Blackhawks Come Up Short, Season Ends In Overtime

Shaw LA

The Blackhawks and Kings treated hockey fans to seven fantastic games in the Western Conference Final, and it seemed fitting that the series would take an extra period of sudden death hockey to be decided.

Unfortunately for the Hawks and their fans, it was Los Angeles that found the back of the net in overtime and emerged victorious in the best series if the 2014 postseason.

Chicago battled back from being down 3-1 in the series to force a seventh game, the the climax of the series was worth every penny once again. The Hawks stormed out to a two-goal lead in the first period, scoring twice in the first 8:36 of the game. Brandon Saad got Chicago on the board, converting a pretty pass from Patrick Kane to make the score 1-0. Exactly 3:30 later, Jonathan Toews was on the doorstep and a pass deflected by Kane found him all alone for the power play goal to make the score 2-0.

But the Kings came back and tied the game, scoring twice in the next nine minutes. A Dustin Brown shot popped up in the air and Jeff Carter tipped the puck over Corey Crawford to cut the lead in half. Only 51 second later, Justin Williams added another Game Seven goal to his incredible postseason resume to tie the game.

If momentum was the Hawks’ early, it appeared to have changed jerseys just as quickly.

But 12 seconds after Williams’ goal, Patrick Sharp put a bouncing puck past Jonathan Quick to give the Hawks the lead back. When the dust settled after 20 minutes, the Hawks held a 3-2 lead.

Tyler Toffoli, who has torched the Hawks this season and in the series, tied the game at 10:31. After that goal was scored, a parade to the penalty box started. At 12:11, Willie Mitchell went off for boarding Marcus Kruger. Drew Doughty joined him in the box 73 seconds later after cross-checking Andrew Shaw.

The Hawks weren’t able to convert during more than 40 seconds of 5-on-3 play, and Saad cut the second power play short when he slashed Jeff Carter at 14:40. The 4-on-4 and subsequent LA power play concluded without either team making a mark on the scoreboard.

Trevor Lewis went to the box at 17:15 and the Hawks made the Kings pay. Sharp scored his second of the game – and series – 70 second into the power play, and the second period ended with the Hawks once again clinging to a one-goal lead.

Marian Gaborik scored the only goal of the third period, and the game went to overtime.

Both teams had opportunities early in the extra session, but Alec Martinez got a shot past Crawford 5:47 in to end the series and send the Kings to face the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Hawks wanted to be better at the dot, and they were; Chicago won 40 of 76 faceoffs in the final game. Toews won 17 of 21 and Kruger won nine of 11 to lead the way.

The Hawks wanted to be better on penalty kill, and they were; Chicago only went to the box twice in the final game, and successfully took care of both short-handed situations.

The Hawks needed to block more shots, and they were able to be much more effective on that in Game Seven. Ben Smith led the Hawks with six blocks and Niklas Hjalmarsson had five as the Hawks blocked 23 as a team.

The Hawks needed to get more shots on net, and they did that as well. Chicago out-shot LA 41-32 in the game, including a 16-4 advantage in the second period.

But the Hawks needed to score the game’s final goal, and they weren’t able to do that.

It had been a long series, but both coaches cut their bench short early in on Sunday night. Brandon Bollig skated four shifts in the game (2:28) and Kris Versteeg had seven shifts (3:44) in the loss. Darryl Sutter limited Kyle Clifford to seven shifts (2:52) and Trevor Lewis to only ten (5:47).

Kane picked up two more assists, finishing the 2014 postseason with 20 points (8 goals, 12 assists). Toews goal gave him 17 points (9 goals, 8 assists), and Saad’s goal put him at 16 points (6 goals, 10 assists) in the 19-game playoff run. Even with a three-game suspension, Brent Seabrook finished his postseason with 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists) in 16 games.

Crawford made 27 saves in Game Seven and finished his playoffs with a 2.53 goals against average and .917 save percentage. Both of those numbers were better than Quick as the Conference Final comes to a close, but Quick will get to play on Wednesday.

Sadly, the Hawks’ next trip to the United Center will be to clean out their lockers for the summer. The front office will prepare for the draft and free agency, and the players will have to watch the Cup Final from home like the rest of us.

And, still, no team has repeated as champions since 1998.

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271 Responses to Blackhawks Come Up Short, Season Ends In Overtime

  1. smitty says:

    Tab, thanks for your part in making this a great season.

    It was a thrilling run right until the end. Not the end we wanted but a tremendous effort by every Blackhawk. I know some will look to blame a player or two for the loss but that is foolish. It seemed obvious each and every player gave it their all.

    Now the task falls to Stan and the management team. They need to re-tool this team so that we have four full lines and six D that the coaching staff can have confidence in every night. We have a great core and just need the right pieces to make sure next June ends on a brighter note. Should be an interesting off season.

  2. Mining Man says:

    Ok…everyone take a deep breath, then light up a smoke and relax..I know its not politically correct to light up a smoke anymore but tonight is an exception. So we lose and the seasons over…last thoughts ….Williams should have had an interference or slashing penalty on Leddy knocking out his stick when he was not anywhere near the puck, just before that OT goal. Absolutely bad non call. Shaw dang near had it with 5 seconds left in regulation, just needed to get it up…bet he relives that moment over and over…Sharp redeemed himself and I thought for sure destiny was going to give him the hat trick. Still think the first LA goal should have been a no-goal…if that was us it sure would not have counted and we all know it! We should have payed way more attention to Williams….those are my closing thoughts on the year. Let the post modem begin…the mad vox populi descending with pitchforks at Q and all that rubbish. I’m with Toews, just sooo disappointed. Should be some interesting tweaks and moves over the summer. Handzus will be gone so there goes one of the whipping boys. Might have to find a veteran 2C to keep Mr. Kane happy. Don’t count on 160lb TT…he’s got a long road ahead of him. Hard to put together an effective and dangerous four full lines with the salary cap. Not cheering for anyone in the Cup Final…have only one sweetheart and thats my beloved Hawks. Thanks to all you guys, its been swell.

  3. Mining Man says:

    Ok…everyone take a deep breath, and relax..So we lose and the seasons over…last thoughts ….Williams should have had an interference or slashing penalty on Leddy knocking out his stick when he was not anywhere near the puck, just before that OT goal. Absolutely bad non call. Shaw dang near had it with 5 seconds left in regulation, just needed to get it up…bet he relives that moment over and over…Sharp redeemed himself and I thought for sure destiny was going to give him the hat trick. Still think the first LA goal should have been a no-goal…if that was us it sure would not have counted and we all know it! We should have payed way more attention to Williams….those are my closing thoughts on the year. Let the post modem begin…the mad vox populi descending with pitchforks at Q and all that rubbish. I’m with Toews, just sooo disappointed. Should be some interesting tweaks and moves over the summer. Handzus will be gone so there goes one of the whipping boys. Might have to find a veteran 2C to keep Mr. Kane happy. Don’t count on 160lb TT…he’s got a long road ahead of him. Hard to put together an effective and dangerous four full lines with the salary cap. Not cheering for anyone in the Cup Final…have only one sweetheart and thats my beloved Hawks. Thanks to all you guys, its been swell.

  4. Dickie Dunn says:

    Tab – like Smitty said, “thanks for your part in making this a great season”, and providing a GREAT forum.

    “…a tremendous effort by every Blackhawk”- in this game, yes agree, “obvious each and every player gave it their all”. But, considering the entire season, and not at this time attempting to analyze the reasons, in my opinion, TOO OFTEN the best the Hawks came up with was a “slacker effort”. I won’t settle for “It was a hell-or-a-run”, or any other consolation bs – they had this game and pissed-away a lead twice. During the post season, how many times did the fall asleep (or merely quit playing) when they got a two goal lead? I don’t feel any “High and Mighty” judging them, but after listening to the “play best under pressure”, “the big stage”, “haven’t played our best game yet”, comments, I have little problem taking (a true fan’s) license.

    Smitty, I completely agree – “Now the task falls to Stan and the management team”…

  5. Great job and thanks for the blog. Let’s hope our kids can make this team a little deeper next year, it’s nice to know our core is still at a prime age, and thanks to the old vets who got one last year. Their mid season personnel moves made a difference, ours didn’t, and that’s probably the difference in this battle of incredible offensive talent. Let’s get another one, Stan.

  6. EbonyRaptor says:

    The league (and NBC) wanted an epic series and that’s just what they got. Two evenly matched teams with megawatts of superstar power. The past two Cup winners going head to head in the conference finals for the second consecutive year. Add to that the backstories of LA overcoming a 0-3 deficit in round one and winning both of the first two rounds in game 7 on the road. And then there is the Hawks trying to become the first team since the ’98 Wings to win back to back. This is compelling stuff and couldn’t have been scripted any better.

    What the league (and NBC) didn’t want was a 5-game drubbing that was anti-climactic, much like the the series last season between these teams.

    I don’t believe for one minute that the league (and NBC) favored one team over the other – either NY/LA or NY/CHI would be good for ratings. But I do believe they wanted a competitive series that would most likely go 6 or 7 games. And I do believe the league chooses the refs based on the type of game they want called – tighter vs looser. A tighter called game would favor the Hawks because LA would not be able to easily negate the Hawks speed advantage at forward over the Kings slower d-men. Conversely a looser called game would favor the Kings because interference and obstruction penalties would be pretty much be let go and that would even the playing field quite a bit.

    Last season in the Finals the officiating was called a little tighter and the Hawks were able to use their speed to beat Boston and win the Cup. I contend that was less about giving the Hawks a break and more about calling the game the way it should be called. This year the officiating was called looser and the Kings were allowed to obstruct the Hawks forwards on just about every dump-in and consequently it was a factor in the game.

    Oh well, so it goes that the best sport in the world, in the best league in the world, has the worst officiating in the world, both on ice and off.

    Sometimes ya just have to expel those sour grapes eating away at your gut. I don’t feel better now but probably will tomorrow. Until then …

  7. Ross says:

    Tab, thanks. We’ve been doing this for a long time. Never gets old my friend. You’ve never let me down. Your blog is truly the best in the business.

    Meet you at the rally next year.

  8. EbonyRaptor says:

    why does my previous post say “waiting for moderation”? Did I post something against the rules? I remember reading another poster say something about their post was waiting for moderation but I didn’t see a follow up so I didn’t know what it was about.

    Help me out here – if I broke a rule it was unintentional.

  9. Sr. Brad says:

    The Kings are a great team and they are well coached. They just keep coming and do so in a tenacious and relatively clean fashion. At the end of the day, you just tip your hat to a team that has won three 7th games, all on the road. If anyone is watching and wants to “keep up with the Jones”, LA has a team of big, fast, no name forwards that just keep dumping, chasing and hitting…the team as a whole has a tremendous will and they consistently exerted against the Hawks…again Congrats to the LA Kings organization, top to bottom.

    As for the Hawks, we should have won this game, but unbelievably lucky and great goals against us did us in…no fault to Crawford for letting in 5…where was he ever at fault? We scored early, often, had a 2 goal lead, had the lead 3 times and scored 4 goals at home. We outshot them, won the S Ts battle, and also won more F/Os…it was a great effort by this team and they have NOTHING to be down about. Again, we were unlucky not to win this game, and were inches from repeating and winning 3 cups in 5 years…

    At this point, I will say two things…one, our D needs to get a little bigger and a little better…Oduya really wore down this post season and became a turnover machine…Q deciding to pair Seabrook and Oduya didn’t work out. Seabs also turned the puck over a lot and actually struggled quite a bit tonight. Even Keith and Hammer made a number of errors late in the game. I would really like to see us move Oduya and Rozy and move in a different, younger direction on defence…and while Johns likely won’t be ready next year, Clendening and Dahlbeck should. Dahlbeck is the kind of DMan that can stand up to the tenacious forecheck of the Kings…

    Second, Handzus didn’t play much, but he had another rough outing…Bollig and Versteeg hardly saw the ice, but struggled every time they did. That’s just not good enough. Coach Q did not field our best lineup once these playoffs. He got close a few times, and we won all of those games. When you are this deep in the playoffs you simply cannot afford to wait until game 5, down 3 to 1 in the series before you dump your 40 year old, slower than molasses 2nd line centre. Yes, we fought back to a game 7…it was at home, we went to OT, but it wasn’t enough. As I said earlier, this series should never have got to this point, and there’s no one else to take blame but Q for his stubborn support of Zus and Bollig. Handzus is now done in the NHL and one has to wonder what might have been for these 2014 Blackhawks had we not re signed him again this past off season, and went in another direction for the 2nd line Centre spot? By not signing Zus and keeping Frolik, as Wall suggested, and we would likely still be playing. Oh well…

    Thanks to the Hawks, Tab and everyone here for such a great season, and the best of luck to everyone here in their own life journeys!!!

  10. Travis says:

    Thanks Tab. I have a lot of fun on this site. That was a particularly good game summary.

    That’s why it’s so tough to come back in a series… when you’re on the brink, one or two rough bounces are all that’s needed to end it. We got the breaks vs. Minnesota, and avoided the bad bounce to get to Game 7. Then, the GTG was unfortunate, and the GWG was brutal. While the breaks were relatively even in this game, they favoured LA in the series.

    It’s so fitting that the series ended on a fortunate LA bounce, with our 4th line on the ice. When two great teams are separated by so little, not dressing your best roster and getting below-average puck luck can be the difference. Not saying the OT goal was anybody’s fault. Just noting the symbolism.

    Who are we pulling for in the Finals? I’m pulling for NYR, mostly because that Cartman “GKG” chant is annoying, and the vast majority of LA doesn’t care anyway.

  11. Sr. Brad says:

    A friend just called me and reminded me of the following…you can’t get to the finals without the Toews and Kanes of the world…but you can’t win the Cup without the Frolks and Bollands of the world…I know that Andrew Shaw and Ben Smith are players cut in the same mould, we just need to find one or two more…and Brandon Bollig isn’t one of them.

  12. Dickie Dunn says:

    I don’t have 700 Wins & two Cup rings, or Stan Bowman’s Business/Hockey(business) acumen, but it’s pretty obvious that the Hawks (alleged) depth is OVER rated. The coach had confidence/faith/whatever in it to play three (mostly ONLY two) lines as much as possible. I freely admit it — they fooled me…I thought they had the better, the best team. They **may** have “replacement parts” in-house…although not likely for a *real* second line center (BIG, wins draws, plays two-way = the crap Konroyd was spewing about after the game…)?

    “The Kings are a great team and they are well coached.” — isn’t that supposed to apply to the Blackhawks? I apologize for being “bitchy”, but I can’t – I won’t – find some “Happy Ending”…NO, well, then accept this consolation prize “It was a Hell-of-a Run”/Exciting, but the Kings were just better bullshit.

  13. Dickie Dunn says:

    (AJ…? I may be appreciating your point. Kesler sounds more appealing now…but, I haven’t lost touch with reality – the Canucks can forget about Saad, Shaw, and TT…)

  14. morrison says:

    Fucking game2 bullshit
    &
    2 DAYS BETWEEN GAMES, BITCHS.

  15. morrison says:

    Bowman will get what we need. We have a top team and will for yrs. 20/65/28/86 need to stay. We can still be the first to repeat since 98 just not these 2 yrs.

    I do not think Tazer is satisfied with just 2 cups.

    Were in the hardest division, but were going to keep making our roster deeper and were going to need it.

  16. Milton says:

    I agree completely with Brad. Q did not play his best personnel. Frolik would have given Q 10 forwards that he trusted. SB should have kept Frolik as the one additional member of the core to keep. Bolland was expendable, but Frolik at 2.2m could have gotten us past the Kings. Hawks played their heart out and were just exhausted due to Q’s stubbornness regarding 4th line personnel. Regin and Morin were not given the chance that they had both earned. They are both defensively more responsible than Bollig. What a waste SB signing Bollig for 3 more years at 1.25m per year. Invest that money in Ben Smith instead. We must roll 4 lines next year. We had enough depth. Q needed to trust his young 4th line players. Versteeg is obviously not recovered from his major knee surgery. Hopefully he will be good enough by next year’s playoffs to play 12-15 minutes per game on the 4th line.

  17. Pete says:

    The Hawks are the better team and they played hard. Great Season. In my opinion Coach Q is an issue with his lineups. The Hawks need more young guys coming up to complement the core. Q is resistant to that and he likes to put a useless enforcer in the lineup for literally no reason. It never should have come down to Game 7 and then overtime.

  18. Tim G says:

    Tab- As its been said, Thanks!

    As for last nights game, i though the ref swallowed the whistle a little to much on those non-interference/Obstruction calls… and in all honesty, not 1 goal by LA was a “shooters goal”. Carter was dumb luck, Tofolli was a luck as it hit Handzus, The last goal was luck as it ricochetted of Leddy, the Gaborik goal wasnt on net (he just banked it off CC, which is a good play but still lucky), and the williams goal was lucky it came right back out to him… didnt have to move at all. However what do 4 of those 5 have in common? NOT CLEARING PEOPLE FROM THE CREASE!

    I was very let down by the defensive play last night. I have so much more i can say but i’ll leave it at that.

    It was a good run by the boys, and here is to next season! Cheers fellas!

  19. Pete says:

    It would be a lot easier for me to take this loss if I felt that the Hawks had their best 12 forwards in the lineup throughout the series. Since I don’t believe that(I have a right to my opinion) losing sticks in my craw. When the Hawks lost to Vancouver in 2011 it didn’t bother me. Tazer with the shorthanded goal was great and it just didn’t go the Hawks way. The Hawks and the Kings were closely matched, but I think the Hawks were a little better and I think the lineup decisions by Q were a factor that could have made the difference. I say “could” not “would” , because we will never really know for sure. Of course, I am sure there are things I don’t know that could have impacted the lineup decisions. Hopefully, there was something that justified putting Bollig in the lineup.

  20. Hawklover77 says:

    (Sigh) Sorry to see the Hawks season end today and like Pete said, it should never have gone to Game 7 or OT.
    The Hawks had too many missed opportunities on the PP & in the offensive zone, I was screaming at my TV for someone to just shoot! Too much poor defensive coverage in front of Crawford, nearly any NHLer can score in front of a goalie if there’s no one defending them.
    We need to dump Versteeg, Zus, & Rozy. As for the team coaches, I can’t think of anyone else coaching this team but Q, even with all the mistakes/choices that we criticize him for.

  21. noonan96 says:

    A great site-thanks to tab and all-
    This team played hard and some weird goals by both teams were scored. With how tired they were you kind of knew it would be a bounce or a mistake. Extremely hard to repeat but we saw the heart of a champion. The reality is they may win again in the next year or two or not get to the final for many years. It will take some crafty changes and re-charged players. (and I’ve said before some breaks)-that’s the reality of so many teams and a salary cap-
    Proud to be a Hawk fan.

