and Desi at $800k and that’s a $5.5M 4th line… errr, what was more like a “second” 3rd line in the PO’s last year. That’s not too much for me.

    Wall, I think you’re right, Dano should be on the right side, so TT or someone has to go up and play with Toews and Hoss.. Not a bad gig if you’re asked to move up with those 2 fellas- yes?

  28. Iceman, I doubt Saad is going to get an OS now that CBJ’s have his rights. Going to be tough negotiation for 20 as he may get no more than what Hawks were willing to pay before it’s all said and done. Agent overplayed that card and/or Jr outplayed him big time.

  29. Neggz- I rounded up and included the extra forward. To me, it depends on the term that Kruger wants. I don’t want a checking line center to make it harder for the Hawks to keep TT.

  30. Red Hay, a Center, only played together with Hull and Mikita on the power play. Hay otherwise centered the Hull line. Mikita centered a different line. After Hay came the “HEM” line, Hull-Esposito-Maki.

  31. The right wing on the Hull – Red Hay line was Murray Balfour, who passed away 50 years ago this year at age 29. My dad told me about a month ago in the playoffs that Andrew Desjardins style of play reminded him a bit of Balfour.

    Balfour scored a huge triple OT winner in the playoffs vs. Montreal during the Stanley Cup year, my dad said he beat Jacques Plante with a backhander from about 12 feet out. He was in his seats 1st row 1st balcony and it was practically right below him.

  32. You’re correct Negzz I can see the 20 signing not going over to well in Columbus. Ryan Johannson had a difficult signing and if he sees 20 come in and make more than him there will be fireworks and not in a good way.

  33. BTW, regarding the news that Hay was inducted in the HOF. Very good player, but HOF?

    I am still pissed at the Saad trade. I am pretty sure I am in the minority here as many posters have seemingly bought into Bowman’s rationale for trading him. Clearly, there were many paths to keeping him if the Hawks were more proactive on this, were willing to make sacrifices and, IMHO, if they fully understood the potential Saad has.

    I have followed the Hawks since Bobby Hull wore #16, still had his hair, played Center, and Eddie Litzenberger was the star of the team. In my opinion (excluding Toews and Kane), Saad has the potential for greatness equal to Dennis Savard and Jeremy Roenick at a similar stage in their careers. You don’t trade that for a journeyman center, a good (but not great) prospect, and two Joe Blow throw-ins. Plus, the Hawks had to relinquish Paliotta who I had high hopes for.

    This may not be Esposito-Hodge-Stanfield redux, but Hawk fans will regret this deal.

  34. Of course Hull, Mikita, Hay on the power play…and the HEM line …wow! what could have been had we kept Hull and Esposito? In any case happy days are here again except that now instead of being a kid and early teen I’m just an old fart. Man it goes fast. May we win 3 more Cups in the next six years!

  35. What are the chances of Columbus turning around and trading Saad again? That’s what scares me. If he wanted to stay you’d think they would have signed him by now.

    I just have the feeling that he’s going to end up somewhere else and really come back to haunt us. Total speculation on my part, obviously, but haven’t been able to shake this feeling since the trade happened.

  36. Re: Bickell buyout – I believe that the window for buyouts ended on June 30th – not sure why we didn’t go this route. SB must be highly confident that someone will take 29 if we add in some prospects.

    With all the promising young forwards we now have I am getting the feeling that 16 may be moved (also may be the trigger for a Bickell deal). Whether it is 27 or another solid veteran we will definitely need to addd to the current crop of d-men. I think there are some fireworks coming and I don’t mean for the 4th.

  37. @ Reggie

    Im still pissed too, but at the end of the day. If Saad really wanted to be here he wouldnt have made a big money grab after saying it wasnt about the money. I have a feeling he is not going to get the money he thought he would get

    As for Desi, solid glue guy at a good price nice move for SB.

  38. EbonyRaptor-
    I know Danault is a C, but you can’t go into a season with Toews-Anisimov-Shaw-Danault at C. Let Danault try and prove he can have his space and then move Shaw to wing. Kruger is a key piece…he’ll get re-signed, no doubt about that.

    PS: If they pair the 2 Russians together I can’t see Coach Q putting Kane with them as a proper line. I see then as a different entity: Toews-Kane-Russians-Kruger

  39. We will not regret the Saad deal. The deal had to be done because paying Saad $6 M plus could not work. And while Saad is a budding star we are now a better and more complete team in the context of having our dice in a vice because of the salary cap. We added a quality and growing 2C and a solid young wing. We also were able to sign Desjardins and have NOT been forced to unload players like Shaw, etc to make Saad fit. Stan played this exceptionally well. Nobody dismisses Saad or doesn’t understand his talent. To include Stan.

  40. Tony-
    Nope. They’ll sign him for sure.
    It takes time… before 3 days ago they’ve never talked to each other. The Hawks couldn’t get it done after months of negotiations… how can they do it in such a shot notice?

  41. Adding a couple of prospects to Sharp and Bickell and Versteeg will make them go away in deals. And I continue to thing Stan is able to convert into a nice young defenseman.

  42. Columbus is a Cup contender… if they can avoid the 100 injuries per year mark.
    They’re roster and coach are the real deal. Watch out East.

  43. The team to beat in the Eastern Conference is Tampa Bay. They are loaded with impressive young talent and have more on the way.

  44. Reggie, Red Hay was inducted to the Hall of Fame in the Builder category, not as a Player. His resume on the administrative side of the sport far surpasses his playing career and that’s why he got in.

  45. Okay. I feel better now knowing Saad has signed. Hard to believe that his $6mil per salary is going to sit well with everyone there. Pressure cooker time for young Brandon.
    So glad Desi signed back on. Love his game and he fits so well in our mix.