  22. wall says:

    TimG- I think a great poster (Me)… recently stated that the difference between Hawk D and King’s D-men… Hawks are built to be quick to puck and play stick/puck… King’s play the body (like Boston- they box out, hold, hit, tackle)… It is just HOW the Hawks are built… But either way- D has to take time and space away… On Toffoli tap in… Seabs had plenty of time to get inside position… was caught drifting/watching the puck… That one hurt-imo- it wasn’t a quick transition or odd man rush… just bad awareness/position!!!

  23. Mike says:

    Kudos to the Kings. They did what they had to do to win.
    Kudos to the Hawks. They are the consummate professional hockey team.

    I am like many. The game belongs to the young and I would have liked to see more Regin, Morin and Nordstrom this postseason. However, last nights loss was not entirely Q’s fault. This was a 3 line vs 3 line game and we came up a little short.

    The summer will be an interesting one. I am hearing rumors of a cap at only $69MM. Tab and info on this?? Immediately the Hawks MUST resign Smith and figure out what to do with Morin (RFA) and Regin (UFA)…..if anything. I also think the Hawks need to address a backup goaltender. Raanta is an RFA. He currently makes $1.4MM and nobody is sure he is ready to be a front runner’s backup. Fortunately, few, if any contracts are needed on the current AHL roster. I hope to see a lot more callups next season.

    Tab, thanks for the great analysis. Please keep us posted.

  24. kid says:

    Yep, a pretty good season. The hawks were leading the entire game. SO CLOSE!!!!! The kings are a really good team. What a great game.

    Lastly…

    I think the Kings will beat the Rangers!

  25. hawks2010 says:

    This loss is on Q. In an extremely close series you MUST play your best players. Morin should have been playing all year so he would have been ready for the post season. Morin would have provided toughness in the corner and he has a good shot. Zus and Bolig should never have been on the team. What kind of coach waits until the 99th game of the season to figure out his best lines? The Versteeg signing was a gamble that did not pay off. I thought it was a good idea at the time. The Hawks defense was very poor in this series-especially Rozy, Oduya and Seabs. Crawford was mediocre. The Hawks need to get younger and faster. Dump Zus, Bolig, Versteeg, Rozy and Oduya. Bring Clendening,Dahlbeck, Mrin and TT up. The Hawks showed alot of heart in this series but they just couldn’t overcome both LA and Q’s line management stupidity.

  26. Mike57 says:

    Tab, you are #1 as far as I am concerned and you draw the best posters. gotta love the regulars that create interesting points of view that do not always get along but USUALLY keep it respectful.
    I have felt Q did a poor job of playing his best players and stuck with the vets a little too long but what a great season none the less.
    If we are to continue to be one of the best teams we will have to see some movement of the “older” players before they loss value. A guy like Sharp might bring some good picks and a top prospect. This will be an interesting summer and I hope we open up some spots for some younger players to compete for next camp.
    It’s a great time to be a Hawks fan !!

  27. Sr. Brad says:

    Yeah, the Versteeg signing didn’t turn out the way we needed it to…he started off strong, and it looked like such a great move by Bowman, and then Versteeg’s game went south…and for a veteran player who has won a Cup, it has to be a physical thing…although being pulled so many times becomes a mental thing too.

    But in the end, it was the Handzus re signing that killed this team…that’s money (along with the room for Versteeg) that could have been spent on someone at the deadline to fill an actual void if it were necessary. Handzus’ being here, along with Bollig, has also set back the development of one or two youngsters that could have been playing for us a lot more this season.

    Again, it is what it is, but the dumping of Frolik and the resigning of Zus, as Wall said, turned out to be a killer for us. Now its time for rest and healing, then the draft, then FA, and so on. I think Ben Smith is our 2nd line Centre next year (and I am excited about that) as he is such a bright, strong, tireless skater. Right now we have 3 of the best lines in the NHL…we can create a 4th…but we need to change our D up…I’ve seen enough of Oduya, and now that its over, I’ve seen enough of Seabrook for awhile. We need an infusion of younger, stronger DMen to compete for it all next season.

  28. AJ says:

    Well that was a great series. Outcome sucked but really enjoyable hockey to watch. They really need to do something about the referees and calling penalties or not calling penalties but that is my only major complaint.

    Dickie, if they can move enough salary, Leddy + Shaw + TT for Kesler and a 2nd or conditional that turns into a 1st would probably be fair. But who knows what Vancouver wants to do. Maybe Philly is an option but they would probably have to take back one of their ugh contracts. They need to shed salary and probably infuriate part of the fan base to do anything significant though.

    Either way I think they’re in the mix again next year changing little so it’ll be interesting to see what they do or don’t do around the draft.

  29. shamrock says:

    As Toews said the hawks got what they deserved. They got away from what they did in games 5 and 6. They refused to move the kings from in front of Crawford. They left kings players all alone in the slot. They squandered a 5 on 3 pp and Hossa disappeared.

  30. Tim G says:

    Wall- Youre absolutly right that the Hawks are not built that way on defense, but if you are a NHL D-Man you have to know when to just put a body on a guy to limit what he can do… maybe you dont knock him over or anything, but you dont allow uncontested tap-ins.

    The off-season will be interesting.

    On a positive note, it was nice to see Sharp open the flood gates before the end of the year… ending on a string of bad luck like that can stick with a player, so atleast he wont have to spend the next 3 month or so thinking about not putting a puck in.

  31. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    It was a great series, and I tip my cap to the Kings. They had an answer for everything the Hawks threw at them in these 7 games. We couldn’t play with a lead, and too often we got crushed in our own zone and let Crawford to hang out to dry.

    I won’t ignore what my eyes saw since January with this team. Fact is this team cheated the grim reaper of hockey season’s end longer than I thought they could in these playoffs. Nobody is talking about it, but Bickell, Hossa and Sharp (up until last night) were largely invisible in these playoffs. Also, Keith was disappointing to say the least in this last series.

    My playoff MVPs are Hjalmarsson, Kane and Crawford. All three were HUGE this post-sesaon. Crawford fell apart in the Kings series, but he was victimized by defensive breakdowns consistently (to include by our forwards). I thought Toews, Shaw, Oduya were rock solid in the three playoff series as well.

    Offseason? Well, wave goodbye to Handzus, Versteeg, Brookbank and probably Raanta for starters. The Hawks MUST acquire a quality veteran Center, and I strongly suspect Stan Bowman agrees. Also, we need to boost the athleticism on the wings. Nordstrom will be part of the answer as a special teamer.

    On defense? Well, Hjalmarrson had a suplerative season and post-season. He’s not going anywhere. Ditto of course Keith, despite the fact that he wilted in the playoffs. Oduya was solid all season long and the playoffs too. He’s only got one year left on a team friendly deal and can move the puck….it would be real hard to trade him unless there was a clear plan for upgrade otherwise. Seabrook brings a blueline presence…but he’s got to be better or at least more consistent. Leddy can skate. Won’t be surprised to see Seabrook or Leddy moved in a deal.

    Beyond that, the biggest thing to address is the inevitable decline of Hossa and Sharp. Maybe Saad can help fill that growing void, but it will take a lot more than that. Hence again why I think Bowman leverages his cap room, prospect pool and intriguing veteran pieces to land a primetime center.

  32. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    One more thing…Bryan Bickell should be under withering scrutiny this offseason. His season was awful. His playoff presence largely non-existent. Against a big physical LA team, how many times did you see Bickell work his body in front of the net?!? Not many. And how many times did you see him push the LA King player away from the crease in front of Crawford? Not many.

    Bickell has an offseason of serious reflection ahead of him. The most bitterly disappointing player of the season.

  33. Sr. Brad says:

    Hossa did disappear at the end…its a long season for someone his age…this is the benefit of 4 lines…players like Hossa stay fresher, longer…you can’t have it both ways.

    The Hawks don’t trade Leddy/Shaw for anyone…they are part of our core moving forward. And if Bowman has waited all this time for a 2nd line Centre to matriculate from our system to the Hawks, with TT in the wings, he won’t change now. Kane has said during the Olympics that he may not resign if the Hawks don’t get him a Centre. Well, Ben Smith or TT will likely be that guy, and he can always play with Toews.

    Tim, as I said all through the playoffs with Sharp, at least he was skating, trying it was only a matter of time. But remember this Tim, how much of the playoffs was Sharp saddled with Zus…his line mates at one point during this series were Zus and Brookbank…I’m not joking. During the last 1/3 of the regular season Sharp was given Zus, Kane too…their numbers died. During the playoffs, Kane scored lots when Ben Smith or Andrew Shaw were his centres….nothing with Zus and yet Kane and Sharp skated their MAJORITY of ice time with Zus. Sharp finally started scoring when he joined the Kruger/Smith line. Again, I’m not making this stuff up (in fact its too pathetic to make up).

    Handzus ended up -8 (the worst # in the post season of any player), with a Corsi # in the high 20′s, winning only 46.8% of his F/Os, and yet skated an average of over 11 minutes per game. No other player on our team skated more 2nd line Centre minutes than Michael Handzus. In our game 1 loss versus STL, he skated over 30 minutes. Zus was benched down the stretch of the regular season for his horrendous play and yet as the playoffs open, he was our 2nd line Centre and our featured PK man. Also, during the post season, Zus, Bollig and Versteeg were the 3 worst Hawks at Defensive zone coverage…they spent most of their ice time playing together…Brandon Bollig who was scratched few times during the playoffs, did NOTHING to earn his way back into the lineup…but like Zus and Rozy, when a new series started, all was forgotten and he was back in again. Bollig was a -6 and had a Corsi # of 26.5% averaging only 6 minutes per game…these #s are almost impossible to achieve with that little ice time. Now, if that’s not Q’s fault then whose is it? And the kicker? Hadzus’ career is done and Bollig still has 2 years left on a $1.25 million per year deal courtesy of the Hawks…Ben Smith, who was Mr. Everything for us, and one of the most trusted players on our roster, doesn’t have a contract.

  34. JS says:

    Two best teams in the world just beat the hell out of each other for 7 games. I kind of wish I didn’t have such a rooting interest so I could have enjoyed the hockey more.

    Thought it was kind of odd that the Hawks didn’t make a bigger stink out of Williams chopping Leddy’s stick out of his hands. Or Carter being offsides on his goal. Doesn’t really matter though, that isn’t why they lost.

    Can’t put enough blame of the season on Q. If Bollig wasn’t going to play in the playoffs, why play him 82 games in the regular season instead of trying to learn if someone else could contribute. I love the attitude he’s instilled in this team, but jesus are his roster decisions piss poor. Hopefully Stan learns from this and does a better job of forcing his hand.

    Leddy, Shaw, and TT would be such overpay for Kesler that it’s laughable. Stop drinking the bong water AJ! While I don’t think Shaw has a much higher ceiling than what he is now, he’s been significantly better than Kesler was until age 22. Over the last 3 seasons, Shaw only has 28 less points in 6 less games while playing with significantly worse teammates and significantly less minutes. Him, Leddy, and TT are also on friendly deals that will make them controllable a good while longer.

    Anyway, more later. I should work.

  35. Mike the Mook says:

    Tab thanks for a great blog. Glass 1/2 full Hawks are about as good as any team in the NHL for the next 2 or 3 years. They may not need to make any changes really. Crawford to me really really proved his “value and stamina and focus” the kid can play and as i said all year he will be better next year, he’s young and was key to the success. Glass half empty? Hawks will never dominate so Fans will endure long seven series and OT’s adventures. IF the HAWKS can get a little BIGGER on Defense they can dominate IMO.
    Our under sized D is the problem. Hammer had the worse series ever and I as i said he is alway in the top 5 in turnovers! Seabrook, Kieth and Leddy are in but I know we need a larger “dude” in the back. Hawks Defense Men get knocked off the puck too easy. On straight up D they are the leagues best BUT as every team now knows, dump it in the corner and play the body and Hawks will turn it over. Coach Q might be over rated to finally find a “line combination” that works is sad. Hossa needs to be with Sharp. Bickel with Towes for protection and skills and Kane needs to be with Saad you can fill in the blanks any way ya want. Great season but maybe a future of “anything goes”

    thanks for a great fun and competitive season

  36. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    A goal like that is why a team never wants to be in a game 7 and a game 7 OT. A harmless play finds the back of the net and the season is over. The Kings never led in this game yet still manage to advance. As a matter of fact the Kings didn’t have much of a lead the last few games but the Hawks put themselves in that position and are now dealing with the consequences of that.

    Hopefully we can put the “momentum” thing to bed in hockey. Clearly the Hawks had momentum going into the game and lost. So no such thing as series momentum!

  37. JS says:

    SSHM- you should know that the only way to change momentum is with fist fights.

  38. Ernie says:

    Great series. It’s probably sour grapes, but did any of you see how Leddy lost his stick on that play? Looked like it was slashed out of his hands just prior to the puck going behind the net. Leddy gets his stick and goes to the front just as Martinez gets the puck.

  39. Dickie Dunn says:

    (JS) “Leddy, Shaw, and TT would be such overpay for Kesler that it’s laughable.” – I’ve said this a couple of times as well. Maybe a package including Leddy, but…we’ll see.

    The best way to change momentum *within a game* (- it doesn’t travel well cross country and over 48 hours) is to NOT piss-away two goal leads. Just my opinion.

  40. Mike says:

    Yes, the lack of use of our best prospects hurt us in the end. For that reason Q could not play his strongest lineup. It would have been unfair to Morin and / or Nordstrom to throw them into the mix in the third round.

    My question for the Hawks brass is where they go from here. Tight cap space and lack of potential trades will dictate the summer. I doubt Seabrook or Sharp are going anywhere THIS summer.

    Resigning Smith is not an option and someone is gonna give him damn good paper that SB will have to match. (2-3 years @ 2.75 per????). I believe that Smith is, or can develop into the 2C we need. As for Morin, who knows????

    If the cap does not raise as much as anticipated, Q is going to HAVE to rely on youth if the Hawks really want to keep Toews, Kane, Saad, Kruger and even Clendening and Dahlback after next season. I am looking forward to it

  41. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I had to make the momentum comment because I heard so much of that nonsense over the last 48 hrs it made me go crazy. Everyone kept say the Hawks had the momentum and they were at home so they “would” win. I never jumped on that bandwagon. I did feel like the Hawks were playing extremely well the last 2 game and assumed that they would get it done since that’s their track record.

    In the end this team went much further then I anticipated. I didn’t see them advancing pass the 2nd rounds and who knows if the Avs win their game 7 maybe they would have knocked out the Hawks.

    Some of my thought on this roster moving forward. Rosival and Zus hopefully will be moving on. The biggest question is the 2nd line center. Do the Hawks have enough in the minors to fill that role or does the team need to go outside to fill that roll? The 3rd D pairing is still a question. Is Leddy the answer? Who skates with him next year? I know who I hope earns that roster space (Clendenning). What do we do with Versteeg? Are Hossa and Sharp still top 6 forwards on a Stanley Cup contender? I thought Hossa had a very quiet playoffs, Sharp had a bad playoff with the exception of last night.

    Lots of questions after coming sooo close and not getting it done

  42. McKay says:

    The only thing that really pissed me off about that game (other than the outcome and giving up a 2-goal lead) was that 5-on-3. I know Hossa is capable of making that shot but I have to believe there is a better set play than Hossa and Keith (two lefties) playing catch until Hossa inevitably rips one. They do it every time.

    The Hawks gave up two-goal leads in Games 1, 2, 5(?), and 7. I tip my cap to the Kings—they deserve to win this series. They had some goals w/ eyes, but their power forwards are also relentless in the slot and when the rebound come to them they do not miss. What more can you say about Drew Daughty—he’s as valuable to his team as anyone in the NHL. And I love Daryl Sutter and his demeanor. He’s like a squirrely grand father version of Greg Popovich. Looks like they’ve got a great locker room over there.

    I’m very proud of these Hawks and I look forward to more next year. Can’t wait to see 86 in his rookie season.

    THANK YOU TAB for all your hard work. Love your blog. And thank you to all the other commentors for participating in great Hawks debate. We’re luckily to be debating the minutes of third and fourth line players and not dealing with the major let downs in Pittsburgh and San Jose.

  43. Sr. Brad says:

    Wow…

    * Hossa was our best player for a long stretch of these playoffs…from late in the STL through the MIN series, Hoss was our best player.

    * TOEWS and Crawford are our playoff MVPs…Kane might have been if he had actually been allowed to have a decent Centre with him for more than 4 games.

    * Bickell was OUTSTANDING these playoffs for us again, but like Hoss faded over the last couple of games…there is a consequence when you don’t skate 4 lines.

    * Wave goodbye to Raanta??? WOW, you don’t get the Hawks at all.

    * Bowman is all in for a quality veteran 2nd line Centre??? Again, you don’t know Bowman at all.

    * Crawford fell apart in the King’s series??? You can’t stop what you can’t see…CC let in 5 goals last night, where were ANY of them his fault? He played GREAT. And the Hawks didn’t do much of anything wrong, the Kings are THAT GOOD.

    * Oduya was rock solid, and one of our best performers all season and playoffs??? Again, wow…Oduya will be gone in a month…he was became a turnover machine and withered against the aggressive LA forecheck.

    * We need to replace the inevitable decline of Sharp??? Sharp was our best forward last night…go back and look when Sharp’s production stopped, when he was given Zus as his Centre…look at the last 2 playoff games with Kruger and Smith, he was our best player.

    * Bickell is worth EVERY PENNY! He had a rough reg. season because of 2 knee injuries. One suffered during last year’s playoffs where he was carrying us around, and another in season. Once he was healthy, he was great. This year’s playoffs is yet another feather in Bickell’s cap. He isn’t going anywhere…how the f$ck do you think LA beat us? With tiny tot forwards who out skated us??? Guys like Bickell is what our team needs MORE of.

    Just incredible stupidity…

  44. shamrock says:

    Sharp to Philly for brayden schenn and another player or picks.

  45. Sr. Brad says:

    JS, brilliant comment on enjoying the game…last night, after the King’s came back, yet again, in the first to tie it. We all just said, okay, enough about the outcome, both teams are more than worthy…let’s just enjoy it…and we did…it was actually fun…

    The eventual game winning goal simply proves everything that I have said criticizing Q. You do NOT waste a moment of playoff hockey…you do NOT allow your teams to go down 0-2 and 1-3 while you stick with veteran players who don’t cut it…3 times (after the STL and MIN series and during the LA series) did Q re instate Bollig, and/or Zus, Rozy back into our lineups when NONE of them did a thing to warrant being put back in, and their replacements all did VERY WELL, as we WON!

    Mike, don’t worry about what to do…while some will banter about Kesler, we don’t need him. Ben Smith and Andrew Shaw just proved to the world, against the 2nd best team in the world, that both can be our 2nd line Centre. TT will be brought in and given every chance to make our team, but if he doesn’t, there are no issues. Just think back to Morin’s play down the stretch Mike, he was our best forward…the line of Regin, Morin, Bickell was our best line.

    And to JS, Mike, Wall, Phil, Pete, Peter, RD, Negzz et al, remember, addition through SUBTRACTION. By getting rid of Handzus and Rozy, and by limiting Bollig’s minutes or trading him, how much better do the Hawks become already??? Klas Dahlbeck had an incredible season in Rockford. He’s been there for 2 and 1/2 years…he’s a clone of Hammer, except that he’s even stronger with more of a physical edge…he’s ready. Clendening is already a 2 Time AHL All Star…he’s ready…plus he’s the best PP QB I have seen in a while…very simply, here are our lines for next season, which will make us better (by season’s end) than this year, and we should have won the Cup again this year.

    Bickell/Morin-Toews-Hossa
    Sharp-Smith-Kane
    Saad-Shaw-Morin/Bickell
    Nordstrom/Bollig-Kruger-Versteeg/Regin

    Keith – Hammer
    Seabrook – Leddy
    Clendening – Dahlbeck/Veteran

    Crawford – Raanta

    No big additions…no giving up top players or prospects, simply promoting from within with kids that have learned to play the game the right way…we drop Zus, Oduya, Rozy and maybe Brookbank. We are only adding Clendening and Dahlbeck (both clearly ready as they’ve done it all in the AHL) and giving Morin and Nordstrom more responsibility, which they have already shown they can handle. Nordstrom with another year’s experience and 10-12 pounds of more muscle, could be a pretty frightening player.

    And remember this, by the following season Ross, Hartman and Danault will all be ready to contribute, and they are all fast, smart, tough and gritty players…which we need and LA has. Plus Stephen Johns and perhaps Carl Dahlstrom will both be ready too. And they are both HUGE, strong DMen with surprising speed. We don’t need the TTs of the world to win another Cup…we need Toffolis and Pearsons…which we have with the Shaws and Saads and have coming with the likes of Ross.

  46. AJ says:

    Kesler is a vastly superior player today in every aspect of the game and exactly what they need up the middle. Wins draws, board battles has size and is an established goalscorer. He could also step in if Toews gets dinged up while it would be terrifying to have Shaw as #1.

    They can move Sharp and Oduya for futures and throw 7 million at Statsny. We have discussed dealing with Philly. They’re going to have to either slightly overpay or eat someone else’s junk for a year or two to get what they need.

    Leddy signed for one more year and Shaw for two. Not sure how that constitutes friendly deals for long time control. Sure they’re restricted but it seems silly to think they are going to be especially cost effective.

    LA gave up Simmonds, Schenn and a second for Richards (yikes). Doesn’t seem to have hurt them much… Carter (injury prone and attitude problem?) went for a 1st and Jack Johnson who was supposed to be this puck moving phenom but rushed to the NHL (not that we know anyone like that). Sooooo paying a lot, even if it just potential, for well established players is kind of normal and probably necessary.

  47. RyanDale says:

    no joy today, that one really stung. hard to believe the bounces/goals that we saw,f ora nd against. we just dug too big of a hole so that we had no margin for not even error but also a bad bounce. of course we are good enough to win it, but they don’t give out Cups for that.

    i didn’t really want this one for myself like in 2010, i wanted it for the players because people doubted them. but mostky i just wanted it to share with one of my kids. he had graduated earlier that afternoon and rather than go about celebrating or going out, he opted to stay home and watch the game with Pops. We rooted hard….just couldn’t find a way to help get the winner.

    No doubt in my mind that the Cup was on the line in the UC , whether it was in house or not

  48. Peter says:

    I have been a hockey and Blackhawks Fan since 1992 when I was 1o. Since 2009, the Hawks have played some amazing series…Red Wings ’09, Sharks and Flyers ’10, Canucks ’11, Red Wings and Bruins ’13. The series we just watched was the best of them all. Obviously, I wished for a different outcome; but this team was a treat to watch and that series was a dog fight. Doughty played fantastic. My playoff MVPs for the Hawks were Crawford, Kane, and Toews.

    The Hawks obviously need some changes; but not a ton. Bollig probably needs to be the 13th forward (an expensive one) or play on the 4th line throughout next season with the notion that he will be sat for more skill in the playoffs. Again, I wouldn’t mind BB back as the team’s 7th dman, if he will come back for that role. I see 1 and maybe 2 of Leddy (don’t agree with), Oduya (I think the Hawks could and should move him), and Seabrook (not sure if I would move him, but could be talked into it) being moved. Zus is gone, Versteeg’s spot will be interesting. What we do with LeBlanc will be interesting (can we even flip him for a 7th rounder?). How the young players get integrated (TT, Smith again, Ross, Danault (4th line center?) and all the Dmen) will be what to watch. I wonder what will happen with the 2nd line center position…do the Hawks actually trade for someone? I’m worried the price for Kessler could be high when he is oft injured. What about Toews, Shaw (and maybe TT) with Saad taking draws on the 2nd, Kruger as your grinder 3rd line center, and Danault/Ross on the 4th. We can all discuss this ad nauseum, but the Hawks again only need tweaks and not an overhaul. I actually think more needs to be done to the back end (where some skilled size would be nice (Johns and Dahlbeck)).

    Tab, this site is phenomenal. Keep it up.

  49. Sr. Brad says:

    The Hawks gave up a combined 27 goals in the STL and MIN series. They gave up 28 to the Kings…what does that suggest? The Kings are GOOD. Crawford let in a couple of soft goals, but before and after, he was great…and Quick was only merely good for LA.

    Bickell, Hossa and Toews didn’t “suck” against LA, they were matched against perhaps the 2nd best line in the world, and OUT PLAYED them, albeit marginally…sometimes that doesn’t show up in the box score, but the Kopitar line wasn’t what beat us, thanks to Toews, Bickell and Hoss…and if you know hockey and watched the games, those shifts between these 2 monster lines were legendary battles and just amazing to watch.

  50. Tab Bamford says:

    (first off, thanks for all the love folks. you make it great to talk Blackhawks hockey!)

    re: summer movement…

    The organization has given the impression that they want Teravainen to be their 2C next year. IF they slot Ben Smith as the 3C and leave Kruger at 4C, you actually have 4 reasonable centers on this roster. With that being said, I would prefer that Teravainen is between Hossa & Sharp/Saad than on a line w/ 88 just because of the size of the youngster. But, again, that’s not a terrible problem to have.

    The bigger issue w/ those 4 centers is that Ben Smith needs new paper. He was magnificent in these playoffs and should get locked up for 3-4 more years. He can skate on any of the 4 lines and ACCEPTS HIS ROLE whatever it is. He has championship pedigree and plays with enormous heart…. ok, enough Hawk Harrelson garbage, the kids can play and the Hawks need him. Lock up 28 (but give him a different number…)

    re: Kesler – Stop it. Please. They need every penny they can squeeze out of the cap in 2 years to afford 19 & 88… bringing in an aging, injury-prone player with the cap number Kesler carries isn’t worth 2-3 good players inside the Western Conference. I don’t see that happening.

  51. noonan96 says:

    Good sediments RD-this isn’t the time to rip or tear apart-
    it’s time to reflect and do a little grieving. it’s tough to be that close-but we don’t live it on the ice for months and come up short-
    I feel a sadness today and really life is good-next year will be here soon enough

  52. JS says:

    Kesler has lost a step. He isn’t what he used to be and probably never will be again. Jeff Carter was 27 when he was traded to LA with his contract already negotiated. Exact same thing applies to Richards.

    Kesler of 2-3 years ago would be huge for the Hawks. As of now, I don’t know how big of an upgrade he is. Sure, he’s a sexy name, but the numbers aren’t very convincing.

  53. Section 333 says:

    One more tip of the helmet to Tab. Thanks for moderating the (generally) well informed back-and-forth on the blog. It’s my first stop after each game and I continue to learn from the collective wisdom (and mandia) of the crowd.

    And, yes, stop with the Kessler talk. 88-65-20 sure looked like a credible 2nd line. Plus having TiVo provides even more flexibility to mix things up. Keep 28 and 16 as shut-down defensive centers and looks like we have the start of 4 solid lines.

    Hopefully we can build on this, bring some young, hungry guys up and fill in a few holes with wily veterans. Look forward to seeing you all in October.

  54. Billi says:

    Not Crawford’s fault? What game were u watching. All night Crawford was having trouble controlling his rebounds & it cost the Hawk 2x, at crucial points. Carter’s & Gaborik’s goal.

    Nice job Leddy, it’ll hurt all summer long.

    & its the year 2014, can’t someone make ice that doesn’t have all these crazy bounces. Ice should be like that in those Canadian cities like Edmonton. U think there aren’t going to be any bounces at MSG?

  55. hawks2010 says:

    Thanks to Tab for a great blog and to all the knowledgeable die hard Hawks fans. I do feel a sense of sadness that the season ended. Training camp is only a little over 4 months away. I can’t wait.

  56. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Kesler was a viable option during the trade deadline but not now. His presence would have been a nice addition to the current roster but he did what he always does and got himself hurt so it was a moot point. Also, I believe Kesler carries at 5 or 6 million dollar cap hit and at 33 years old that’s not smart paper.

    Edzo was on the radio today and he said the biggest concern of the Hawks is locking up Toews and Kane long term and finding money for Saad and Smith. Which I completely agree with.

    I wish the Crawford detractors would just go away. Crow is not the reason this team lost to LA. Without Crow this team doesn’t beat the Wild or the Blues.

  57. Negzz says:

    So guys- THIS is how it feels to play an outstanding opponent and actually LOSE deep in the playoffs? Yes my friends- it SUCKS. That said (for you newer Hawks fans), this is not exactly a new experience for longer in tooth fans. For example, I was in my seats at the Stadium in ’92 as Lemieux and gang carried the Cup around after completing their finals sweep. Now THAT (also) sucked! But this is a different era for Hawks fans and difference this time is I felt WE had the better team if deployed optimally… But I digress…

    * I agree that our Toews vs. Kopitar lines was essentially a wash. 2 great lines that each had their moments and shut down the other for long stretches. Great hockey from both.
    * Frankly, I was shocked to see 23 in lineup when I turned on the game. Unreal to reflect on fact that Q’s decisions along the way essentially backed him/us into corner of using Bollig/Zus/Versteeg as our 4th line for all the marbles. Of course, they didn’t play so what’s the point of debating it further. “Disappointing” is the most polite way for me to say it.

    Great year, sooo close to having oppty to repeat in Finals was amazing ride (as must have been for Kings last year.) Thanks to all here for great insight, passion and debate as well as to Tab for making it possible..

    Finally, if LA takes the Cup they’ll have 2 in 3 years and Hawks 2 in 5 years. Next year we’ll have to run even harder for 3rd in 6!

  58. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Eddie O. basically agreed with me this morning on the Kap radio show. Said the Hawks will do something to change the equation, and strongly inferred a quality veteran Center will be the priority of Bowman. Said Bowman will move a few bodies to make that happen if he can. Said also he would be surprised if Raanta is back because some team will pay him more than what the Hawks will..and should.

  59. wall says:

    One of Two things will happen:

    1.) SB makes that big splash- gets rid of #7 or 27/32 (both) … which will allow him to go after the “xtra” gun – Big C/forward… and play a couple of Young D men
    2.) SB promotes within- Shaw to 2nd C (20/65/88) did look really good…
    16 or TT will be the 3rd C, 10/16/28 looked decent!!!
    but I would actually prefer 10/TT/81 on a Third line -giving 29/19/Morin first.
    and leaving 52/16/42 or ????

    In #2 – Hawks will be right against cap… so they may need to dump Versteeg and or 32 or 27 (hopefully 32 will retire- (I don’t know how that helps Cap))… And don’t know how/who would take 23 right now!!!!

    #2 team will be slightly better by subtraction alone- but only marginally- Unless one or two of “the Young guns TT/11″ really blossom!!! If Morin has a very good year next year (assuming he even gets signed)… This year will REALLY look like a lost year- (Cuz-People will REALLY have some ammo- to fire at Q – for not playing Morin this year)
    so with that said- It really scares me that Morin – WILL NOT get signed by Hawks-Cuz it might actually make Q/SB look bad this year!!!! AND if he isn’t signed- It just makes the Hawks even thinner in the “Ready to contribute” Forwards coming up!!!!

  60. Barry Brown says:

    Thanks go out to Tab for this forum, I always enjoy reading everyone’s opinion, so keep up the great contributions Tab and all posters.

    I for one am not pissed at anyone or anything. One bounce either way determined this game. Teams with different styles showed us that there are many ways to build a hockey team and neither style is better than the other. This was one of the most exciting playoff series I have watched over the past 40 years,it was a treat to watch.

    Last night the Kings benefited from a very loosely called game, they did have 5 called against, but there is no denying they did take some liberties, notwithstanding the 2 goals from last night, you have to make them pay and the Hawks PP was a problem in this series, need to get a quarterback for this unit, I don’t think he is on this team, Kane is the closest we have.

    This team does not need much tweaking. I do feel very good about the future, some of our prospects on D will help. I would say Oduya and Rozy are odd men out, definitely keep Leddy and #17 is also a nice player to have. Then add one, maybe two gritty veterans.

    Hawks are good at center, unless someone like Jarrett Stoll is on the market.
    They currently have three solid lines and the ‘discovery’ of that great chemistry between Kane, Shaw and Saad makes me a little giddy going forward. Can’t wait for next year, this elite team will get a little rest in the off season and be very hungry for a title run again next year.

  61. AJ says:

    Kesler is 29. Pretty sure Vancouver’s offense in general was atrocious this year and he was the only one that team with +20 goals which is pretty unacceptable for that group in general. And I’m sure you watched so many Vancouver games to know whose lost a step or not. 2 more years at 5 million isn’t bad money if that gets them 1 Cup in that time and Patrick Kane 100 points and a MVP.

    Assuming TT is going to be the shit straight away is crazy. At least a year to adjust to the small ice and giant players in my opinion. He wasn’t on the big boy roster for Finland in the worlds according to the IIHF so there’s that too.

    Oduya is movable and Sharp can totally be unloaded after this year to some team in the east that thinks they’re a piece away. A bunch of fans will lose their minds but they need cash from somewhere. AND I’d also move Shaw to resign Smith but then again when do I want to do things other people find intelligent.

  62. JS says:

    Vancouver was 8th in Corsi and 13th in goals scored. That’s far from an attrotious offense. Kesler is indeed 29, but he’ll be 30 before camp opens.

    And yes, I watched a lot of Vancouver games.

    What is the purpose of unloading Sharp and replacing him with Kesler? Sharp has been damn close to a PPG the last 4 years, significantly more productive than Kesler.

  63. goldenbladz says:

    I’m a little sad that the year is over. I really wanted the Hawks to make it to the finals as the Eastern conference looks a little weaker right now. It feels like a wasted effort by many of the Hawks players who played their butts off carrying a few individuals that didn’t deserve playing time. I can’t wait til draft day to see what or if changes are made but many have pointed out we have the horses currently on the roster its just a matter of pairing them up properly and don’t give Q a choice.

    I really appreciate the comments from many posters here as there is alot of knowledge on the game of hockey and the Hawks in general. I always look forward to reading them all. rest up boys and lets get them next year. Go Hawks!!!

  64. Mike says:

    Wall, won’t surprise me if Morin is allowed to walk. I think the Hawks are willing to trade Bollig, Leddy, Oduya and Rosy. Although at $2.2MM for Rosy who should be an every other day player and I believe he has a NTC, who will give up any real assets for him. Seabrook nor Sharp will not be traded THIS summer.

    My fear is that Smith gets a stupid offer and SB will be powerless to pay. That said, Toews, Smith, TT and Kruger at center are worth a shot. Letting Shaw play wing is big and he can slide to the middle in case of injury etc.

  65. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Money frees up via letting Handzus retire, finding a dump partner for Versteeg and waving bye to Brookbank, Morin and Raanta. Also, Ben Smith “may” have priced himself out of Chicago and Oduya should be very tradeable given his production and contract should they elect to go that route.

    I most definitely expect a substantial acquistion at Center. It may go all the way to meaning Sharp or Seabrook is shipped out of town to make the math work. Stan Bowman will not be beholden to the past. Just like his father, he understands sentimentality isn’t the way to sustain and build upon a great team. The Hawks have work to do this offseason. And will be active.

    Kesler? I don’t know. That seems pie in the sky to me.

  66. RyanDale says:

    nooner, thanks. I feel the same way. I’m gonna miss not having the connection with this season ongoing and all it brought/offered. The NHL playoffs/Cup are the pinnacle of sports. Cant say enough about our players and how they battle. It bothers me people still blame CC but it’s just ignorance I guess.

    The GM stuff, wish lists I’m leaving to others, it’s obviously over my head because I would have had a 2c yrs ago, dumbass that I am! I will adopt the roster next season as always and live with every W/L. The beat goes on, but what a missed opportunity to damn near be immortal in todays NHL. We were so close.

    Tab, cheers and thanks. First rate entertainment! Heard ya last night on NHL Radio post game, dont forget us little people when you’ve reached the top of the media food chain!

    Rest of ya, been a blast as always..I get lots of laughs here. ..time to unlace. unwind. reboot.

  67. Savard's Cigarette says:

    Last night was exhibit A why you never want to go to a game 7, let alone OT of a game 7.
    Yes, it was great the boys clawed their way back from a 3-1 hole but the series was lost way before the last gratuitous LA bounce from a limp wrist shot from the point. The Hawks defense was very lackluster all series, had alot of trouble clearing traffic in front of our goaltender in games 2-7. Cannot pin this series loss on 50 in my opinion, he was the main reason we beat St. Louis and Minn. It’s a very bitter pill to swallow when you are one shot away from another SCF, but this roster with 23,26,32, and 52 overachieved in the post season. Let’s give SB time to make the changes that are needed and we’ll be back for another long Cup run in 2015… Hopefully there is enough $$$ to resign 28 because that kid proved his mettle night in and night out in these playoffs.

  68. AJ says:

    So many Vancouver games I bet I couldn’t even count them. I forgot how smart you are about every facet of life.

    The purpose of unloading Sharp is to capitalize on value now because they need cap space, definitely need another high calibre player up the middle and people lose their mind when I suggest Seabrook for the chopping block. A combination of Oduya and Bickell probably does the same thing but less quality coming back.

    Either way a significant chunk of salary in the form of Sharp OR Seabrook OR Oduya + Bickell needs to be chopped so they can plug that hole and have $ to resign Saad.

    I’m certainly not entertaining the idea of moving Kane, Toews, Hammer, Saad or Keith and Hossa @ 35 until the end of time is here until the rapture so if Seabrook unmovable than Sharp can fall off the over 30 cliff somewhere else. Like Washington for Troy Brouwer and a first.