  46. this is a blog full of accountants and xcel spreadsheet mavens . .. me not soo much!
    Anyway on Dezi or Desjardins he played well, look to tire late in the playoffs losing a step or two. I think Hawks can plug in a lot of player in his slot, maybe someone even more physical to free up Shaw. All in all very ho-hum but as we all know it’s the third and fourth line that lets ya squeak out a cup now and then.

    Kruger is the “lynch pin” Hawks need him and they need to think about Shaw too.

    keep your pencils sharp and that excel spreadsheet updated . . .

    The NHL is just a broken sport, my favorite but it’s broken, poorly run and it’s lower than low revenues more people watching reruns of “Family Feud” than hockey most nights. Except in Canada where the “market is strong” but not robust monetarily.

    look at the numbers and contracts in the NBA. sweet baby jezzzzuz.

  47. Saad got $6M/6yrs and ROR got $7.5M/7yrs. I think I’d rather have Saad @ $6M than ROR @ $7.5M. Monopoly money – MERCY!

  48. Kruger was really great at the DOT most of the season just behind Towes in winning percentage. He matches up well vs.other top lien centers even though he is out sized. So with all this chatter ya just gotta know what your paying for and why. Kruger brings it every single night, plays harder night in and night out more than any Hawks period. He is great at the dot, he is GREAT at the penalrty kill ( dezi is okay you don’t sign dezi for average penalty kill, he is average at best) Kruger is great defensively and is a much better Penalty killer than Dezi. Dezi IMO is average at best no Froooolik and his lack of speed out to the points will be exploited, easily. Dezi is replaceable Kruger is not, Shaw has an upside that is still coming he’s next?

  49. NBA teams have half the amount of players. Their salary cap (which doesn’t appear to be released for 15/16, not a basketball fan) is somewhere between 66 and 69 million. Also have read that future TV money may bump the current cap up.

    Seeing these RFAs get crazy money and UFA’s (granted its a weak class) get more conservative contracts is odd. If Saad and O’Reilly get 6 and 7.5, gotta wonder what Tarasenko gets.

  50. Reggie, glad to see someone might be older than my 61. I can’t see Saad = Savard or Roenick careers, maybe Larmer. And NOTHING will ever beat the Esposito trade.

  51. Tarasenko isn’t an UFA.

    Blue Jackets won 42 regular season games. Tampa won 50.
    Blue Jackets led the league with 502 man games missed. Tampa had 160. (Bobrovsky 51-Bishop 62)

    Now…I guess Tampa would have an upper hand because of their gained experience, but personally I’d chose the Jackets in a playoff series.

    All I know is that their Top 6 forwards of Saad, Foligno, Johansen, Hartnell, Atkinson, Dubinsky are the best there are in the NHL. They’re also deep and have a great GK.

  52. Glad to hear Desi signed at a discount. Heard he was offered a lot more by up to four different teams. Said he and his family loved the city, teammates, coach’s, and organization. Lastly, and I loved this quote… “I knew how to play hockey when I came hear. My teammates taught me HOW TO WIN!”
    All this after the Saad fiasco. Hearing now that the Hawks offered Saad 5 mill per year.
    So Saaaad….

  53. I’m aware Tarasenko isn’t a ufa. That’s why I lumped him with Saad and O’Reilly as all 3 are RFAs. The RFAs seem to be the ones getting the truckloads this off season where the UFAs aren’t getting the bank. That may have to do with a weak ufa class. But even Justin Williams took a pay cut to sign with Washington.

  54. Saad at 6 x $6?! Wow. I get that number as a UFA in this (crazy) market, but I thought the BJ’s were going to be tougher in view of the limited chance of an OS. He is now their highest compensated player. Well, all I can say is they better enjoy Johansen for the next 2 years as they’re going to have issues when his next deal is up as a UFA (if not before.)

  55. Happy 4th of July to all.. Have a beer for the Cup win and eat all the hot dogs you want! We just finished our own “Canada Day” on the 1st. Stay safe everyone !

  56. I am ecstatic that Desi is back. His hockey IQ is off the charts. Desi is a very tough player to play against. Shaw hated his guts when Desi played for SJ. Now they are linemates and get along like brothers. Btw, did anyone notice that Shaw did not take one stupid penalty in the SCF? That’s because Desi is sitting next to him on the bench telling him to stop taking stupid penalties. Thank you, Desi. The Hawks will reward you financially when the 2 years are up.

  57. @Negezz

    He is also their best player now. If he isnt captain or alt he will be very soon.

    Was listening to TSN Toronto yesterday they were in awe of the Hawks caps management. According to them the Hawks have traded a franchise player to winnipeg, columbus and Islander, and countless solid role players. Yet continue to win because they are a well run frnachise.

  58. Glad to see Desjardins back. Great board battler. Now, waiting to get Kruger….

    The story about Saad’s signing on the Blue Jackets’ web site says that dollars are not divulged, per the organization’s rules. Why not just state it? Why the hush hush? Anybody know why they would have this policy?

  59. SSHM- “He is also their best player now.”

    Really think that’s true? Not so sure on my side. Things can really look good when you play with 19 and 81. Saw him disappear for long stretches when moved down a line or 2. Like his burst and lower body strength but saw plenty of 2-on-1 oppty’s that he did not make the “finisher” play. Bottom line, imho he’s benefiting from being on a loaded top-6 Hawks team and contributing (albeit in a significant way) to 2 Cups. From my vantage point, he still has a LOT to prove moving forward, is not worth $6M on any roster I am funding and playing with Johansen (who is talented), will tell us plenty. He better put in more than 25 G’s and pass 50 points if I’m their GM to make this a good investment. Otherwise, he’s ANOTHER member of the ex-Hawks all-star squad that sure looked good in the Indian head but… Wasn’t is Babcock who said of the Canadian Olympic team’s best player was “the guy playing with Toews.”?

  60. To Hofmeister – quick question for you…are you in the Rockford area? I ask as I seem to recall you regularly made numerous observations & references to Icehog players & news?

    I’m a lifelong Hawks fan going back to the mid-60’s and really appreciate your input and information here. It was Saturday family nights and Lloyd Pettit that ignited my everlasting passion for this game and the beloved Indian sweater. Recently moved to Dekalb and have definite plans to begin to head up to RFD to catch the Hogs next season.

    Wondering if you’d be interested in catching a game and a few beverages there at some point and talk our favorite team?

  61. Maybe Desi has some commercial $ headed his way, these things happen to those loyal to the Indianhead.

  62. ^ Zebra thanks for your note. I’m in the western suburbs, went to undergrad in DeKalb and get out there a fair amount on business. Try Rosita’s on Lincoln Highway (Rt. 38) downtown DeKalb near 8th Street) for Mexican food and a few drinks, I have been going there since the late 70’s and try to stop every time in town. Great place.

    I get to Rockford a fair amount, not sure how many times I will do that or should I say get to do that this year. But it’s only 1/2 hr. from downtown DeKalb to the BMO Center in Rockford and there are some great places near the rink for a sandwich and a beer if one is inclined to do so. Rockford gets a bad rap but if you know where you’re going there are some cool places and nice people. Carlyle Brewing Co. just two or three blocks east of the rink is a great place pre game and there are more. Let’s watch the board this season to see if we can sync up. When I’m there it’s usually with little notice but I can try to plan something.

    The Hogs have a nice deal with I think it’s called a Flex Pack where you can buy tix and basically get season ticket benefits but have the flexibility to use the tickets for whatever games you want. Convenient if you want to take 3-4 people to one game and then maybe go to another by yourself. The tix are cheap and as I said it’s an easy drive from DeKalb. You can see many of the Blackhawk brass or scouts and hobnob with them although they sit in a box but they wander around between periods and are pretty friendly. I have introduced myself and you can get some great insight if you’re polite and respectful and ask smart questions.

    Hope you enjoy DeKatlb ! I did four years there and enjoyed it …

    By the way I too date back to the mid 60;s, Lloyd Pettit etc. First game at the Stadium was 1965 vs. the Maple Leafs, I remember being impressed with how well Tim Horton played defense for Toronto.

  63. A great re-sign in Desjardins. An important role player for an excellent price. That he expressed such fondness for the city, the players, and the organization as a reason to stay at a discount says much for his character. Welcome back Desi! The lineup puzzle slowly takes shape. I worry that Kruger will be an incentive add on to move Sharp or Bickell. Saad at $6M for many years is of course why he is gone. Would love to have been the fly on the wall in the room when these numbers were floated by his agent to the Hawks. Bowman knew that was game over, and why the trade happened so fast. I wonder what Saad would have accepted to stay with the Hawks had this been a longer negotiation, but of course none of this matters now. I suppose it is a foregone conclusion that Sharp and Bickell won’t be with the Hawks next year, but I have to believe that Sharpy in particular is a guy that can really help lots of teams. At what price that will be is the big question. Is it also a known fact that 29 has 2 bad knees? I really want Kruger to stay, so let’s hope that gets done soon. Some big dough getting payed for UFA’s so far.

    Nice to see “Red” Hay’s name come up. A good player back in the day. My dad always liked Hay and Nester alot and remarked often about Eric’s well placed sharp elbows. Wasn’t Nesterenko’s nickname “swoop”?

    Happy Independence Day one and all.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  64. Reggie Fleming I don’t recall Joe Wilson. When did the great Lloyd Petitt replace him? My first memories of Hawks broadcasts were with him.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  65. Reg Fleming, I know I heard Wilson just can’t remember much about him. Lloyd Petite was awesome, can’t forget { A SHOT AND A GOAL} And Hof, thanks for the memories, I finaly got to my 1st game in march 1967, was thrilled and 6 rows off the ice 6$ tickets on goal line Hawks shoot at twice, and Bobby Hull gets a hat trick in 1st period, and I’m thinking this is not fair for the goalie, how the hell is going to stop a shot that fast, Giacamin Rangers. Anyway, I hope Dez #11 gets a great big ovation at the Hawks convention. I wouldn’t be booing Saad when he returns to play here, don’t think much of that has been happening since Chelios, and I wouldn’t have been one of those myself, I was greatful for the way he gave us his all when here.

  66. Reggie, do you know why Whispering Joe Wilson got that nickname?

    It’s because he used to do the bowling telecasts and when he’d be remarking on a bowler’s next roll he’d do it in a whisper: “And here’s Don Carter … trying to pick up the 7 – 10 split …”

    Lloyd Pettit started calling Blackhawk games in the fall of 1961 and of course his signature phrase is immortalized in the Blackhawks original theme song “Here Come The Hawks” – “There’s a shot … and a goal!”

    Whispering Joe Wilson passed away in 1983, Lloyd Pettit in 2003.

  67. More Lloyd Pettit history … Lloyd was the first choice to do the national NHL TV broadcasts on CBS in 1970 and was offered the job. Jack Brickhouse, who was also Channel 9’s sports director at the time, refused to release Lloyd from his contract. Brickhouse, who behind the scenes was known as particularly vindictive, replaced Lloyd with Jim West as the TV announcer. Jim had been calling the AHL Baltimore Skipjacks games when WGN hired him.