  69. Mike says:

    At this moment the Hawks have 11 forwards signed Including Nordstrom, 6 Defensemen and 1 goalie from 2014s roster. IF IF the Cap is $71.1MM we are going in with 18 players and $5.45mm in space needing 3 skaters and a goalie. If Versteeg is your trade chip he adds $2.2MM so we have $7.65 mm needed for 4 skaters and a goalie.

    Smith deserves at least $2.65MM leaving $5mm to replace Zues, Regin, Morin, Brookbank and Raanta. That is a lot of bodies for $5 Mil. Can not afford any big FAs a this summer. So if SB wants to make big lineup changes, he is gonna have to trade. Fortunately, some lower cost prospects can replace the expiring contracts.

    Summer 2015 is HUGE. Toews, Kane, Saad and Kruger will need contracts.

  70. noonan96 says:

    One last thing-I saw some stretches with Smith that made me think he can be very good-not just a piece-
    From his start to his end-I’m not sure if anyone (other than Saad) has shown great improvement and that type of up-side. I’d like to see him back-not at the expense of Shaw-but back as a top 9 multi-purpose player.
    Toews, TT, Smith and Kruger (Shaw crashing on the wing) I agree that Morin may be gone-too bad I think he can be a physical 20-25 goal scorer. I know Rufus doesn’t agree but they don’t grow on trees.

  71. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    My guess…

    Gone for a multitude of reasons (to include money) – Handzus, Brookbank, Versteeg, Raanta, Morin and Smith (who can be “replaced” by Nordstrom while saving money in the process…an “economic” decision)

    Then you trade a veteran plus prospects to get a primetime veteran Center.

  72. Sr. Brad says:

    Peter, exactly right…tweaks here and there…bringing the right youth up…and no, we couldn’t get even a 7th rounder for LeBlanc. What I keep forgetting about as well are TVR, the young D prospect we signed late this season and Matt Carey. Both have size, both have talent and both should be ready sooner than later.

  73. hawks2010 says:

    The #1 priority on this team is signing 88 and 19 in 2015. I would have no problem trading 29, 32, 23, 52, 27 and 10 for prospects and some cap space. I think 29 is way overpaid and has not worked out very well. Who is going to take 32, 23 and 52? I believe we could get a decent return for 10 and 27. I agree with the posts that after 88 and 19, 20 and 28 are top priorities. I don’t see how we can sign someone like Stasny or Kesler(who I wouldn’t touch with a 10′ hockey stick) and hope to sign the priorities. I am also afraid Morin is a gonner. Like Pirri, he never got a chance. Q would rather skate a tired old and slow veteran than give a rookie a chance. You can bet that TT will be on the team next year unless he blows up in training camp. The 2nd highest rated prospect in the world can’t be buried in Rockford.

  74. Deb says:

    I just want to say to all the hawk players im so proud of u and all u have acomplished. I will never b anything but a hawk fan, u guys worked ur u not what off as crow would say, we were one shot away from a cup final, great work guys. I give the kings credit they never stopped coming back from behind and i wish them all the best in the next round. Should b interesting to c how the ol vancover coach gets his boys to dive. And wine like he did w the canucks.
    Thx for the great
    Deb

  75. Mike says:

    Lozo from Bleacher Rpt has interesting 14-15 roster predictions and lineup

    Same 7 on Defense (Rosy and BB alternate as 6th)

    20 19 81
    10 16 88
    29 86 28
    11 65 23

    So he is predicting NO major moves.

  76. Sr. Brad says:

    Wow…Ben Smith, Morin, Leddy and Raanta aren’t going anywhere…I am surprised to hear any of this. Ben Smith has excelled at EVERY level of hockey. As Noonan said, Smith showed incredible development when he was given the chance. Just look at how good Ben played with top shelf talent next to him? That’s because he has that talent. Leddy is secured under a manageable deal and is ready to step up. The Hawks outbid everyone to get Raanta 2 years ago, he was great for us during the long stretch without CC, and just needs coaching to get better…you better bet he’s not going anywhere. Jeremy Morin was our best player down the stretch, showing a real power forward game. He didn’t just score, he created opportunities, he set up goals, he crashed the net, and he was in the opposition’s faces…this is EXACTLY the type of player WE NEED. And Wall, yes, Morin is going to make Q look very stupid by his play next year.

    Why do you think Bowman has spent so much time building a top notch talent evaluation team? Why do we draft so well? Why does Ted Dent coach Hawk’s hockey first in Rockford and winning games 2nd? Why has Bowman outbid or outmanoeuvred other franchises to sign players like LeBlanc, Carey and TVR??? So that all of this can just sit and rot? The Hawks are ALL IN with their youth development program. And while Q controls the “lineup card” Bowman controls the roster…and he won’t make a mistake like resigning a Handzus again. The Hawks felt they had a legitimate chance to repeat, and Bowman gave Q what he asked for…more Zus, Rozy and Bollig. All three backfired and set back our youth development program, causing us to have to clean house in Rockford…this is NOT going to happen again. And remember, it was Q putting Stanton on waivers at the beginning of the season in favour of a Maple Leaf cast off, that caused Stanton to get claimed by Vancouver, and have a good season there, when it should have been here. Stanton, BIG, strong, and smart DMan…just the type that would have cleared the front of the net for Crawford, given the chance.

  77. Maybe '14 says:

    Thanks Tab for a great blog and insightful comments. It remains with the Bowmans’ and Q to bring in or develop the 3 or 4 players who will be enough to permit this remarkable core of players to go further next year. They sit in the king’s chair and have the king’s problem. In the biography of Scotty Bowman, the author stated that SB’s real strength was not rebuilding an entire team but finding the one or two players that turned a contender into a champion. Well, time to stop resting on your laurels and get to it. We will all be watcing to see if Q and the Bowmans’ still have it. This season amply proved that this core of plavers still have it. Congrats to Rocky Wirtz, it’s great to be back from the wilderness.

  78. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Teuvo will be called up WHEN he is ready. He won’t be rushed. And whether he is or isn’t ready next fall, that’s not going to stop the Hawks from acquiring a veteran Center.

    Nobody wants to see Ben Smith go…just like nobody wanted to see Andrew Ladd go. But the economics might dictate otherwise. The Hawks have Nordstrom who can step into the Smith role and provide a “Michael Frolik type in training.”

    Bowman is going to be an active GM. It won’t be about incremental changes and cap fits this offseason. He’s going to make a signficant move (or two). If he could find a new home for Bickell then he’ll jump at that, but it may take throwing in a prospect to make that happen. Put me down for not being surprised if Seabrook or Sharp is moved. It won’t be an indictment of either player, perse. The resident naysayer who has jumped Jeremy Morin to first line duty next season (snicker) will now dutifully comment with a 14,000 word diatribe. I can hardly wait !!!!

  79. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Zus, Regin & Brookbank are all out of contract and are UFA(I hope Stan lets all 3 walk). Morin, Smitty and Raanti are also out of contracts by are RFA. The Hawks have very little goalie depth besides Crow. It would be a huge mistake not to resign Raanti unless the Hawks are to sign a young goalie to back up Crow. I would like Smith retained but I have doubts and if I am Morin I don’t resign here he’s been jerked around way too much. I think he can play but I’m not sure where he is suited on this roster. He might be a 2nd line winger on a bad team.

    Here is where it gets scary, Toews, Kane, Oduya and Rosy are all UFA’s after this upcoming season. The Hawks must have money available to retain both cornerstone players.

    Kruger, Saad, Nordstrom, Leddy, and Runblad(lol) are all RFA’s after next season. Out of this group Saad is the key. He is a top 6 forward and needs to be retained. If Kruger or Leddy where to walk or be traded I would be okay with that. Both are good players but neither are high end impact guys. Leddy has shown for 2 playoffs that he can not be counted on for big minutes in the playoffs and Kruger has NEVER shown he can move into a higher roll despite being given countless opportunities. He will always be a good defender with limitations on the offensive end.

    I don’t see the Hawks are being very active on the few agent market unless they either don’t sign some of their RFA because they are poached by another GM/ or SB chooses not to resign someone or unless one of their core pieces are traded. Here’s what also stinks 3.45 million being eaten up by 2 players that did very little this playoff season Bollig and Versteeg and both are on the hook for another 3 and 2 years respectively.

  80. Big Indian says:

    On last night’s Comcast post game show, Steve Konroyd said he figured that both Ben Smith and Sheldon Brookbank would be back next season. I believe that Smith is a restricted free agent, and he doesn’t has as many options to move. Konroyd also said that #2 center is a big need…..primarily for making sure that Kane comes back after next season. With Toews and Kane having their contracts up after getting paid 6.3 Mil next year, Konroyd predicts that Toews is a no-brainer to stay/be resigned, but that Kane will want assurances from the club that he will have a center to distribut the puck to him. It will be very interesting. To me, I don’t like the Kesler idea (maybe it’s the Vancouver factor…..I see any of them and I see Sedins and Bieksa). And Versteeg to me is just a real mystery. He makes great feeds at times, but sometimes he just plays like his hair is on fire.

  81. Fletch says:

    Hey! It’s all ball bearings nowadays. Now you prepare that Fetzer valve with some 3-in-1 oil and some gauze pads. And I’m gonna need ’bout ten quarts of anti-freeze, preferably Prestone. No, no make that Quaker State.

    ==

    NHL salary cap is a baitch ! And it’s about to get hairy for Mr. Stanley Bowman all over again. I agree that Raanta and Morin are gone. Smith might stay, but if some team offers him bigger dough then Bowman will have to make a rationalization, meaning he’d have to move somebody else out.

    A look around the league shows 11 teams in danger of being under the cap FLOOR for next season. WHich means crazy contract time in the NHL. Which means Smith might see some serious wacky acquisition. I can’ t even imagine what Statsny gets paids. Woo, wee !

  82. Frolik Navidad says:

    I can’t see Bowman making a big splash. If Tallon was still the GM, maybe. Are we a Hossa, Soupy Campbell, or Huet away from another Cup? I would say no and that we’re close enough without acquiring a large contract like a Kesler or God forbid Marty Brodeur. We could and SHOULD have advanced past the Kings if we rolled better lines. I was very impressed with Bollig’s progress from SCF Game #2 giving Boston the win to October 1st vs. Washington. But the fact remains, he limited this team in the playoffs and Morin or Regin should have been inserted. I wish he could have been signed to a more team friendly contract but that’s probably moot.

    Smitty please stay!!!!!

    Last year when we lost Bolland and Frolik I was saddened but confident in the prospects. This year, I am not as confident. I predicted Pirri as a Calder finalist centering Patrick Kane but that didn’t work out so well….

    Next year hopefully much remains the same

    10-19-81
    20-65-88
    29-28-23
    16 with 52/25/11/other prospects rotating in

    2-7
    4-8
    Dahlstrom-FA Vet

    50
    31

    This team is deeper especially when you consider Teuvo, TvR, Clendening, Nordstom all in the wings fighting for spots.

  83. Only Q says:

    The management team did it’s job. Q just blew it up.

    Kings 2nd line: Tifoli(22)-Carter(29)-Pearson(23)

    Our potential 3rd line: Morin(23)-Pirri(23)-Sharp(32)

    Instead we’re forced to play our 4th line up on the 3rd and then we play WITHOUT A 4th LINE. 9+ forwards have to play the whole game!

    Q gets the credit…LET HIM TAKE THE BLAME. You need to develop your own to live in this salary cap world. We had ‘em and let them get away because of a stubborn grey stached’ boss.

  84. Montana Blackhawk says:

    Seabs is lazy, slow, afraid to hit or be hit. He got caught several times last night sleeping, and directly allowed the Kings to score! That’s just the way I saw it, including all the replays, UGH!

  85. Only Q says:

    @SouthSideHawkMan does anybody ever look at advanced stats?

    Leddy’s CF% is ALWAYS tops or near tops for our D Men. Fact is we get shots and tilt the ice when he’s on it. But here’s SouthSide man and he’s is OK with him going because he thinks Q is correct in benching him after the 3nd period. Truth is Q is ‘afraid’…of what who knows. He hated Pirri and would rather keep Bolig, a total and complete robot, who plays small and who achieved an incredible ZERO CF% last night. He doesn’t like Morin, so he plays a helpless Versteeg still not fully back from his ACL injury.

    As for Kruger, you’re going to let him go too, even though he’s got the #3 Fenwick % in down 1-man situations in the league. Yea, that’s right, penalty killers they just grow on trees.

    If we had a real 3rd line, then Kruger could man an awesome 10 min/game 4th line and still kill penalties. Then we wouldn’t need Zus and could play someone who’s actually faster than a three-toed sloth.

    Of course, with your obvious wicked knowledge of the game you must love the fact that we have stiffs playing 3 shifts an entire game while young turks sit in the booth losing the chance to get valuable experience and rotting away with splinters in their ass before they’re shipped out because ‘Q don’t trust them’.

  86. wall says:

    I see 28 getting around $2M… 2 years… just like 65- he won’t break the bank…

    And I do like #7… but he is aging- and-imo -is the “easiest” to replace w/ Johns…
    and #2 can or #4 can cover for the Rookie- and make learning on the job a little easier.

    RTF- I like 42 too… But he is NOT a replacement for 28!!!

    11- can score/play- what they do with him will be interesting!!!

  87. EbonyRaptor says:

    Timing is everything in life. And in this case the timing of acquiring a legitimate second line center in relation to re-signing Kane. Just for speculation sake, let’s say the whispers are true that Kane wants a legit 2C to play with or he may not re-sign (and I wouldn’t blame him after being saddled with Handzus the last two season and a couple other slugs prior to that), and let’s say that the Hawks aren’t sure that TT is ready to play 2C next season, and let’s say that the Hawks want to re-sign Kane as soon after July 1st as they can to leave themselves time to trade Kane if it looks like Kane will not re-sign. What all that means is that they can’t count on TT next season and they have to trade to a 2C at or around the draft.

    Now, it’s not just the task of acquiring a center that Kane can play with, it’s also fitting him into the Cap and that means Stan will need to have a pretty good idea what T & K and others will command to determine what he can afford to acquire.

    I think the sequence needs to be:
    1. Negotiate new deals with T & K – set principle $ amounts and work out details later.

    2. Find a 2C to acquire and figure out a plan for the ripple effect of replacing the traded players – both in terms of roster and salary cap.

    3. Re-sign T & K

    4. Fill out the rest of the roster / re-sign select other RFAs.

  88. RedTopParking says:

    Add my thanks to the list, Tab, for a great year on this site and for what you do. Eight months to the day since opening reg season game (when we beat the Caps) on October 1st. Like some, I was concerned this year’s club was a step behind and there was evidence for that at several points in the season. But we really did a great job in the playoffs (not smooth, but good) and I was totally convinced after beating LA on the road in G6 we’d win last night and go on to beat an inferior east coast club for another Cup.
    A lot has been said today, most of it poignant and true: Q did not play our best lineup; Q mishandled Jeremy Morin; Marian Hossa, future Hall of Famer and of immeasurable value to our team, was ineffective against LA (and hate to say it but he’s at fault on Gaborik’s tying goal in the 3rd). Won’t see 23 or 26 in Hawk’s sweater again. Blockbuster trade involving Sharp or Seabrook…? Give it a 25% chance at best. Talk of Ben Smith expendable? Ridiculous.
    NHL profits up substantially. Cap will rise. We re-sign Toews and Kaner for what they’re worth (a helluva lot) and find a way to keep Ben Smith, too. Though I side with Sr. Brad on many points, Rufus is right about Bickel. Maybe his 7 goals in the playoffs looks respectable, but how many of them were big? He had only one vs LA, which did not come in critical games #5, 6, or 7. And was he physical enough? You be the judge…failure to challenge/clear Kings away from front of our net major factor.
    But enough…off-season is here, some moves will be made. I am with those that say promote from within, no solution visible right now to 2nd line ctr issue out there in trade land (barring some random pick-up like NYR’s got with Martin St. Louis, an all-of-the-sudden situation of a still-great player’s surprise demand for a trade). We had a great run. Next October will be here before ‘ya know it

  89. Dickie Dunn says:

    Interesting comments!

    I don’t know what Stan B. will do. I believe that Teuvo T. will not be a chip in any deal for a veteran 2C, and I agree with RTF – TT will be called up when he is ready/won’t be rushed.

    I haven’t seen any Icehogs games, but some who have believe that Dahlbeck and Clendening are *ready* to play in the NHL — if this is the case, the Hawks should move a couple of d-men. It seems unlikely that Seabrook goes, but you never know? The “unlikely, but you never know” applies to Sharp as well? Amassing great(?) depth in the system is a waste if players aren’t moved up or out (for reasonable return). It seems like they will try to keep Raanta (- they don’t have anyone else) and Smith. Iy also seems that keeping Saad rates right after Toews and Kane. It’s Bowman’s problem to solve the $$$-HOW of it.

    I’ll say it one last time: *I* would not OVERpay for Kesler, and I hope S.B. agrees.

    Go Rangers!!…?

  90. Dickie Dunn says:

    (In addendum:) Kesler – it’s not a “Vancouver thing”. He’s been a very good player – I just can’t believe the estimated value/rumors/possible trades being suggested. If that is the accurate market value (NO Gaborik-like deal for the Hawks), Vancouver can keep him or fleece some other team. Just my opinion.

  91. Tab Bamford says:

    Simple realities: the Hawks control the rights to Morin, Smith & Raanta. A team would need to put an offer sheet on one of them – and thereby compensate the Blackhawks with picks if they got the player. Based on their NHL resume’s to date, is any rational GM giving up a mid-round pick for Morin or Raanta by himself? None that plans on keeping his job for very long…

    Smith is the only RFA in the organization that scares me, but I think they’ll get him done. Why? Because so many of you have gone to great lengths to bitch about point out that Quenneville doesn’t like kids. But he LOVES Smith. Raanta is a wild card. My money would be on Morin’s rights being dealt around the draft (perhaps in a package…).

  92. CJ says:

    Not to be ‘that guy’ but Smith really isn’t a kid as he’s 26 already. That’s older than Toews and Kane, but I agree he’s in the class with Kruger and Saad where they rarely enter the doghouse.

  93. Tab Bamford says:

    Smith isn’t a “kid” but he’s locked up a role on the team.

  94. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Under Q’s illustrious watch in Chicago the following youngsters have been called up and developed. Ahem…Hjalmarsson, Leddy, Shaw, Kruger, Smith, Bollig, Stalberg, Niemi, Crawford, Raanta. Meanwhile Pirri, Olsen, and Hayes were given opportunities but could never make the cut on a playoff caliber team. All there now exist in NHL purgatory, better know as being players for the lowly Florida Panthers. Morin has been given more chances in a Hawk uniform than Lindsay Lohan probation chances from a judge. He hasn’t made the cut. That’s an indictment of him, not the other way around. End of subject.