    The Blackhawks radio broadcasts moved to WMAQ 670 (now The Score) in 1970 and they hired Lloyd to announce the games. When Wirtz moved the TV road games to Channel 32 in 1975 he hired Lloyd back to announce but he was living in Milwaukee then and it became too much and as I recall Lloyd didn’t last out the whole season. Lloyd married a wealthy Milwaukee woman who was heir to the Bradley company fortune and they became owners of the Milwaukee Admirals. I had the pleasure of sitting across the aisle from Lloyd at a game in the early 80’s when Milwaukee was a Blackhawks farm team. Got to chat with him … nice man.

    In the dark days of the late 70’s guys like Andy MacWilliams and Ron Oakes and Bud Kelley called the Blackhawk games, they’d rotate new announcers in it seemed every year. None were memorable. Foley came in 1981.

  68. Exactly right, Hofmeister! Carter was the greatest pro bowler of that era. Wilson called those great Carter-Buzz Fazio matches.

    Brickhouse was the dominant Chicago sportscaster for a generation. Did 1) the WGN telecasts for both the Cubs and Sox; 2) the radio broadcasts of the Bears; 3) the first telecasts of the Packers/Zephyrs and perhaps the Bulls as well; and 4) the telecasts of professional wrestling. He was everywhere. I can believe the story about Pettit, though. Brickhouse was the biggest “homer” I ever saw. A propagandist for PK Wrigley and George Halas. Jack was a giant of his day, however, and I believe he is in the baseball HOF.

    One further tidbit. Last year I read George Will’s (the conservative columnist) book on the Cubs. Will is a life-long Cubs fan and often references his love for the team in his columns. Incredibly, he wrote a history of the Cubs without one mention of either Jack Brickhouse or Sammy Sosa.

  69. Tab – Your going to have to start a new blog –

    Committed (to trips down memory lane) Indians!! :)

    Happy & safe 4th to everyone!!

  70. Rosita’s in DeKalb. Best dive Mexican restaurant around. Great food.

    Chances of signing Kruger now hinge on moving salary according to Chris Kuc. Meaning negotiations are on hold. Bowman is going to have to add prospects to have any chance of moving 10, 29, 23.

  71. Wall I think Rosita’s has been in the same family since they opened in the early 70’s. A long time DeKalb favorite.

    Reggie, yes actually one of Brickhouse’s notable basketball footnotes was that he called the first ever Bulls playoff game, held March 1967 in the Chicago Coliseum on S. Wabash Ave. Quite a backstory to them needing to play that game at the Coliseum which I will tell some time. I have an unused ticket to that game.

    And yes Brickhouse was everywhere. He was almost as famous for doing the Bears with Irv Kupcinet (“Dat’s right, Jack”) as he was for doing baseball. And yes, he is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Brickhouse also used to call the old Chicago Cardinals football games from Comiskey Park in the 50’s. Pretty much everything.

    Last I heard Jim West is well into his 80’s and living outside of Baltimore. There is a great highlight on YouTube or the Blackhawks main site featuring his call of Game 5 1971 semi finals vs. the Rangers at the Stadium, Bobby Hull scored off a faceoff (Pit Martin won the draw) in overtime. West’s call: “Bobby SCORES!!! And the Blackhawks win it … Bobby Hull in overtime!!”

  72. Pettit was outstanding. And a young Foley in the early 80s was outstanding as well. The early 80s were great times at the Big Barn on the West Side. Savard, Secord, Larmer, Lysiak, Graham, Sutter, Murray and my favorite Wilson. Bannerman in goal most nights. But alas there was this dynasty team called the Edmonton Oilers with Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Coffey and Fuhr. Sigh.

    Jack Sh!thouse was indeed a vindicative pile of crap in addition to being a brutal announcer in any sport he touched. How the hell he became a Chicago institution will forever escape me.

  73. Don’t know how I got in moderation but anyway thanks HOF for the Brickhouse story, what a ass he was, Jim West, are you frigging kidding me . Bad very bad.

  74. NEGZZ. I like the way you think but I wouldn’t break up the Shaw, Desi, Kruger line. It was very effective in the playoffs and allows the Toews line to not have to turn into a checking line so often.

    For those of you who think Stan should just give Sharp, etc away for free you’ll be surprised by how much he gets in return. The great thing about Stan is he doesn’t panic and his trades are almost always good ones. He waits for the other GM to panic and then pounces. I’m sure Uncle Dale will panic at some point and give us what we want and need.

  75. I read somewhere this a.m. that after the FA/trade activity of the past couple of days (Kessel, Oshie, etc.) the only teams that appear to need what Sharp brings to the table are the Islanders and the Habs. The rumor was that somebody has offered a second round pick but Bowman is holding out for a prospect as well.

    For the record, I think Stan is one of the sharpest GMs around. But nobody bats 1000. I do think Bowman acted hastily in trading Saad. He should have forseen the market for Sharp and Bickell and acted accordingly. That means, IMO, he should have packaged Bickell with a decent prospect (Hartman, Svedberg, etc.) to get rid of his bloated contract. And I would have taken a decent draft choice for Sharp. He could have done this prior to the trade to free-up the needed cap space.

    This, of course, is based on my belief that Saad will be a 25-30 goal scorer for the next eight years, and that any prospects we give up will only be depth guys at best and can be replaced. If you don’t believe that then, no doubt, you will disagree with me. I think $6M is quite fair for a talent like Saad. Didn’t O’Reilly get $7.5M?

    This whole thing reminds me somewhat of the Jimmy Butler negotiations last year when the Bulls wouldn’t fork over the extra money for an improving young player who would be a core piece for a decade. In retrospect, this was completely foolish. But GMs are paid to look forward. What $$ separated Saad from the Hawks will look like peanuts down the road. (And, yes, I know the cap situation and expected team revenues were not the same for the Bulls.)