  95. morrison says:

    Mike, the most recent post about the salary cap is it will be 70.0m
    We will have plenty to resign Smith.

    I would do a 4yr contract for Saad and Smith.

    If we do trade/fa for a center, I think it a 2-3m type center. Then we might trade 27. Otherwise I think we keep basically everybody. Except for Handz, Rozy, Versteeg. We can trade them, someone will make a deal. The NYR traded a 5th for Scott…

    Remember, we have a top3 team/roster this yr & with some ‘small’ tweaks (nothing against 26,32,23) we will be stronger and have more quality depth.

  96. morrison says:

    ‘I don’t believe a word of that Kesler shit.’ Ned Braden

  97. Phil says:

    That empty feeling leaving the UC last night. That plus my mom being gravely ill left me feeling just drained out. Rough way to end a season that offered lots of good hockey by a team that had bulls-eyes on their backs all year. Injury bug was largely avoided which was a plus. Apart from the frustrating reg season losses in extra time that denied us the points that would have been necessary to win division/conference the guys gave us some great hockey. As we know repeating a Cup Championship is a very long and difficult task. Never mind winning it just once. So many things have to go right with strong player chemistry together with the talent. Puck luck should never be downplayed. As we saw through the run to the conference finals these games are decided by incredibly random events sometimes. Some would call that luck.

    I never like to hear the finger pointing by fans when teams lose. Sure, certain players rise up and take the initiative and others for whatever reason struggle and do not realize expectations. However, I feel Q did not skate his best guys to enable ultimate victory over a deep Kings squad. Why Regin sat for so many playoff games simply did not make sense based on what he was bringing to the team when allowed to skate. Zus was ultimately a mistake ,yet he was and will remain a classy player, person that has had a great career. Lest we forget Zus was huge last year in playoffs for the Hawks and an important part of the lineup scoring huge goals against the Wings as well as of course the Bruins in the Finals. That said his job with the Hawks should be at an end. Thanks Zus, you gave us your best! Unfortunately wasn’t what we needed . Sorry as this has been pointed out by others before me, but I agree with you.

    From my perspective at the game this was just a strange experience, and I attend probably 80-90 % of the home schedule. The crowd was in a nervous anticipatory state of mind. Can you blame em? The fans were exhausted watching these playoffs as much as I can remember. Hawks went through 3 very tough series and didn’t roll anyone. Bottom line was this being such a huge game there were lots of “Hawks fans” but not those that sit around me. Many of the regulars sold their tickets for whatever reason. My biggest complaint(and I generalize here) with the casual normal watching Tv fans is they don’t know hockey crowd etiquette. Being respectful of those sitting around you and watching the game. So last night I miss the first 2 Hawks goals because this clueless couple 2 rows down stood up and blocked my view of the net which is directly below me where the Hawks shoot period 1 and 3. Unbelievable… So when I yell at em to sit down they look at me with this what’s wrong with this guy expression. I said when you stand up we can’t see. Wait for the puck to dent the net. So i’m stuck watching the jumbotron for replays of goals I never saw.WTF!! I missed Sharpy’s second goal as well because of a way longer than expect kidney tap during the tv timeout when the johns are almost always empty. Not last night. At least that one was on me. Carters tip in was so incredibly close. His stick looked high for sure from my angle yet the puck was under the crossbar making it a good goal. I always had thought that if the stick was over the crossbar it was negated.

    I will throw in the Kings winning goal complaint. We all saw Williams chop out Leddy’s stick. This blatant slash in turn generates a turnover advantage Kings. They get the goofball deflection off Leddy and its game over. How could that not be called? It resulted in a puck possession change!! Then after the game all the pundits are kissing Williams butt for being a gamer. Williams post game interviews had me boiling with that smirk on his face. Hope the Rangers put the body on that guy. Otherwise, I have much respect for the drive with this Kings team. They didn’t quit when down goals. There were 3-4 games where Hawks had 2 goal leads and could not finish those guys. For me this was one failing with this 2013-2014 bunch. They couldn’t keep the gas pedal down and finish teams.

    I absolutely loved the Cpt’s post game comments. The guy was gutted and took it personal. For those that think Toews didn’t bring a full effort in these playoffs you weren’t watching closely for the little things that guy does almost every shift to try and help his team. Was he the guy to decide game 7 last night, no he wasn’t but don;’t fault the effort. Hossa too. Hoss is a very proud player that gives what he had. Sharpy too. Much of the so called decline in those core guys the past few weeks can be placed on Q running those guys out of gas. He whipped those guys till they bled. They had nothing left. The Hawks still almost pulled the damn thing out.

    My thoughts for next year have plenty of time to surface. I am still proud of the Hawks and optimistic about their direction. To come so close and miss a shot at a rare Cup repeat stings bad, but this lineup gave what they had. Shoulda, woulda, coulda….

    It was a fun ride this past season. This blog remain a wonderful constant for thoughtful , passionate, and loyal Hawks fans. Thanks Tab for doing what you do to keep this forum what it is. Your efforts do not go unappreciated! Don’t know about you all, but I would love to see the Rangers beat the Kings since the world thinks they have no chance. Take em to 7 games.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  98. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Trade Sharp at the zenith of his remaining value and sign Statsny. Pie in the sky. Or maybe not. Let Kane unwrap Statsny. Happy Kane, better Hawks team overall, solved the Center dilemma.

  99. Paul Sliwa says:

    Thanks for all the hawks info, you do a great job and keep it up. From so cali hawks fan…God bless you!

  100. Section 333 says:

    So what’s the difference between Smith and the other guys who have gone by the way-side using fancy stats? I mean, he passes the eyeball test for sure but is his corsi/fenwick that much better than Morin, Pirri, etc? Honest question, just wondering what stats can show that Smith is that much better than some of these other guys. And if his stats are that much better I wouldn’t be surprised for someone to come calling for him. Seems like an age ago that Doug Wilson tried to offer-sheet Hammer. Wouldn’t be surprised to see some more poaching attempts with the recent run of success.

  101. Milton says:

    I agree with Phil r.e. hoping that the Rangers beat LA. The inspiring story of the 2014 playoffs to me is the way the entire Rangers team rallied around and supported Marty St Louis in his time of great need after losing his mom. A storybook ending would be for the Rangers to win in 7 at LA with Marty St Louis scoring the SC championship goal in ot.

  102. MS says:

    Tab – you are the consummate pro! thanks for running such a high quality site. Kudo’s also to all posters – I appreciate your insight, opinions (most of the time) and great passion for the Hawks.

    I think navigating through the cap the next two years will be very interesting. If the cap is $69m next year we will need to move players to afford Smith, Morin and a goaltender. Every dollar will be critical and I would not be surprised to see Raanta leave town as $1.4m may be too much for a back-up when Crow starts earning his $6m per year. While I would love to see 32 or 23 moved we would likely have to pair a nice prospect to find a willing trade partner. I think the more likely move is 27 while he is still a top 4 d-man although I wouldn’t be shocked to see 8 go as he carries a decent cap hit and would definitely generate interest. I hope we have a little more patience to develop the young talent such as Morin, Nordstrom and one or two new d-men. Call me crazy but I think Morin will get his shot. I don’t think you give up on a guy with his size and offensive skills this quickly.

    The real challenge is going to be 2015 with new contracts for 19, 20 and 88. More significant cap space will need to be opened up which leads me to believe that someone from the core (7 or 10) will be moving on. With 19 and 88 taking up such a significant portion of the cap we will have to get more creative with younger players and cheaper veterans. Look at Cap-Geek for Anaheim to see what their other contracts look like in order to accomodate Getzlaf and Perry.

    SB will certainly be earning his pay the next couple of years.

  103. Dickie Dunn says:

    Morrison, ‘I don’t believe a word of that Kesler shit.’ Ned Braden…”Fuckin’ fans calling-in with dirty talk.” Reg Dunlop

  104. Dickie Dunn says:

    RTF — love to have Stastny in Chicago, but didn’t he clearly express the desire to stay in Colorado = “Hometown Discount”? Besides that, retaining Toews, Kane, and Saad LONG term is the top priority, right?

  105. Dickie Dunn says:

    Section 333 – I’m no expert = to me, corsi/fenwick is a reference that probably is a more accurate indication than “+/-”, but “the eyeball test for sure” is the best measure. You know what you’ve seen. Maybe Morin hasn’t been given a *real* chance? I think that watching Pirri (in what some may consider to be an extremely limited opportunity?) it is evident that he just doesn’t have the speed/skate well enough to be a Top Six player on the Hawks, so they moved him for what Stan B. considered to be a “fair return”. To my eyeballs, Smith was really one of the best Blackhawks this post season.

  106. morrison says:

    MS,
    ANA & CHI are the only top10 teams in league that have a top5 farm (2nd & 4th). Other then BOS & PIT (at 15th & 17th), all of the top10 teams have a bottom10 farms, no body else coming for those teams & they traded away 1st rd. picks to get their high-end players at deadline. That’s going to hurt them in a few yrs, longterm wise.

    Yea, it will be like ANA for 19 & 88 but like ANA we have the farm to continue bringing up good young players for awhile.

    Raanta caphit was .925, I agree and think he should play ahl for the yr & we could sign a low caphit backup…

    If we did trade 27, package 23 or 32 with him. D men are rare this summer. or if we got to give up a mid-range prospect to trade 23/32 then we need to.

  107. Mining Man says:

    My comments on the game went to “moderation” and were not released until later today so you have to scroll way up to the top to the second and third comments. I re-wrote to the second and removed what I presumed was whatever was wrong but it made no difference…doesn’t matter they are posted now. Have no idea what to do or why this happens, however, if there is something offensive I apologize. Now that a day has gone by I can tell you the bitter disappointment hasn’t retreated an iota and if its this tough on me just image its got be real tough on the players. Putting up a brave front with my friends and co workers but we ( Blackhawk nation) are all going thru the same angst…so close, so very very close and with all that “character”. To me it appears that losing Bolland and Frolik was a major factor in not rolling four lines because their was no one else in the bottom six that could do the job. The defence was a bit careless in clearing out around the net and that cost us. Hindsight is perfect of course, but…that Khabibulin thing was a really bad idea, and I personally thought it was a bad move right from the get go. We ended up having to go with Raanta in short order anyway, something we should have done from day one and been able to keep either Bolland or Frolik. The depth was just not there. Should be a very interesting summer with tweaks here and there. Not liking many willing to forego Seabrook…. Sharp is also not expendable, period! Understand very well about keeping Bickell but….he was a big disappointment in the season and had a few good spurts in the playoffs but power down big time with LA…I don’t know what happens but we have to keep Mr. Kane happy and give him a shot at the scoring title in the upcoming season which means someone for him at 2C or come contract time we will have a lot of trouble keeping him on board.

  108. morrison says:

    Oduya+ for Nielsen.

    What would Stastny sign for 7.0/7.5 or…
    (Hes not as good as Getslapped or Perry).

  109. morrison says:

    Minning man,
    That’s funny I did the same thing the other day. I even tried slightly adjusting my email address, but didn’t go threw.

    I think if a post is looong it does the moderation thing. Like twitter or text messages…

  110. Phil says:

    I was able to watch a replay of game 7 last night. One thing I did not see while at the game the other night was Justin William skate around the back of the Hawks net and spear/rake Core under the right arm pit. This was on the same play Stoll pulled off CC’s head gear. You can see Corey turn his head to look who jabbed him with the stick. That was the second nasty bit stick work Williams laid on Corey in the series. The other one being a 2 hander that hurt Corey as well. Both plays had nothing to do with trying to score a goal. As I have mentioned before I believe Williams plays a chippy game that seems to go undetected by the adoring media.

    Hope the Rangers pound that guy.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  111. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    With Crawford being a workhorse and the cap being what it is, the Hawks will need to get real economical at backup goalie. And pray like hell nothing happens to Crow.

    Any move Bowman makes this offseason will be with an eye toward serious improvement and with the acknowledgement that he is really got to make some tough cap decisions over the next year. It is what leads me to believe Seabrook or Sharp may be on the move. Also, why Bowman may be forced to attach a good prospect to get the Bickell contract off the books. In hindsight, Stan made a mistake on Bickell and Versteeg.

  112. wall says:

    Williams=Bolland… knows the Refs aren’t going to blow whistle in Crucial moments of PO’s… Know one here bitched when 36, gave Richards a concussion, almost boarded a guy prior to 7′s game winner vs. Wings… didn’t 36 chop the stick out of a player’s hands
    on a 3 on 2 (Hawks scored)… the guy knew out to “make trouble” in the PO’s- cuz once again- the Whistles are swallowed!!!

  113. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    I have no problem how the refs called the Kings series or how the Kings played. All is fair in love and war. And like you said, the Hawks have been benefactors of a lot of crap on the ice over the years too. Bolland and Shaw certainly. But also Keith, who frankly gets away with a boatload of stuff that would make me scream if I were fan of the opposing team.

  114. Mike says:

    Phil, I agree 100% that Q used his top 6 like borrowed mules throughout these playoffs. Again and again the 4th line skated under 10 minutes, especially 5 on 5 where the real wear and tear occurs.

    I don’t know where the “Morin had a ton of chances and couldn’t make it” comes from. I believe he did earn a spot. Whatever line he skated with was better and more productive with him than without him. Does he have a lot to learn, sure. But can the boy play hockey, yes he can. Like Tab said, Hawks own his rights. I am not worried about someone offering him stupid paper.

    Unfortunately, some of the so called trade chips a lot of people here want to see simply may not happen. Rosy and Versteeg at $2.2MM each are not to attractive. Hopefully, Versteeg works it all out. I think it may be easier to trade Bollig at $1.25mm.

    I am not too worried about resigning Raanta. He will sign for $1MM or less. Who would pay him more.

    I do worry a little about some GM offering Smith more than what he would sign for. Then SB would really have to put on his thinking cap.

    I would not mind seeing Regin resigned if the price is right. He was a $.75mm cap hit, so if we can sign him for under $.900 he can be sent to Rockford without a hit on the Hawks.

    I think the whole Kane, 2C controversy will settle itself out since that seemed to be squarely aimed at Handzus. Well Handzus is gone (we think). I think Kane will be fine with Smith a 2C. Or screw it, put him back with Toews until TT is ready.

    Lastly, I think Oduya is the most likely trade chip for the Hawks. With prospects ready or near ready, and more in the pipeline, Oduya represents a good veteran D man for a rebuilding team and only has one year left on his contract. SB can use the $3.4mm elsewhere.

    The controversy that is really gonna take place is between Q and SB. Imagine SB trading Oduya and Bollig for prospects leaving Morin and Clendening to take their places. Q would not be happy. But SB has another $3mm+ to work with, without giving up a roster spot.

  115. AJ says:

    While I do have all these crazy ideas in my fantasy land, I also know that they will probably move Oduya, sit on their hands, like their team a bunch and call it a day. Hopefully Carter is falling apart next year, the Islanders sign Gabo and the Avs get no defensive help.

    Rufus, the best seasons statistically Statsny has had were under Q and Q has known him since he was a kid. I’m hip to that plan but don’t see it splashing.

  116. Phil says:

    Trust me RTF and Wall to know how games are played and called. Guys will push the limit. I did take exception to Williams stick work on our keeper. Of course, whistle swallowing unless to even up calls in playoffs is part of the program. I can still bitch about Williams though, as he can dish it out but doesn’t like to take what he gives.
    Playoff hockey as it is officiated in the NHL benefits teams like LA that bring physical side of the game. The way you beat those guys is score power play goals and stay out of the box.

    Yes we had “the Rat” and we all knew he could get under other teams skin with the borderline stuff. As Kaner said “that’s hockey baby”.
    We were close….

    Lets Go Hawks!

  117. Sr. Brad says:

    Again, incredible…Bickell has proved his worth…that’s a deal in OUR favour. At the time, if Bowman didn’t sign Bickell that day for an average of $4 million per season, Bickell was going to take one of THREE offers he had NORTH of $6 million per season. Bickell entered this season playing on a recovered knee…it got re injured and he had to have another procedure…that’s 2 knee procedures in 6 months for a 6’4″ hockey player…that’s really tough. Bickell took awhile to come around (understandable) and then got red hot. He was on our best line down the stretch of the season, and then was outstanding in the playoffs. His LA performance, like Hossa, is what it is. When you are matched up against the 2nd best line in the world, its a wash. We need more players like Bickell on this team…or did you not watch the LA series at all???

  118. JS says:

    Smith’s Fenwick/Corsi won’t look good because he almost primarily started in the defensive zone, against the toughest or second toughest competition, with a boat anchor of a linemate in Brandon Bollig (BUT HE DOES SOME THINGS GOOD RIGHT).

    I’ve said it 100 times, but Q gave Dan Carcillo a roster spot over Brandon Saad last year. Thank god Carcillo is made of glass or that could have slowed the growth of Saad.

    Pirri played well for the Hawks. Since he was a “defensive liability” he probably should have skated between two-way forwards. Putting him between Hossa and Sharp probably would have been better for the kid… but he still had decent success with Kane and Versteeg.

    Not sure what Bollig does better than Morin, but we can keep pretending he deserved a roster spot over someone capable of offense. 82 games during the regular season for someone that couldn’t get regular shifts during the playoffs. That certainly helps a team. PS Morin had 3 fewer points than Bollig in 58 less games.

  119. Sr. Brad says:

    Phil I posted a conversation I had on the telephone last week with a good friend of mine who was an NHL linesman and a WHL Referee. He made the comment to me that the Hawks “style” of play worked against them during the playoffs for 2 reasons…

    1. The Hawks, outside of Shaw (and he’s largely been “cleansed” by Q), don’t play a dirty style of hockey and don’t use their sticks a lot to restrict, hit, hurt or agitate. Most other teams do. This stuff gets called during the reg. season when the refs see it, but it largely doesn’t during the playoffs as the refs put away their whistles away…so STL, MIN and LA all took advantages against our skill with what they could get away with…we don’t take “advantage” of this leniency.

    2. The refs are looking to “even things out” especially during the playoffs, so when LA finally gets called on let’s say an INT call (which could have been called against the Kings a hundred times a game), the refs are suddenly very intolerant of any CHI infractions no matter how trivial…just think back to Game 2 versus LA…a string of LA penalties in the 2nd period that we couldn’t make them pay for, and then bang, bang…2 RIDICULOUS calls against the Hawks early in the 3rd that LA capitalized on…and the game was essentially over. Or how about in the battle of the Titans, Kopitar was called for INT Toews, and the Hawks used the PP to even the score. Later in the game, the ONE TIME I have seen Toews literally use his stick to hook/impede a player, Kopitar, it gets called and LA scores to tie it. That play could have/should have been overlooked, especially because it was Toews who is likely the most respected player in the league, but it was called because the refs were “evening” things up, especially between Toews and Koptitar.