  76. Have the Wild done anything at all except sign some guys they already had? Guess they are content with getting swept, signing a whole 8 goal scorer ( Granlund ) for big bucks and praying for another miracle from their goalie. Ho-Hum

    Morrison…Party on like a Blackhawk and pass the grey poupon.

  77. Reg- $6M/yr. for Saad – is completely reasonable… UNLESS- you are the Hawks and you have 30% of your payroll tied to 2 players – now!!!

    SB- was prayin for a cheap Bridge- and Hoping the Cap goes up enough in 3rd year to AFFORD Saad’s keep- next contract!!!

  78. What are some trades that didn’t work out? He overpaid for Timmonen, but he really regressed from his previous seasons level.

    The dude got a 3rd round pick for Brandon freaking Bollig!

  79. Speaking of the Cap…news up here is that economists are now projecting 2 quarters of negative economic growth, signalling a recession and the looney at 0.69-0,70 over the next year ( currently .79-,80 ). Seriously disappointing shortfalls in viewership on that big Canadain TV deal with demographics on the youth side way off base create double whammy. Not that the sky is falling but its going to be a small raise without a doubt.

  80. Amazing how teams over value players that appear in the Stanley Cup Final. Saad was only 8th in scoring on the Blackhawks. TT was right behind him and played in a lot fewer games, a lot fewer prime PP opportunities and on the 3rd line instead of the 1st line!

    There were several commentators on Canadian TV that pointed that out and the fact that in their opinion he is not an elite player. There is absolutely no guarantee that his play improves dramatically from it’s current level and not being on the Blackhawks surrounded by future HOFers certainly won’t help his cause.

    Dano is a better player at age 20 than Saad was at that age. He projects to be a better player than Saad when he turns 22. He is MUCH BETTER at setting up his teammates than Saad ever will be. Look at Saad’s low assist count in the playoffs.

    I wish Saad well but I do firmly believe we got the better player in the deal. Oh yea we also got a second line center as well!

  81. Very nice signing at a very reasonable dollar. Didn’t think he’d agree to that kind of price.

    Will be interesting to see where Bowman’s heads at over the summer with respect to Bickell and Sharp. It might come down to retained salary or something for next to nothing trades.

    I don’t mind Versteeg at 2.2 but it looks like I’m in the minority. Dude was having a really nice year prior to getting hurt.

  82. Patrick- Agree with your pov on Saad and how his HOF linemates certainly helped his market value. I have been amazed to hear/read so many people refer to 20 as their “favorite Hawk” these past few days. I think he’s a talented player, but HOW talented he is will now be better determined in his soon to be “best player in Columbus” role.

    Alberta- I have no problem with 23 for $2M playing LW on the 3rd line, the issue is who does not get to play on the big team if he’s still here.

  83. Patrick-
    Interesting point of view. People value skilled, power forwards who are 22 and have helped a team win two Cups–
    I haven’t heard one negative thing from the Canadian media about Saad-20 possessed a combined skill set that nobody on the Hawks had-period.
    People can rationalize his leaving all they want-but he will be missed.

  84. Let’s not get silly about Saad not being a future star talent. Those HOF teammates definitely helped groom him into what he is, but many, many plays that resulted in points for those HOF players began on the stick of Saad.

    Re-watch the playoff games and pay close attention to how often he starts a run, keeps one alive or finished one. He’ll really be missed. Give him due credit.

  85. You can’t deny the kid scored some big goals for us. The last 2 playoff runs he had 14, that’s more than anybody not wearing 19 or 88. We got decent return but I’m disappointed . I enjoyed watching him.

    Hossa Jr? Maybe not. I just hope that in 12-15 yrs I’m not reminded of a certain trade that happened between Chi-Bos

    Hawks at age 22
    Saad 23-29-52
    Espo 23-32-55

  86. As things have unfolded this past week or so, I think the Hawks will sign 16 as some point in time.

    On the other hand, we have an interesting “love triangle plus” between Bowman, the Oduya camp, other GM’s, and 10/29/23’s limited or no trade clause contracts.

    Oduya reportedly has other offers on the table from GM’s. Hawks reportedly are telling 27 to stay patient until they can clear salary cap to pay 27. Bowman’s reported options for dumping salary (in particular 10) are getting thinner and other GM’s are not willing to agree to Hawks trade demands. The plus part is, and what do not know, is who are the 8-10 teams 10 has identified as acceptable landing spots on his LNTC/NTC.

    Who really has the leverage here?

    How long will the Oduya camp wait for a move to be made by Bowman to clear cap space?

    Will the reported offers from other teams still be there for 27 the longer he waits for the Hawks?

    If the Hawks want both 16 & 27 back, I’m not so sure Bowman can wait out other GM’s to deal 10, 29, 23. Negzz and others pointed out the roster spots for 42 and the other kids are scarce – maybe we see a few of them added to the trades to make this all happen.

  87. Dano age 20, 35gp, 8g-13a 21 points .6 ppg
    Saad age 20, 47gp, 10g-17a 27 points .58 ppg
    In his 3 years in Chicago Saad was a .58 .60 and .63 point per game player playing next to 19 and 81. It’s not unreasonable to think those 2 made Saad better. Advanced metrics agree. In Columbus he’ll most likely play next to Johansen. Who took a bridge deal at 3 million, despite putting up better numbers than Saad in his contract year. I would suspect Saad’s offensive ceiling has been reached and may “only” be a 25 goal player, good for 55-60 points at best.

  88. Ernie. I couldn’t agree more. It’s typical for fans to over value a player that they fall in “love” with. If you look at it objectively he wasn’t the difference maker people make him out to be.

    As the playoffs concluded I looked at his stats and wondered if someone would overpay for him due to his exposure during the Stanley Cup final.