    Justin Williams is often a liability for the Kings during the regular season, and I have seen him many times implode mentally that has cost the Kings games…but in the playoffs, he is a secret weapon with is dump and chase/nasty stick work style of game. NHL playoff hockey is what it is…

    BTW, thanks so much for all your insights from the rink, they are valuable and appreciated…I am looking forward to your thoughts for next year!

  120. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    “Only Q”

    I feel its necessary to respond to your comments. At the end of the day Coach Q isn’t going anywhere so if Coach Q doesn’t feel like Nick Leddy deserves important minutes then he should not be retained.

    Have you taken a step back and thought maybe advanced stats look nice because Q has put him in situations where he can maximize his results? I am not saying Leddy doesn’t have value but I am asking if Leddy is a “impact player”. The question still remains can Leddy be counted on for key situations? They last 2 playoffs have shown that he can not at least according to ice time and situations.

    As for Kruger I am saying that despite his nice advanced stats he is also not an impact player. Kruger will never be a top 6 player on a Stanley cup contender. He is a nice player to have in the bottom 6 but at the end of the day the Hawks can’t keep everyone. If the Hawks can retain Kruger at cap friendly deal I am all for retaining him. If he wants a lot of money and his deal prevents the Hawks from signing Saad or Raanti or Smith then NO. I think Smith can fill Kruger’s role with more offensive upside for example so yes players with Kruger skill set can be found.

    The nice thing with Leddy and Kruger are these are decisions that don’t need to be done this off season.

  121. Mike says:

    Leddy and Kruger are exactly what they are….3d pair Dman and 4th liner. I get tired of reading how “overrated” they both are. Who rates a 5/6 Dman and a 4th line center anyway??? But they are both very good in their roles and would have to be replaced with similar talent and similar money (in the long run) if they are allowed to walk. I am not saying spend a ton on them. But I am saying they are Hawks, they know what Q wants and expects, so keep them over others if it makes Cap Space sense. I have no problem with either player.

  122. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Kruger is invaluable to the Hawks. That said, nobody pretends he is top 6 material. But I’ll take the maniacal two way play and supreme PK ability he brings any day. And he can skate. Nordstrom is next in line to emulate.

    Leddy is overrated. That does not mean he isn’t talented and can skate. But if he’s moved in a deal to open up a slot for Clendening or to be a piece to getting a Center, then I won’t shed a tear. Leddy has been beautifully used in the Coach Q system. Let some other team think he is more than a 3rd pairing and a PP point man. They will be very sorry they did.

    Morin will be gone soon. Then we can put a merciful end to the fawning over him. Maybe he can stay and get yet another chance if Bowman can move Bickell’s salary. But that appears to be unlikely for a player who seems destined to join the likes of Pirri, Stalberg, Hayes in some God forsaken NHL no man’s land. And speaking of Stalberg, it took him one season in Nashville to wear out his welcome. Yet all we read last year was how clueless Q was in his assessment and use of Stalberg.

  123. Sr. Brad says:

    JS, I am convinced that this season was an anomaly for the Hawks…in that they all saw a legitimate chance to make history with the repeat and they went for it. Bowman gave Q what he wanted (likely against his better judgement) to “help” the coach have everything he needed to repeat. If you remember, early in the season, Q talked a lot about playing the basic lineup night after night because he “didn’t want to leave points on the table” for later in the season, where every point would count. That’s not opinion, that’s fact.

    Even though last year Q talked a lot about giving his guys “spot rests” to keep them fresh for the playoffs, this year that talk, and action, disappeared. He pushed this team, and his core, more than he has ever done…which is “un-Q-like” and it cost him and the team. Also this season, Q was more “testy” and impatient with his players than ever before. He gave lots of verbal “jabs” at players in the press throughout the season, which is also not like Q. He also dished out a lot of in game “punishment” by benching players, mostly the young ones, for long, long stretches in often meaningless games.

    Bowman seemed to be “on board” with this because he made roster decisions that supported Q’s desires. But I believe strongly this was due to his decision to push all the chips in on repeating, which IS a big thing in this era of hockey. But now that its done, I think we will see a strong reversal. I saw 2 interviews with Bowman and 1 with Bowman Sr. this post season where they made it clear that LA was winning because they rolled 4 solid lines that just kept coming, and that both said, that’s what we need to get back to. After game 4, CBC asked Scotty what was the difference in the series thus far, and he said “LAs got 4 big, strong lines that just keep coming and we have to match that with the guys we have.” They knew what the problem was…heck the whole world commented on Q’s bizarres lineups. Do any of you think for a second that looking back Stan will say, “yeah, it was my fault because I didn’t field a roster of talent sufficient enough for us to roll 4 lines”??? That’s crazy, especially because Bowman knows we rolled 4 lines for most of the season, proving that we had one of the deepest rosters in the league, and we just kept winning with our 4 lines. Thus, Bowman is going to clean up the unnecessary “age” on this roster, and create space for the young players to play…you KNOW this is going to happen because Bowman has structured EVERYTHING on this basis. We are always tight against the CAP, because he has protected the core players with big, long term contracts. This means that we will ALWAYS be tight against the Cap, no matter how much the NHL expands the Cap limit. The ONLY way to move forward is by playing the kids that our organization has built itself around. With Pirri, Hayes, and Olsen, Bowman moved them because HE HAD NO OTHER CHOICE! The wheels of this organization are constantly moving…Bowman has drafted well…he has done an amazing job signing top FA rookies that have come available as well. We are always at 50 pro contracts, meaning we are bursting at the seams with NHL ready or near ready talent. Based on what was going to happen at the end of this season (having to sign the College players), Bowman simply had NO ROOM for Pirri, Hayes and Olsen to go “backwards” if they weren’t going to find spots on the NHL roster because their spots were already filled back in Rockford with new top prospects (e.g. TT, Hartman and Johns later in the season).

    Now I am sure that Bowman felt that none of the three were going to become elite talents, but it must have stung him to move Hayes and Pirri at least, as both show the ability to become day to day top 6 forwards (as they now are), and they just don’t come around all the time. No one, especially the GM of the best hockey franchise in the world, likes to be constantly “backed into a corner” or have their hand tied. Bowman will take the steps necessary, with the help of his Dad, to purge our roster of the failed Q vets and open space up so he can get back to the Hawks plan…1 or 2 prospects moving onto our roster EVERY SEASON.

    Its time for everyone here to realize this. Whether any of you like it or not, Morin (a guy who was the centre piece of Bowman’s trade with ATL for Buff), Nordstrom, TT, Clendening, Dahlbeck, and likely Ross are all going to be given EVERY chance to make next years’ roster. And with each of these guys, they have done EVERYTHING this organization could ask of them…Pirri was a 2 time AHL all star, the youngest leading scorer of the league in history, the all star game MVP, Morin is/was the best forward in the AHL. Clendening has broken most D records in the AHL and is a 2 time League All Star who led his team in scoring, Dahlbeck just finished a season that was so good, that he would never be able to repeat it in the AHL, Nordstrom went from an unknown to making our roster out of camp, to becoming the top Centre in Rockford and playing well EVERY game. Ross, in his rookie season, became the leader on the team, scored at a .5 clip per game, led the team in hits and his physical play, and Dent rotated EVERY young centre who was struggling over to Ross, so he could help them find their game. He’s a bigger, faster, stronger version of Andrew Shaw, with better natural hands, and is as positionally sound a player as you will ever find. These are the immediate future of the Hawks…not Zus, not Rozy, not Oduya, not Bollig, not Brookbank and not Versteeg…and when these options are are the only ones Q has to work with, he will play them.

    Tab and others have commented that Q has shown favour/patience with younger players before, but that’s only been where he has had NO OTHER CHOICE. Kruger, Shaw, Saad all had to be played as Stan Bowman did not have any other better options on the roster. Just look back to all the mediocre to awful FAs Bowman has signed here, AFTER winning the SC in 2010…do you think Bowman did this because he’s an idiot??? Its called giving your talented, but stubborn bench coach no other options. Again, do any of you think that Handzus’ season was lost on Stan or Scotty Bowman??? They absolutely KNEW that Patrick Kane scored only 1 GOAL all season when Zus was on the ice. That they actually had a losing record with Zus in the lineup. That kind of stupidity would get most coaches FIRED. In the LA series, when Q went back to Zus as the 2nd line centre, AGAIN, the Bowman’s must have been getting oxygen therapy to help with their outrage. In the first 4 games of the series (we were down 3-1) Kane had ZERO points. In the 3 games after, skating with Andrew Shaw (hardly the best 2nd line centre in the NHL), Kane had 13 points and we went 2-1…and we only lost the last game on a fluke goal in OT, in a game that we held 3 leads including one 2 goal lead.

    Whether any of you here want to believe it or not, moving forward Mr. 2 SC rings coach Q will be under review in Chicago. Q hitched all the goodwill he has built with this organization onto the “Repeat and/or Die Train”, and we just lost with his bizarre lineups, and poor Special Teams being the key reasons why. Remember, during the 2012 season, after losing in the first round in 2011, and then going on a, what was it, like a 10 game losing streak, Q was reportedly another loss away from being fired. So for Q moving forward, it will also be play the kids or face the consequences.

  124. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    No legitimate playoff team has Pirri and Hayes rolling on their top 3 lines. None, nada, zero. And let’s stop with this ridiculous accusation that Stan Bowman threw away all his good judgment in deference to a manical coach. Bowman is the boss, period. He can walk into Rocky and John’s office right now and say he wants to fire Q and it will be a done deal. As a season ticket holder I get to go to special events and the like over the year. I’ve been in the room twice where Q and Stan were at the table and they both have deep respect and admiration for one another. There is not one iota of discord folks. And let me tell you this too…Q deeply resorts the Bowman brand name in hockey and is very pleased to be in Chicago. It helps that McD, Blunk, Rocky and Rocky’s siblings are also ecstatic with Q.

    You can believe Puff the Magic Dragon from Rockford and all his bat crazy conspiracies all you want. It’s horsecrap.

  125. JS says:

    Rufus- if you can’t see the disconnect between Bowman and Q, you are smoking some really good stuff that I beg you to share with the rest of us.

    Example:

    Bowman: “Pirri deserves a chance to be our 2c going in to next season.”
    Q: “We are going to try Saad at center. Oh, he’s never played it before? Well we are still going to try it because there isn’t another option.”

    Bowman: “Versteeg was acquired for wing depth and help with the PK.”
    Q: “Versteeg will play top 6 minutes and not a second on the PK.”

    Bowman: “Barry Smith is here to help with the power play because Q can’t hire a coach with a clue.”
    Q: “Our PP is amazing and needs no help.”

    I still want to know what Bollig does better than Morin.

  126. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I think/hope that everyone in the organization feels like this team was 1 BS bounce away from making it to back to back cup finals and knows that a few tweaks with the onus on long term success is what this team needs. I don’t think Q is going anywhere anytime soon. This team has a nice window despite Sunday nights outcome. Stan rolled the dice with a repeat of last years roster and it didn’t work.

    However, one of the core guys might need to be moved to accommodate the contracts of Toews, Kane and Saad. Saad should be viewed as a absolutely vital piece to this team moving forward. With a cap you can’t pay everyone, so if Saad is now part of the core that means someone else needs to be moved out. Do the math and follow the money. Toews, Kane, Keith, Hossa, Hammer and Crow aren’t going anywhere.

    TT, Clendening and Stephen Johns are close to NHL ready. All three might be ready to take roster spots next season. So that means Seabs, Sharp, Oduya and others might be moved. Think of the Ducks from a few years ago when their 2 cornerstone players needed to be resigned. Bobby Ryan was sent packing not because they didn’t think he could play but because they couldn’t afford to pay him any longer.

    The next big decision is really what to do with the younger Hayes I think a decision needs to be made with him by July 1st if I am not mistaken.

  127. Section 333 says:

    Bollig gets punched in the face really well. He also seems to an effective bleeder. He excels at taking terrible penalties that put his team at a disadvantage. He is great at posting minuses in the +/- category. Finally, he keeps his spot on the bench nice and toasty and that is not easy because it gets cold that close to the ice during games. But sitting in the same spot for long stretches seems to work. Morin is not anywhere near Bollig’s level in those categories. He just scores goals and stuff. I look forward to watching him in Winnipeg next year.

  128. JS says:

    And Leddy is not a perfect Q system defenseman. Leddy is much more Brian Campbell whom Q had to neuter to have him fit the system properly.

    Anyway, I don’t really agree on the anaomly part, Brad. There has been a pretty obvious rift between Q and Bowman for a while now. I’m sure Quennville dressing Brookbank as a forward while Pirri and Morin sat in the press box was enough to piss him off. Not to mention watching Handzus fail his way through the playoffs while Regin sat in the box wondering how much ass he has to kiss before he can put his skates on.

  129. Sr. Brad says:

    Rufus, why do you bother? Florida had a winning record after Pirri came to their roster…they beat a number of VERY GOOD hockey teams down the stretch, including SJ in SJ…give it a rest…this is the NHL…every team has lots of talent and can beat ANY other team in the this league on a given night.

    Dale Tallon runs Florida and he helped build this dynasty…so just stop with all the disrespectful jabs at that franchise. When Pirri was our 2nd line Centre we had an .800 win %…with Handzus in the 2nd line Centre role, we were 4 games below .500. Do the math, if you can.

    Oh and on top of what JS said, add this one…to begin our magical 2013 season, Bowman said to the press that there was NOTHING wrong with this lineup and that the Coaches, who were now all HAND PICKED , had to find solutions to their previous problems with what they had. Q then decided to start game one with Dan Carcillo on line 1 against the Kings…fortunately for us, that was Carcillo’s last game as a top 3 forward.

    Here’s another question for you to directly answer here Ruf, how do you explain Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp’s #’s this season playing with and without Zus? If you are going to continue posting here, it would be nice if you would answer my and JS’ questions? Thanks in advance.

  130. AJ says:

    Oh here I found some fun facts for all of you who think they don’t need to shake things up.

    This year the Hawks allowed 3 more shots \60 than last year. Had a GA 0.8\60 higher than last year.

    CF and FF were at 53% and shots on goal were 31.3/60 in last years playoffs.

    CF was 47.2% and FF was 46.2% and they only averaged 25.6/60 shots on goal.

    The CF and FF are both disgusting in terms of differential but the total amount of shots is pretty darn anemic.

    Those are not at all insignificant numbers and the neat part about CF and FF is that they eventually even out. See the Avs and see the playoff version of the Hawks. Those numbers are absolute garbage and without stellar goaltending in the first 2 rounds they get bounced earlier.

    I really think the suggestion that they shake up things in a significant way should not be discarded.

  131. Sr. Brad says:

    JS, that one I don’t understand at all. Regin was a very nice acquisition by Bowman to provide speed, responsible play, and depth at Centre…he played very well in the playoffs and down the stretch…not dressing him by playing Zus and Bollig first (for just a few shifts a game) just doesn’t make any sense…Regin can play Centre and Wing and is ACTUALLY responsible defensively, not ALLEGEDLY…

  132. Sr. Brad says:

    AJ just look at those numbers when Pirri and Morin were in the lineup and Zus and Bickell were out…dramatic difference. As I have said before, ADDITION by SUBTRACTION should not be overlooked as a method of success for this team. ALL the pieces are here, they just need to be played together.

  133. JS says:

    TT is going to be the 2C next season. They aren’t going to make a significant move to put someone in that place to block him. MAYBE a veteran type on a friendly deal that Bowman doesn’t have to worry about dragging down the second line the entire season, but they just aren’t going to sign some big name center to a multi year deal.

    What makes sense in my silly head.

    20-19-88
    10-86-81
    29-28-65
    52(ugh)/23-16-11

  134. AJ says:

    I think it is pretty inconceivable for TT to step in and play 2C on a Stanley Cup team. This isn’t a grindy Andrew Shaw or Ben Smith type, nor is he a great physical specimen like Saad or the top end skill level of Patrick Kane to justify throwing him into that fire.

    Maybe on another NHL team that is OK but certainly not one with Cup aspirations. There is zero indication that he can handle 82 games on small ice with huge guys running at him.

    We all remember when Kooga was the 2C of the future and preordained shit before coming yes?

  135. Kyle the kid says:

    Might be a pipe dream… Any chance the hawks trade Oduya and their 1st to move up in the draft? Not really a Bowman type move but I gotta think Oduya is being traded at the draft. Would you rather have another 2cnd and 3rd or a top 5?

  136. JS says:

    Could TT be worse at 2C than Handzus was this year? Especially when flanked with two solid two-way players? Kid has been playing professional hockey for a few years now and probably could have stepped into the role this year. Do I think he’ll be putting up Selanne-like numbers? Hell no. Do I think he makes the PP and 5v5 better? Yes.

    There is also zero indication that he can’t handle 82 games on small ice with huge guys running at him. I don’t see Bowman blocking that spot without seeing what he can handle.

  137. Sr. Brad says:

    JS, those lines are CRAZY…no way Kane skates with Toews, that would, well, make sense…

  138. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    The Hawks will acquire a significant veteran center. No doubt in my mind. Teuvo won’t be rushed and besides, there are still going to be job opening for him regardless acquiring a prime time center. Bowman will be busy. 2014-15 is a year to seize, not come into with blinders on via a few tweaks.

    Also, remember Runblad was added for the princely sum of a 2nd pick. That smells to me like Bowman may be trying to soften the blow of trading Leddy while Clendening develops. Bowman didn’t make this move for the heck of it. It was a precursor to moving defenseman and opening up a job slot or two otherwise.

  139. Sr. Brad says:

    Geez Rufus, I was having a great day until you reminded me of Rundblad…stop it!

    JS, actually the lines are great, you are just leaving Nordstrom off that 4th line rotation. If he put on 10 lbs off muscle this offseason, that kid could be pretty special.

    As for TT as the 2nd line Centre, who knows? I tend to think he might, as he didn’t take his demotion to Rockford very well, which I liked…his response was essentially, I’ll do it, but I thought I played well…I know I can play in this league! Hey, and belief is everything. But if he isn’t ready or is injured, Smith and Shaw have already shown that they can play there. That’s the great thing about adding Morin to the roster, he can slide from the 1st to 3rd line pretty easily with his game.

    And I love seeing Saad on your first line. That kid is a star in the making.

    JS, Wall, others, what does your “gut” tell you with the Defence if Oduya is moved? Because Rundblad just looked awful…

  140. Mike says:

    If Oduya could be traded for a top 5 I think SB would have done it yesterday. I think Oduya gets traded for a mid to upper mid level prospect and a 3d or 4th rounder. Trading Oduya’s $3.4MM for Clendening’s $1MM gives SB a lot more flexibility for Smith and looking farther. Hell, take a fifth rounder for Bollig and SB suddenly has another $1.25MM to play with.

  141. hawks2010 says:

    I have a feeling the folks on this site bashing TT have only seen him play the three games with the Hawks. This kid has tremendous skill. The only reason he wasn’t drafted in the top 5 is because of his size. Skill wise some scouts rated him the number two skill guy in the draft. When he was drafted he was 160lbs. Now he is 185lbs according to what I have read. There is NO way he will be traded for a second line center. Stan and the organization have penciled him in for the 2nd line center of the future. The only debate is if it will happen next year or the following year. Of course TT must overcome Q’s insistence on playing washed up veterans over young guys.

  142. JS says:

    The Hawks were a freaking bounce of the puck away from their third SCF in 5 years… but yeah, LETS MAKE HUGE FREAKING CHANGES BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT BOWMAN DOES.

    As far as Rundblad. Deal still doesn’t make sense to me. The guy put up good possession numbers with Phoenix, but was a mess when he played with the Hawks. It doesn’t help that he’s a similar “type” to Leddy and they were paired together.

    Really, as far as the blue line goes, I wouldn’t be surprised with anyone getting traded. Besides Keith and Hammer, because that will never happen. I’m interested to find out who the organization thinks is ready to make it to the show. Klas, Clendening, and Johns are all probably capable NHL blueliners right now.

  143. morrison says:

    Kyle,
    I do not want to trade 27, just to trade him like some people seem to be wanting to do it just to do it. Hes a good top4 dman and is better then 8, but we cant keep him after next yr so I think that’s why hes makes the most sense.

    I think your idea of 27 & our 1st for a top10 pick is a good idea. What prospects are projected 6-10 pick. D men are rare this summer, so we could get a team that needs an established top4 dman now that doesn’t want to wait for development. A team that is good and not fully rebuilding, etc. Teams that have a top10 picks and fit those descriptions are VAN (6th), ANA (10th), PHX (12th). There are more teams like that that have mid-tier picks but that’s not high enough pick for 27.

    I guess it depends on teams like that and who is available at those picks.

  144. Phil says:

    Hawks2010 I am in agreement about Teuvo’s upside. Patrick Kane came into the league and they said he was too small. TT will likely gain muscle mass, at least enough to deal with the rigors of the tough NHL schedule. The kid likes to play defense, has outstanding vision, excellent wheels, and will help linemates rack up points. As you can tell I am very excited about this young guy, and what he can bring to the Hawks. We have to wait and see how he fits in when camp starts, but unless there is some blockbuster deal that can fill some holes at center on D, Bowman won’t likely deal the TT chip easily.

  145. Sr. Brad says:

    Hawks2010, you are right, TT IS our 2nd line Centre, its just a question of when…and again, I don’t think anyone here devalues his talent, they just kind of cringe seeing him playing against Jarred Stoll and Justin Williams in a game 7 right now…I don’t know how that would work right now?

    Mike, would you agree that if Oduya fetched a 2nd and 3rd in the same draft 2 years ago with not much on his resume, that now, still not very old, and a SC ring and tons of experience against the best lines in the world, that the Hawks would get a 1st rounder for Oduya? I would think a late first or two 2nds…his experience would be huge for a younger, up and coming team.

  146. Sr. Brad says:

    Phil, I don’t see the holes on Defence…Seabrook wasn’t his best during the playoffs IMO, but the Hawks aren’t likely to deal him…really, its Oduya who gets worn down the most against the hard forechecking teams and he’s likely to be the one traded. Bringing in Dahlbeck and Clendening, IMO, makes us better not worse…and as JS said, we were an unlucky bounce from our 3rd Cup final in 5 years…I see our D as another strength next year…and Crawford is just entering into his prime in net.

  147. morrison says:

    T was also not in top10 picks because of the first 8of9 picks being all dmen. He would have been around 6or7th pick at the age of 17.

    I also watched Teuvo play live in Lake Placid for 2 summers & world juniors. Best player there and lots of scouts said best they’ve seen since Kaner (and I am not comparing him to him…). He is going to be good but maybe not right away. I think most people here are saying T might be ahl for first half season and then when he ready play the second 40games and on. Even if its a full season in ahl, were good because 65 or 28 can play center.

    and if he is 185 hes good on weight, get stronger over summer and first half of season. Hes going to get bigger/stronger because of his age, Krugs did the same thing. Krugs was tiny too his first season.

  148. morrison says:

    Nordy should spend the summer in Chicago with Smith like Smith did that summer and got stronger.

  149. ebonyraptor says:

    Put me in the camp that thinks TT is not ready to be the 2C. Comparing him to Kane because they’re close in physical size is neglecting that Kane played on the small ice surface and excelled, not to mention he is a better player than the most optimistic projection for TT. And using “logic” like “TT at 2C has to be better than Handzus” is about as far from a ringing endorsement as you can get.

    The fools’ gold of “they were 7:17 or one unlucky bounce away from the SCF” ignores the fact that (1) the Hawks were outplayed by the Kings for most of the games and also by the Wild for much of the time in the 2nd round and it was only heroics of the Hawks elite players that dragged the Hawks as far as they went, and (2) the other Western Conference teams will continue to improve – the Hawks “standing pat” or making only minor tweaks is in fact falling behind the other teams.

    And finally, whether the “Kane wants Kesler” rumors are true of not – I think it’s almost certain that whatever the Hawks do or not do regarding the 2C position will weigh into Kane’s decision to re-sign with the Blackhawks. If he isn’t convinced that Q will not saddle him with Handzus or some such slug as his centerman, then I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to look at other offers. And Shaw, bless his 3rd line winger heart, nor Kruger, bless his 3C/4C heart, nor TT, bless his not ready for prime time heart, are not going to be the type of center that Kane can play elite level hockey with.

  150. morrison says:

    Wether we trade for a center or not. Sr Brad is right on with the addition by subtraction. We did the same thing in 2012, when we didn’t keep Bruno, Monty, Odonnell, Scott. The next season we were faster and had 4 lines. Same thing again, we wont keep certain players (nothing against 26&32, they played really good in ’13, just had off yrs/age this one). The next season our roster will be faster and have 4 lines again.

  151. Sr. Brad says:

    Great point Mo…in Rockford they usually play just on weekends so there is a lot more time for the weight room. In the NHL its hard to hit the weights 4 or 5 times a week when you are constantly playing and travelling. In fact, most guys DON’T do weights at all during the season. In Rockford, most guys are on the weights 3 times a week. BIG difference. Plus for those who don’t know this, the Hogs have a goalie coach, a strength coach and a nutritionist…the players are taught the process of being a pro which includes getting the right foods, staying in shape and getting lots of rest. There’s more to playing in Rockford than just learning your craft against other pros…

  152. Sr. Brad says:

    Mo, Nordstrom at 200 lbs. is a scary thought (in a good way).

  153. Mike says:

    Brad, Yes I could see teams giving up a late first or a s 2cd and 3d for Oduya. Bloggers are suggesting a top 5 or top 10 for Oduya and one of our picks, that is just not gonna happen. If SB was offered a top 10 for Johnny, I think he would help him pack. Because of the Cap and the need for size and speed, Top 10s are like gold these days. Many successful teams are built around 2 or 3 top 10s in this league and all of the GMs know this.

  154. Negzz says:

    TT may be a special player in a year+, but he’s not ready for the show right now, particularly at 2C. There is no way he’s a good fit to center Kane and whoever next season. Beef him up in Rockford, give him a couple of extended guest appearances in ’14-15 for exposure and to keep his morale up and keep grooming him on the road to success for ’15-16.

    There is no way they will let Smith walk as a RFA.

    Oduya is a cap friendly move at the right time. Could also see someone wanting Leddy more and would not shock me to see him go (instead). That way they’d run 27′s contract down and let him go as UFA in ’15 and fill both holes over 2 years from Rockford.

    Bickell is not going anywhere and he shouldn’t. We need more of these body/skill types not fewer.

    No to Kesler. Only issue is Kane and we’ll see if he takes kindly to a season with 65 and/or 28 as his main guys at 2C..

  155. Frolik Navidad says:

    For those suggesting a veteran 2C, would you guys consider someone like Olli Jokinen? He’s already 35 but at 6’3″ and 215lbs he would be a bigger center the Hawks could use. Being a Finn maybe he can help Teuvo adjust/be a mentor? It obviously comes down to money but if he takes a paycut and the Hawks can still keep Smith, would you guys consider him? Maybe at the expense of Morin.

    Also, in Bowman’s press conference, he said he “expects more” from Versteeg next year so it looks like he’ll slot into a depth winger position.

  156. Frolik Navidad says:

    On FanSided, they argued Joe Thornton is a trade target for the Hawks. They believe Patrick Sharp would be going out west. Do you guys think this is a possibility or would you even pull the trigger?

  157. Negzz says:

    F-N, Jokinen earned $4.5M last year in the Peg. Personally, I am not expecting a big acquisition from Jr. but you never know.. That said, Ollie IS older than dirt so that would clearly appeal to Q..

  158. Negzz says:

    Thornton would 1st have to apologize to 19 a million times for being an Ahole..

  159. Phil says:

    Ah Negzz, I’m still cracking up on your Thorton shot. So true.

  160. Tab Bamford says:

    re: trading for a 2C

    Thornton – 3 years at $6.75M remaining. 2 years overlapping w/ new deals for Saad, Toews & Kane. And he has a NMC (that he doesn’t want to waive). Furthermore, if you really, in your heart, think Wilson would trade his captain to a team he’s chasing OR Bowman would trade Sharp inside the Western Conference for an older player, you need to stop drinking and call yourself a ride home. Even if FanSided is telling you the Hawks should target him (which I laughed at when I read your comment, Mr. Navidad), there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that happens. No.

    Olli Jokinen – you cannot be serious… a 35-year-old with declining numbers who made $4.5M last year. The Hawks need to get younger, not continue renting guys in their 30s for shits and giggles.

  161. Tab Bamford says:

    re: trading Oduya – keep an eye on Barry Trotz in Washington. Needs a top-4 defenseman. They might like an underutilized RFA like Morin as well.

  162. Mining Man says:

    Thornton in a Blackhawk jersey? End times for sure. No. Not ever. All this dismembering a team because of one goal? How about that LA first goal, Carter now proven to have been offsides (Yardbarker) and stick above crossbar for sure. Well its history now, however, how about the NHL tightening up the skill level of ref’s and linesman and not putting in a fellow for his 2nd playoff game ever for a Conference game 7 final. All the work of the GM’s ,coaches and players down the drain over pure incompetence makes a mockery of it. There should be a coach challenge allowed and clarification on a host of problems with video review. That is what we really need. Do we need to round out an effective 4th line? …of course and we will. Just be thankful we don’t have any of the Leafs management team, …then you fellows have something to seriously complain about. Many other darn good teams all looking for much the same so the variables are astronmical …getting Toews and Kane signed top priority #1 red alert starting July 1. Keep your fingers crossed.

  163. Frolik Navidad says:

    Ok glad you guys I agree. Jokinen was suggested on NBCSN and had to look at his stats to see if they were being serious but Negzz is right, Q loves over the hill veterans. I am still a believer in Sharpie so I’m glad we’re in agreement. Thornton would be too much- in terms of both salary and trade assets. Teuvo has to break out in camp. Not for the Hawks’ sake, however, but for me personally so I stop reading ridiculous rumors.

  164. Tab Bamford says:

    If Teravainen is put in a good position to succeed – between Hossa & Sharp/Saad – he could be a contributor on the second line soon. You then skate 88 w/ 19 and the one of Sharp/Saad that isn’t on the TT line and your top 6 is set. If Bickell wants to wear his big boy pants before April next season, that would be great – he could make a third line with Shaw & Smith dangerous if he feels like contributing during the regular season.

  165. wall says:

    AJ- Interesting Numbers – Reg Season vs. PO’s – Corsi/Fenwick

    JS- The Hawks could have- and should have skated that line-up you suggested for next year… it is better than what they just skated!!!!!!!!!!!!

    AJ- I agree some shake up is in order- I finally Agree w/ Your #’s… Ironically- the Hawk’s Numbers Corsi/Fenwick were good all year- But they digressed in a BIG way…
    pretty much what my “EYE TEST” was telling me all year- the Hawks weren’t that Good. They are a very smart team… w/ great finishers… quick D… but not as good as past Cup teams… They lost to LA (who like the AVS)- LA has a lot of skill/finishers… and will beat you in a heartbeat.

    Brad- Runbad- I think is the Hawks new version of BBank… cheap 7th D man for a few years…

    AJ- I would like to see some money moved – let 1-2 Young D men play… and spend some money on another capable Forward/C!!!

  166. morrison says:

    Thornton is better then Stastny… If we did go for guy that high of cap hit 6.7 we would have to trade assests to get him. Stastny could be signed for free, but at 7.5 for 7yrs. I know there will be a lot of fantasy ideas these next few wks, until draft but if we trade for a center I think its that involves a 27/8 type caphit not a 10/7 type caphit player.

    Jokeinen was talked about as an option 4or5yrs ago. If we didn’t take him when he was 30…

    When we needed it Bowman traded for a top4 dman. If there is a deal he will make it. Remember Bowman is creative and smart, not pittsurghsy peeniss mcguire.

    Tab,
    Would it be worth trading 27 & our 27th pick for their 13thpick (would they bit on that, top4 dmen are rare this summer). Speaking of WAS, you think Grabo would be decent. Did he resign or is he still a free ag.

    What would it take in trade to get Vermette. That’s another decent caphit like Nielsens.

  167. morrison says:

    Mining man, that’s the kind of shit that pisses me off. Theres no excuse for that. They should review all goals (that’s when they do tv commercials).

  168. morrison says:

    Frolik,
    Yea that sounds like the geniuses we know from wnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnbc.

  169. Tab Bamford says:

    I’m not sure Oduya is worth 14 spots in the first round, morrison.

    Grabovski was *this close* to being a Blackhawk a couple years ago, but it didn’t happen. At this time, I think the organization is looking to move forward with younger, cap-controlled options like Teravainen more than going out and getting a more expensive veteran.

    One guy to keep an eye on as a potential Handzus replacement could be Vernon Fiddler, a UFA in Dallas who’s 34 and made under $2M last year.

  170. morrison says:

    Thanks,
    Yea I was trying to answer a question from a post here mid-day (when it comes to the move up the draft pick idea).

    Grabo does 50pts/yr at 3m (I found his contract was boughtout… so he doesn’t need more then 3ish). I understand what your saying about younger/caphit controlled guys. I think we get faster with the few no-resigns & who comes in team speed wise (like we did after the ’12 season).

    Fiddler, I ve heard several people talk about him the last yr or so as a pk/faceoff guy when we were at deadline a yr ago… Hes pretty good at faceoffs, not real fast but has good speed, good size, good def fw. Theres are Krugs & Fro for next yr.

  171. morrison says:

    He reminds me of Madden, short stalky good d-fw pk

  172. AJ says:

    Wall its a shame the season is over because it seems like were becoming friends.

    JS. Look at the numbers man. One bounce away but some pretty dreadful stats otherwise. Line balance was awful so maybe Brad is onto something there but either way something’s need to be moved around.

    It doesn’t look like TT did anything really special in Rockford and he was a few steps off in the games up here. While there is definitely potential and probably a high ceiling, I don’t feel comfortable betting silver on it.

  173. MS says:

    I’m a bit concerned that the league continues to get “bigger” but we’re not – despite taking some physical poundings in the playoffs. No question we were one bounce away from another Cup final but we definitely didn’t control the play this year anything like last year. Despite giving incredible efforts on Sunday, I lost count of the number of times Shaw and Krueger were knocked off their feet. Adding TT to the mix makes us even smaller and if Versteeg really does get another chance we will have more than our share of smaller forwards. I believe there is a chance TT spends at least part of the year in Rockford and I’m optimistic that Morin will get a shot next year as well as Dahlbeck as I think we have to develop our talent that also brings a bit more physical play.

  174. Sr. Brad says:

    Wall, re: Runbad, you might be right, but a 2nd round pick (and we draft very well) for a worse version of BB? Yikes…

    Tab, good thought on WAS for Oduya, but really, there are a HOST of teams that could use his services and his experience. Moving him will be easy for Bowman if that’s what he wants to do.

  175. Sr. Brad says:

    Rufus, I thought you’d like to know the headlines this afternoon from the Hawks camp… No Major Changes Coming…here’s a little excerpt from Bowman…

    Nineteen of the 26 players on the Blackhawks’ playoff roster are signed for next season. Bowman said he hoped to re-sign restricted free agents Jeremy Morin, Ben Smith and Antti Raanta. Unrestricted free agents Sheldon Brookbank, Michal Handzus, Peter Regin and Nikolai Khabibulin are not expected to be re-signed. Prospect Teuvo Teravainen is also expected to be included in the Blackhawks’ mix next season.

    I guess a person can be wrong all the time…

    I thought the funniest thing that came from all of today’s interviews was from Handzus. He says he’s not ready to retire…he spent a lengthy portion of the interview stating how badly he was injured from last year, how it prevented him from training this past summer, and in his own words “with a body like mine and my speed, I need to have the summer training”…he apologized to the fans and his team mates at length for having such a bad season, and in particular post season, and felt bad going out this way in CHI who have had no talks with him about returning. If this doesn’t concretely prove Q’s insanity and irrational love for Handzus this season, then nothing does. If Handzus was going to help us come playoff time, then he needed the majority of the season to get back to 100% health. A guy at his age can’t do this by playing every night. It would have also allowed the Hawks to play prospects or other current players like Shaw or Smith in the role and given them much needed experience. Just brutal to read…nothing on Zus, he is such an honest and class person, but what a joke his season was, and this is who Kane was forced to skate with? Incredible.

    As for Kane, he talked, non stop, about his desire to keep playing with Shaw and Saad. Coach Q today even commented that this was likely to be line come the start of next season. Both Saad and Shaw said that they are counting on it, and will be preparing this off season in preparation to play with Kane…the runner up for funniest/saddest comment came from Q… “Kane’s a player that needs a special centre with him…we don’t want it to be Johhny, as when they play apart it gives teams a lot of problems to worry about”…I guess that’s why Kane got that special, half broken 37 year old Handzus this season…Yep Rufus, no flies on Q…

    I guess the nice thing about going forward with Runbad, is that if Q chooses to skate him on the 3rd line RW, he at least can skate…so that’s a big up grade over Brookbank.

  176. Dickie Dunn says:

    ebonyraptor, “…Kane’s decision to re-sign with the Blackhawks. If he isn’t convinced that Q will not saddle him with Handzus or some such slug as his centerman, then I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to look at other offers.” — I still don’t know how much of this is FACT or fiction, but if that is actually MORE important to Kane than winning/possibly winning a(nother Cup or two), than, “Fuck You, Pat” – Go your own way!!! Just my opinion. And, as much of an extraordinary talentwe all know he is – make no mistake (and, trivia: based solely on upside/immaturity, I was against moving him a few years ago when that seemed to be the prevalent opinion here) – he is still an “employee”. He DOES NOT get to set policy for the organ-EYE-zation…and I do not believe for even ONE second that Rocky, McDouchebag, the Bowmans, et al, see it any other way.