    It’s been reported that the Penguins owner lambasted his front office for not drafting Saad. They tried to rectify the situation by threatening to put in an offer sheet for Saad that they knew we couldn’t match. Stan was smart enough to figure that one out after Saad’s contract demands became apparent. Instead of granting his wish to go to his hometown team at a big salary raise Stan sent him to the NHL version of purgatory. Maybe the next Saad will think twice when he tries to blackmail the Hawks.

    P.S. Noonan96. The “negative” comments came from some reporters on the TSN network. I wouldn’t call them negative but rather realistic! Being a former Canadian I still keep up with their hockey reporting which quite frankly is much better than what we get down here.

  89. Things can change, especially for a 22 year old who is just hitting his stride, but as of right now Saad does not have that inate ability to score goals. Maybe he gets better but I think 30 is probably his ceiling, which is still very good considering his other assets. It doesn’t seem like he ever be a 70+ point guy because he just doesn’t have that goal scorers “touch”. That’s why comparisons to Hossa don’t really ring true when you realize all the multiple 30 and 40 goal seasons he had. An again, it’s not a knock on Saad, but so far he doesn’t project to be a HOF player like Hossa.

  90. In my opinion, points per game is meaningless without factoring in minutes played. In basketball they have a statistic that measures production (points, rebounds, assists, etc.) per 36 minutes. Without a comparable metric for hockey points per game could be very misleading.

    Moreover, I really don’t understand why some fans, who may have previously liked a player, find it necessary to find reasons to diminish that player after he has been traded to another team. My view is that some fans cannot emotionally adjust to the idea that perhaps their beloved team made a mistake. It is a type of cognitive dissonance that has to be resolved by re-adjusting their view of a traded player’s performance retroactively. I am not saying that is what you are doing here but I have noticed this dynamic continually over the years I have followed the Chicago sports scene.

  91. Ryandale, as probably one of the few posters here who remember Esposito when he played for the Hawks I am reminded of that trade as well. Esposito had this uncanny ability to plant himself in front of the net for rebounds. I recall people denigrating Phil as lacking the “inate ability to score goals” because he didn”t have the slap shot of Hull or the stickhandling wizardry of Mikita. They called Esposito’s goals “garbage goals” not fully realizing the talent he had.

    People should read David Haugh’s column in the Trib before Saad was traded. If I recall correctly he pointed out that Saad was the Hawks’ third most valuable asset behind Toews and Kane. I agree with that. Moreover, in all the years I have been following the Hawks I can’t recall a Hawks’ player with the raw speed, power, and skill of Saad at his age. Except for one generational freak-Bobby Hull. Roenick came close to Saad as well.

    I’m not saying that Saad is as talented as Hull. I’m just saying that you do what you need to do to keep this type of potential on your team.

  92. Phil Esposito did have the inate ability to score goals – that was his main attribute and it made him a HOF player. He wasn’t a great skater but there was no one better and collecting the garbage.

    Maybe I was misunderstood and maybe I’ll be proven wrong – but I’m not knocking Saad and I wish we didn’t lose him. He is a very good player and the Hawks will miss him. But my comments were directed at the comparison to Hossa and I drew the distinction between them in the goal scoring department. Hossa was a great scorer early and throughout his career. Saad has not shown that he is anywhere close to Hossa in that department. It’s not a knock – few players compare favorably to HOF players. Saad will me missed and I hold no grudges because of the contract demands. I hope he does very well the rest of his career – I’ll be rooting for him. And, maybe he’ll prove me wrong and get into that 40 goal category, I just don’t see it right now.

  93. There is a stat held for points per 60. Marko Dano was number 6 at 2.69 pp60 according to the site I was at. Kane led the Hawks 34th overall at 2.18. Saad was 48 at 2.09. Tyler Johnson led the league at 3.00 points per 60.

  94. ^ Nicely done article, thanks for posting it.

    Usually right after prospect camp things slow down around the league big time for about six weeks. So I’m thinking either something important happens this week or we’re looking at another Leddy situation where something is done right before the season starts.

    If I’m understanding things correctly, they’re just a hair over the cap now with 20 players signed. They can be 10% over the cap this summer (just over $7.1M) until the season starts. The key is it appears they want to re-sign Oduya and it’s unlikely he’ll sit around and wait all summer. They technically have time to get Kruger inked to a new deal but that’s hanging over their heads too.

    I did not see the Saad deal coming as I’ve expressed although I should have. Right now I’m sensing another move out of left field, something unexpected.

  95. good observation Hof. I think I counted 20 NHL level forward now on the Hawk roster with the moves the past week.

    It seems lots of fans want a big move per day. Look at this past week alone : Saad trade, Anisimov signed long term, Tihkonov signed, Desi resigned, Schilling added.
    that’s a lot of moves.

    I would imagine this will be a very busy week as no doubt the Hawks can’t leave Oduya hanging for much longer. Also, you would imagine that Sharp’s agent has phoned Stan a few times and urged him not to leave such as huge contributor for the last decade twisting in the wind.

  96. Good article PK…nothing I did not know, but it sure makes me feel better about it all. Onward and upward. This new version of the Blackhawks is going to be “killa” by the end of November.

  97. Ernie. Thanks for posting. I saw that stat but couldn’t remember where I saw it.

    “There is a stat held for points per 60. Marko Dano was number 6 at 2.69 pp60 according to the site I was at. Kane led the Hawks 34th overall at 2.18. Saad was 48 at 2.09. Tyler Johnson led the league at 3.00 points per 60.”

    This goes to my point that Dano is ahead of Saad at a similar age. Also, Saad never once went 14 points in 15 games like Dano did to end last season! This is impressive at any time of the year but especially at the end of the year when he was facing competition that were attempting to make the play0ffs. He’ll also have the benefit of better players around him which should be exciting to watch.

  98. Thanks Ernie, I think I did see that stat before. Btw, Dano did that in about 448 total minutes which is less than half of the minutes played by the rest of the top ten in that category. Furthermore, Dano’s performance is only for 5 on 5 situations. In all situations he comes in at #25.

    If Dano could maintain that pace over an entire season I would agree the trade would look much better. That assumes, of course, he is not a sieve on defense.

  99. Saader seemed older than 22 and I dont mean his healthy beard. He just appeared to ‘get it’ when things like commitment and character were involved. He carried himself extremely well from what I could gather.

    I think he could work his way into an ”A” or even higher pretty easily someday. His time in Chicago benefits him tremendously in that regard as he learned from the best. He made his debut in the Byng Trophy voting as well this past year

    Of course seeing him blow by skaters on his way to the net was a main attraction. I
    cant say the trade is good or bad really. Like I said, to me he was just a fun player to watch and I will miss him.

    Dano seems very capable, but his sample is far too small
    for me at this point. AA I have always been a fan of. He is gonna score on this team, I’m expecting a career best from him.

  100. Just to close the loop on some of the history discussed in this thread, as older fans will recall 1966-67 was the year the Blackhawks finally finished in 1st place. They met the aging Maple Leafs in the playoffs and were stymied by 38 yr. old goaltender Terry Sawchuck. Phil Esposito had a less than stellar series and the Blackhawks were out in 6 games. Most everyone had them winning the Cup that year.

    Tommy Ivan, a normally exceptionally cautious GM, lost his patience with Esposito, who was one of Billy Reay’s whipping boys. Reay was always on Esposito to lose weight and Phil spent a lot of time in the sauna. Reay was more than happy to agree with Ivan to trade him.

    The key get for the Blackhawks was Gilles Marotte – they wanted a hard hitting defenseman but badly misjudged his abilities and meanwhile left the much better Ed Van Impe unprotected for the first expansion draft – he went on to become an anchor for the Philadelphia Flyers for almost a decade.

    Ivan also wanted another goaltender so he acquired the forgettable jack Norris in the trade from Boston. The only decent player they got was Pit Martin but they gave up three really good (young) ones in Esposito, Kenny Hodge, and Fred Stanfield. Oops. Colossal mistake by Ivan.

    Marotte was constantly out of position – lacked hockey sense – and was ultimately traded 2 1/2 years later to Los Angeles in part of the deal that brought defenseman Bill White to the Blackhawks. White helped significantly but those good Blackhawk teams from roughly 1970 – 1973 never did get over the hump.

    From seemingly after they traded Esposito until they drafted Roenick, they were always looking for a “big center” and never found one. Meanwhile, Boston won two Stanley Cups and the Canadians won handfuls.

    That, in part, is why this current run is so special to older fans.

  101. Great post PK. The article does indeed sum up the situation quite well. Truly looking forward to Dano in our group. And AA, too.

  102. Bowman is ignorant for signing Asimisov ASAP for ZERO reason — like guy who has choice of girls to date, picks one who has no other suitors, and says to her during first date “hey you re hot, let’ s get married!!!” Kruger’s agent had to love it — how much more is proven all around durable player like Kruger worth if new player unproven w/ hawks gets bucco long term $? Bowman increased Kruger’s salary and made Hawks’ cap situation worse by rushing to sign that guy for NO reason. Why not wait till season is over? Bad bad move after a great trade.

  103. ^ I don’t get this comment at all. The reason he was signed now is they are confident in their scouting and he would be more expensive later on as the year progresses. They want cost certainty especially with Seabrook coming up for a deal and they have it. It’s quite risky to wait to sign all your guys right when they’re ready for UFA. Not to mention it’s a confidence booster to a player and sends them a positive message. Kruger and this guy are two different style of players, their comps are different and shouldn’t affect one another.

    To say Bowman is ignorant is way off base too.

  104. We’ll see how this plays out. As far as this signing goes & Kruger unsigned and pending, Bowman made a mistake. I stated multiple times I liked the trade. I stand by my analysis. It is well-supported. I wish I were Kruger’s agent. Thank you.

  105. We all know the value of Kruger. He’s a rock on the pk. But at the end of the day he’s still a 4th line center. Maybe a 3c in a pinch. How much can you pay a player slotted there? To say Bowman screwed up by resigning a player a year before is just dumb. Anisimov is a 2/3c. Good for double the offensive production compared to Kruger. Kruger could be replaced by a guy in the system and get similar production. You can not say that about Anisimov.

  106. Calling Bowman ignorant isn’t well reasoned analysis. One could even say it’s ignorant. Thank you.

  107. Go ahead and criticize me. Yippee. My analysis is one fact specific — Bowman’s move of signing a guy w/ a yr left on his contract, w THREE concussions in the last two yrs, and Kruger still unsigned — thereby increasing Kruger’s bargaining position IF you re Bowman and you truly want him back — was, is and remains an ignorant move. I never said Bowman is generally ignorant. I liked the trade of Saad, he drafted Shaw, he got a 3rd rd pick for Bollig, I’m sure he will be able to trade Bickell then — he is competent in many instances. If you can’t see that this move may not work out, then God bless. Keep criticizing me. Regards. :)

  108. Totally off topic…watched Game 6 again from stem to stern and really loved the moment when they took the team picture at center ice. I think it was telling that Timonen sat right behind Seabrook, his arms around him, so much gratitude for the guy who helped him through a difficult transition. Q had Seabs paired with Kimmo for most of the time and it was the best choice. We have to sign Seabrook to a well deserved extension. He’s a pillar on his team.

  109. You’re right, Hofmeister, this run is special. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Bill White and Pat “Whitey” Stapleton were the Seabrook and Keith of their day.

    The loss last year to the Kings in the seventh game of the Western Conference finals was the second most painful defeat in my years following the Hawks. IMO, the most crushing loss in Blackhawks history was the seventh game of the Cup final against Montreal in 1971. The Hawks led the game 2-0 and the Habs came back to beat them 3-2 with a couple minutes left in the game. Henri “The Pocket Rocket” Richard scooted around Keith Magnuson and beat Tony. Devastation.

    If you ever watched that “Legends of the Game” series on the NHL network, when they had a show on Hull, Bobby actually grimaces when he recalls that game. He accused the coach of “playing the wrong guys.” I am sure he meant Magnuson. If so, I would agree.

  110. I don’t recall Kruger missing time for consussion, or anything for that matter. He played 47 of 48 games in 2012/13, 81 of 82 games in 2013/14 and 81 of 82 games last season. So he’s missed a total of 3 games, 1 in each of the past 3 season.

    He’s like the old Timex watch commercials – he takes a lickin and keeps on tickin.

  111. I guess it’s been longer than I thought. But in 11/12 he took a hit from Deryk Engelland. Engelland was suspended 3 games. Kruger missed one game, was back for one. Then was put on IR and missed 8

  112. Reggie, you’re right about that May 1971 game except Richard scored the 3rd goal for Montreal early in the 3rd period, only about 3 1/2 minutes in. I was there and watched him scoot around Magnuson, who was playing on a bum knee.

    The momentum of that game changed on Jacques Lemaire’s goal from well outside the blueline, near the red line in fact, in the 2nd period to make it 2-1.

    Blackhawks had two power plays back to back in the 3rd period (John Ashley was the ref) and couldn’t score. Jim Pappin had a glorious chance and started to raise his stick in celebration but Dryden stoned him. Nesterenko had a partial breakaway too. Worst loss ever. Losing in the 7th game of the finals in that fashion trumps a loss in the 7th game semi-finals for me. As for Bobby Hull’s comments, well, he hit the crossbar in the 2nd period but didn’t score in the game, so I take his comments with a big grain of salt.

    Glad that’s in the past and we finally have had the chance to see some Cup winning teams.

  113. Yes, that Lemaire goal was totally bizarre. It did change the momentum of the game. I read somewhere a few years ago that people said that Tony’s knees inexplicably buckled just as Lemaire took the shot and he couldn’t recover in time to stop it. Although I wasn’t at the game it was reported that it was really hot in the building and there was also a lot of smoke that created a significant haze. Perhaps that had something to do with Tony losing sight of the puck. I seem to recall that eventhough there may have been an ordnance banning smoking at the Stadium, fans (especially in the top deck where I usually sat) really couldn’t care less and lit up anyway.

    The other day you, or somebody else, also mentioned Eric Nesterenko. He was a real agitator with some skill. Think of a tall gangly Andrew Shaw. Well, a story came out a few years back that really stuck with me. Willie O’Ree was a Boston forward who I believe was the first African-American in the NHL. Nesterenko never lost a chance to hurl racial epithets at O’Ree. It was really brutal and apparently nobody in the NHL or the Refs cared. At some sort of old-timers dinner several years ago Nesterenko spotted O’Ree and apologized for his behavior. It was reported that they were both close to tears.

  114. Reggie, great story on Nesterenko. He also played a few games at the end of his career for the Chicago Cougars of the WHA, I saw him play at the Amphitheatre.

    Way back then there wasn’t any prohibition for smoking at the Stadium. Later in the 80’s they used to announce “no smoking in the seating area” but people did it anyway, at least in the 1st balcony they did. You were only supposed to smoke at the top of the stairs but the enforcement was lax to say the least. Our clothes used to reek of smoke when we got home but that’s the way it was back then.

    By the way, Pat Stapleton just turned 75 over the weekend.

  115. Glad Whitey is still around. Great player, great leader.

    Best Blackhawks D-Men I ever saw:

    1. Chris Chelios
    2. Duncan Keith
    3. Pierre Pilote
    4. Pat Stapleton
    5. Brent Seabrook
    6. Doug Jarrett
    7. Bill White
    8. Elmer “Moose” Vasco

    I am just working from memory here and I am sure I have missed some really good ones. I apologize in advance. If anyone has other choices please pipe-up.

    Btw, If I recall correctly the Hawks passed up Ray Bourque in the draft for Keith Brown. If the Hawks would have selected Bourque instead he probably would have been the best ever Hawk D-Man.

  116. Whoops! How could I have forgotten Bob Murray and Doug Wilson? My bad.

    Btw, I purposely left off Keith Magnuson as I thought he was way overrated. A phony tough guy. I saw him in literally dozens of fights and he usually got the worst of it. Often he had blood pouring down his face as he left the ice.

    I only saw Keith win one fight. He sucker punched some kid who was playing in his first NHL game. True story. I know my leaving Magnuson off this list will piss off some people. Sorry, but that’s how I felt. Most of my buddies felt the same way.

  117. Magnuson would go with anyone but yeah he usually took a beating. I saw him win one vs. Carol Vadnais (who just passed away) when he was playing for the California Seals. Other than that Magnuson was the loser a lot more often than the winner. One time I saw him get cuffed around twice in one game against the Flyers … Dave Schultz and Bob “Hound Dog” Kelly as I recall.

    He was a good shot blocker and he had a knack for lofting backhanders out of the zone when killing a penalty. Not a good skater and he was lucky to play 10 years, his knees were so beat up.

    The Bruins fans used to hate him because he was the Blackhawk always sticking his nose in, instigating, or defending a teammate.

    And his coaching stint was a disaster. He was an exceptional guy, though. Met him a few times and he did a lot for the community and the underprivileged.

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