    Tab, “If Bickell wants to wear his big boy pants before April next season, that would be great – he could make a third line with Shaw & Smith dangerous if he feels like contributing during the regular season.” — BRAVO!! (“…really captured the spirit of the thing”)

  177. morrison says:

    We ‘sort of’ played short handed in ’11 and a little in ’12, so we could load up on draft picks & prospects when we couldn’t keep 10 of 20 dressed player from 2009 & 2010. We knew we were going to have to do it one way or another, so it was let it bleed and spin tires longterm or take it all at once and better off later. That was smart to take the hit all at once and be better for the longterm. Other top teams (PIT, BOS, etc.) that were above the cap since 2008, choose to let it bleed a little every yr or so (and their farms are 15 & 17)(PIT top heavy, BOS had to trade their top young core player to get some youth in there for depth)(and gave up on him way to early, big mistake). Not good longterm.

    I know we need a center, but we have since we got our team in ’09 (’08 other half of roster was still in ahl). Since then the draft picks/prospects we got from all of those guys & our own picks have been doing there thing. Why fuck with the Calvary of youth (look what that did for LA&BOS this yr) when we have waited for these guys to progress/develop and now(soon enough) are starting to be nhl-ready (whether its our roster or anothers), just to get a center now. During that summer of ’10 Q said to media people that it was really nice to have that kind of depth down the middle (referring to 19,10,36) so Bowman probably thought he was going to go with that for centers… and chiseled out the core based on that… so maybe that summer was the time to get a center, but not after waiting these yrs stacking the farm to keep us fast & fresh (like BOS was this yr with some younger players) for several yrs to come with our wicked core. We got lucky to get 20 & 86 when we did in draft (Karma for doing it the right way and not trying to buy it at deadline, etc.).

    Think about it we have had a really good yr (season & playoffs) every yr since we got our team in ’09, except for those 2 (11&12) yrs we played short handed to get everything set up. The Bowmans Wheel is forming to shape now that our drafted guys are developed and will start coming up over and over and over. (and a lot of them are centers & nasty 2-way fw’s) It just takes time to do it right. These guys are coming and our core players deserve it/to have that quality depth of nasty 2-way role players with them.

    If the league still is letting teams get away with stick work bs, etc, then it will be are turn to stick people and not get a penalty for it. The Hansons.

  178. Big Indian says:

    I haven’t dug deep enough to do the research, so I have a question….When Tuevo T. got signed and got his cup of coffee, there was a lot of media attention, coach and front office interviews etc. I remember a big hullabaloo being made previously after the Hawks brought in LeBlanc and gave him a more brief time at the bigs. What is the status of LeBlanc now? Is he still too raw to be part of the mix for next year, where’s he playing, etc. etc. Just wondering. If any of you have the info I’d like to hear it. Thanks!

  179. wall says:

    Le Blah is SLOW!!! Great possession guy in the O zone- but slow everywhere else…slower than Pirri… Only chance he has- if the Hawks are the fastest team 1-11 forward wise… and they “Hide” him somewhere in between.

    he was a wasted sign.

  180. shamrock says:

    Why not start next season with sharp at center? Why make a trade to bring in a center who will cost about the same if not more than sharp? Also this allows players (morin) to claim that open winger spot. I would just hate to see another prospect traded, particularly Morin, before we see what he really has to offer at the nhl level.

  181. Sr. Brad says:

    If what the Hawks all said yesterday, Bowman included, that Shaw will Centre Kane and Saad, then our lineup begins to take solid shape. Bowman and Q both raved about Smith and said he will be resigned, Ben Smith said there is no other place to play, so its just up to the agent to work the deal. The same for Raanta, he said his agent will get a deal done. Bowman also talked about Morin’s game and how excited he is to see it develop with the top players the Hawks have. Bowman also said that we would see a few new faces, but not in any major roles…that tells us he knows they must have 4 lines, and will likely be a combination of Rockford promotions and a FA signing. Everyone raved about Saad taking it to the next level (I guess they realize its going to take significant $ to resign him so what the heck), and TT will be given his shot. So it isn’t very difficult to lay out the following…

    Sharp-Toews-Hossa
    Saad-Shaw-Kane
    Bickell-Smith-Morin
    Nordstrom/Bollig-Kruger/TT-FA/Matt Carey

    If TT shows up ready to play, he could centre the 3rd line, moving Smith back down to the 4th, giving the Hawks the best 4th line in hockey with Nordstrom not Bollig. After watching the Kings series, I think the Hawks will take a long look at Matt Carey as well. Big body, good skater and powerful shot.

    Also, the Hawks were very MUM on the Defence, other than everyone said it had to be better. That screams red flags to me.

    Also, I forgot to share this with you yesterday, but I was told that Kevin Hayes will sign with the Hawks IF, and apparently this is non-negotiable from their side, it is the same as John’s contract…2 YEARS. He doesn’t want to get buried in the Hawks system. Which sounds very fair to me.

  182. JS says:

    Something funny- I haven’t seen Rufus talk about Phil “Jesus Christ the Savior in training” Danault in quite some time. I could swear that he was supposed to be up “by the holidays at the latest to cement the 2C position.”

    Another odd thing, Sharp/Toews/Hossa was an absolutely ridiculous line during the regular season, but I don’t remember Q looking at it during the playoffs. Did that line get a run that I can’t remember or did Q never go to it?

    I’m not completely in love with Saad/Shaw/Kane, but it’s certainly better than Handzus/Kane/ANYONE. I know Q prefers to break up 88 and 19, but that would be a fun season, statistically, for them to play next to each other for 82 games.

  183. Section 333 says:

    The thing I like about 88/65/20 is that it came become the standard 2nd line but allows flexibility to rotate guys in and out. Keep 86 up and make him the 5th center and suddenly you have interchangeable parts on the 3 bottom lines centers. 86/65/28 can all play 2C, 3C or 4C depending on who you pair them with. Need a big body with 86, put 29 with him. Need the energy on line 2, keep the 88 and 65 line rolling.

    The thing with Shaw is his faceoff % isn’t great (43% on the year) which is why he seems to keep getting moved to wing. But man that line looked great against the Kings. Does anyone have access to what TiVo’s F/O looks like with Jokerit? I can’t find it and the sample size in the states is too small to make any sort of comparison.

    The line up Brad mentions is pretty solid. It would be nice to see see an additional depth forward get added or make the leap from Rockford so that they can actually spell some of the guys during the season. Most of the top guys played every day they weren’t injured. With Sharp and Hossa aging, probably makes sense for them to sit every now and again.

  184. Sr. Brad says:

    JS…so right, the #’s Sharp/Toews/Hoss put up were ridiculous…really, if you look at Sharp’s season statistically, it rises and falls with Handzus. No surprise in the last 2 games of the playoffs when he became free of Zus, he started scoring again.

    Great post 333…that is exactly the value of the Shaw line…it also takes a ton of pressure off of TT and still lets him play in the bigs…that’s why I thought if we re signed Regin for the right price, he would be a nice piece to have…such a good skater, very responsible defensively and plays Centre or Wing…and because of his speed, in a pinch, he could skate on any of the 4 lines. Also, with Shaw’s F/O %, late in the season Shaw made an adjustment at the dot, and he’s been over 50% since, including the playoffs and LA, who are the best F/O team in the league. Just like Kruger, he is learning and improving…so I don’t see it as a problem.

    I hope everyone noticed that during the playoffs against big bad STL, MIN and LA we didn’t need an enforcer once. Playoff hockey is about winning puck battles and enforcing your will on the opponent…Bollig brings NONE of this. That’s 2 playoffs in a row where he couldn’t be trusted and didn’t help…actually he hurt us a ton. This grand illusion with him as a fixture on the 4th line, MUST END this season. He is blocking valuable minutes for the Rockford kids to play and learn. And no one can argue this…we are a potential Cup finalist EVERY SEASON while Toews and Kane are here…and if you, as a team mate, aren’t helping during the playoffs, then you don’t belong. And that’s all on Q.

  185. Kyle the kid says:

    Brad,

    Are you suggesting Versteeg will be moved? If he’s healthy (really healthy) I’d take him over Nordy and Bolly any say.

    Love the lines, thats 2 #1 lines and 2 #3 lines.

  186. Kyle the kid says:

    day… not say.

  187. Sr. Brad says:

    Kyle, at this point I have no idea. Clearly there is something wrong with his knee (fully healed?), but the biggest thing for me was his soft performance and poor attitude. There was no fire in Versteeg’s game come the playoffs and he knows better. I know the Versteeg family and Kris a little bit…super nice guy and very competitive, but what happened to him come the playoffs, I don’t know…If we go back home this summer to Canada, I will get the full poop. A healthy, motivated Versteeg at that Cap hit makes sense for the Hawks…but like I said earlier, if you can’t elevate your game come playoff time, then you are useless to the Hawks.

  188. Frolik Navidad says:

    Kyle, I fully agree a healthier Steeger is better than Bollig or Nordtrom. He would be deadly as 3rd line winger.

    Brad, do you ever recall Versteeg acting this way? I remember him sort of complaining in Florida this year about playing time but I don’t recall him acting like a baby. For instance, Chris Kuc would write how Versteeg would just act lackadaisical in warmups and throw pucks into the crowd on games he was scratched. I would love for him to stay in Chicago and win some Cups. Hopefully over break he becomes fully healed and realizes the opportunity he has here to cement himself on a good team for more than just a year again.

  189. CollegeKid says:

    Anyone think Toews looked like he had a bad shoulder in the LA series?

  190. hawks2010 says:

    I just watched Stan & Q’s press conferences and came away with the impression they are not on the same page. I got the impression Q is not very fond of Morin. Stan on the other hand seemed positive on his future with the Hawks. I also got the impression Stan wants to infuse the team with young players down the road such as 11, 86 , 42 and Kevin Hayes and Q’s attitude was “we’ll see”. Maybe my impression is clouded by the fact that I have never been much of a Q fan. After this season and especially the playoffs, I have very little confidence in Q to give the young guys an honest look and work to develop them. I also have no confidence in his line management and fielding the best 12 players on offense. I know it has been hashed over repeatedly on this blog about his use of 26 and 52. I just will never understand 52 playing 82 games last year and all the playoff games and 26 being matched up with 88. As far as the defense is concerned I thought they were very poor in the playoffs as a collective group. If somebody had told me we would score 23 goals in the LA series I would have bet the house on winning the series. In my mind 27 regressed badly in the playoffs. 32 was just too slow and 7/2 were not up to par.I thought 4 had a good series and Leddy was fair. I would try to trade 27 and 32 and give Dahlbeck and Clendening a chance. I would also like to see the top line of 10-19-88.

  191. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I really hope the Hawks add an actual center this off season. While I would like to see TT in the 2nd line role I am not sure he is physically ready for such a task. I’m also sick of the Hawks trying to fit players in the space. Leave Shaw in the 3rd line, don’t try to fit Saad or Sharp there either. There are plenty of guys that can fill that role that won’t cost a ton of money. The Hawks need a middle of the road center that can win draws and play with Kane. I’ll make the case that with a solid center this season the Hawks beat the Kings and most likely win another cup. Kessler would have been that nice piece, but it didn’t happen hopefully Stan sees that error and rights it now. Here are a few real centers that could help the Hawks win another cup.

    Legwand, David » C 33 DET 83 14 37 51 61 -17 16.98

    Grabovski, M. » C 30 WAS 58 13 22 35 26 6 15.75

    Santorelli, Mike » C 28 VAN 49 10 18 28 6 9 18.56

    Goc, Marcel » C 30 PIT 74 11 14 25 35 -7 16.33

    Ott, Steve » C 31 STL 82 9 14 23 92 -38 18.23

    Steve Ott a guy I’ve been wanting the Hawks to add for 2 seasons now & as Tab had mentioned Fiddler, Vernon

  192. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Another name I heard tossed around is Jussi Jokinen. He is 31 but IF Q uses him correctly the Hawks might be able to squeeze a year or two out of him. He had a nice season last year with Pit and came at a 3 million dollar cap hit and won 51% of his draws in the playoffs.

    Fiddler, Goc and Ott all won close to 60% of their draws in the playoffs. That’s my knock on Shaw is that he isnt a good face off guy.

    The Blues, Avs and Wild(all in the Hawks division) have legit centers if the Hawks are going to knockout those teams again(under the new format that’s how it works) then they desperately need to improve themselves at the dot.

  193. Mike says:

    CollegeKid, Toews probably had a bad left shoulder, right shoulder, back, arms etc. Toews plays in the corners and takes his share of pounding. Add to the fact he was asked to play 22-23 minutes game in and game out. Yeah, he was hurting. But so where a lot of players.

    SSHM, with what SB has to do, Kessler was simply not an option. Even if VAN was willing to part with him for our 2 top prospects, SB would still have to dump at least $5mm in salary from the roster.

    Like I and others are saying, Oduya and Bollig are really the top trade candidates. Bollig cause he is reletively cheap and Oduya because he is worth the money. Who would pay Rosy $2.2MM? Runblad is really not a Cap issue and our top prospects are needed here to help the Cap.

    Yes we could trade a Seabrook or Kieth or Hammer or Sharp but what we get in return has to be better and more useful than what we lose. Besides, Hammer’s deal is such a bargin, he ain’t goin anywhere.

    The Hawks will be better next year without any trades whatsoever. So why put a hole in the ship until you know what 15-16 looks like.

  194. hawks2010 says:

    I do not like the rent a center plan. We have players on the team who can fill the 2nd line center position until TT is ready. 28 deserves a shot at center. I wouldn’t spend any money on another over the hill 30 something discard. We have difficult cap management decisions facing us next year.Do not add more old guys that will eat up cap space. Haven’t we learned our lesson with Handzus. Give Q an old guy with the plan of playing him 10 minutes a game and to work with the kids and you will get an old guy playing 16 minutes a game who keeps the kids from developing. No thanks.

  195. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    hawks2010 I will make the argument that Jussi is not an “over the hill discard” but a legit top 6 forward who played on some awful teams for a few seasons and still put up respectable numbers. While on Carolina he had a 30 goal 35 assist season the year Kaner clinched the Hawks the 1st cup. He followed that up with another 33 assist season and for good measure and another 34 assist season.

    Had a few hurt seasons and struck again for 21 goals & 36 assist this year and added another 10 pts in 13 games for a Pit team that snoozed through the playoffs. He wins at the dot and is a Fin(maybe a nice player to help TT along). He is also the pro hockey talk UFA of the day(I swear I did not see this until after I posted).

    http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2014/06/04/ufa-of-the-day-jussi-jokinen/

    So this Hawks fan is jumping on the SB sign Jussi Jokinen bandwagon!

  196. hawks2010 says:

    According to the article Jokinen played much of the season next to Malkin and Neal. Not bad line mates, I wonder how much of his success was a result of playing with them. I wouldn’t be surprised if Smith could achieve those numbers playing a full season as a second line center. He is 9 years younger than Jokinen and would cost less money. Smith is good on the boards(which we need more guys like that), has good speed and is not afraid to muck it up in front of the net. Smith has also demonstrated the ability to be a two way player. I would be far more comfortable with Smith’s ability to play two ways than a 35 year old guy who played on a team that didn’t know the first thing about defense.

  197. Sr. Brad says:

    Fro…Versteeg does have a reputation for being a bit of a prima donna…I think that its more of him just loving the spotlight…he is not the kind of guy who would take a demotion to a 4th line with Bollig and Zus playing 3 minutes a game very well. BUT HE SHOULD, if that’s for the good of the team. I really think whether he returns or not will be determined today/tomorrow with the exit interviews. Again, a healthy, motivated Versteeg can only help this team, especially with our S Ts…

    SSHM, we are done with the Vernon Fiddler/Mike Johnson/Handzus stop gap centres. The future is now with the Hawks youth. We have Toews, Shaw, Kruger, Smith, Nordstrom and TT that can all play Centre. Let’s go with them and move forward once and for all.

    Mike, I really do hope we trade Bollig…we have now given him 150 games over the past 2 seasons to be ready to help us in the post season, and he can’t…he has to go…because again, the Hawks play for one reason and that’s to win another Cup…and if guys aren’t playoff performers for us, then get rid of them.

  198. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Sr Brad,

    Call me crazy but I am not ready to hand the keys of the Kane line over to TT, Shaw, or Smitty for that matter. I really like Shaw but I don’t like him as a 2nd line center. TT might be that guy eventually but asking him to step in and play a full season and be an impact player in a long playoff run is asking a lot of a kid not able to legally drink yet.

  199. Mike says:

    I like Shaw on wing as well but I agree that we can work with what we have until TT is ready. Brad, I am hoping to throw Regin into the mix at center too. Like I said, right now (assuming Smith, Morin and maybe Regin sign, Zues/BB do not) the team is already better that the 13/14 team. Since we were one win from another SC final, I like our chances with who we have control over.

    I am hoping for some minor depth moves only. Take care of franchise…19 and 88. Have a plan for 20, 16 and 8. Have a plan for Nordy, Clendening and maybe Carey and Dahlbeck. This will keep us in SC contention for years to come

  200. Negzz says:

    Brad- Sorry to tell you in view of your distaste for 52, but there in very little chance that Bollig is going anywhere. Stan just signed him to 3 years and Q uses him (a lot obviously), so what makes you think they’re going to dump him and how?

    Other thoughts: In view of the many posts dumping 32, how is that supposed to happen? Am I missing something? As much as I’d like to have 32′s cap $$ available, he’s not tradeable at $2.2m and he’s not going to retire when he has that coin flowing, he’s staying. 27 and 8 are the one’s on the block for good reason- trade value. As for 23, he’s still under contract, is he a dump in view of the low cost of his share? Does anyone know if his 1/2 share covered salary is tradable or if he’s moved does it negate Fla’s obligation?

    Finally, there were many here stating their enthusiasm for TT’s arrival as a playoff savior this season. Didn’t happen for obvious reasons that I cautioned about before he came to the Windy City. AGAIN- it is far more likely that next year he gets lots of Rockford time and partial NHL exposure (i.e. protected playing time) than becoming the MAN at 2-C. Jeez, he’s just as likely to be a future playmaking winger in the NHL (ala Kane), given his size and skill set as opposed to a superstar C… Would love to be wrong, but don’t think so and will plan to revisit this topic next year (AFTER the giddy training camp buzz and inevitable 1st month sticking with the club for the fans/PR sake.) Like Nordy, we’ll see what he’s doing in December ’14..

    Finally- the related problem with not adding a legit 2C is that is/when Shaw gets injured then you’re back to the same problem- who centers 88 and where do the dominos fall?

  201. Negzz says:

    What is all this “moderation” nonsense?

  202. EbonyRaptor says:

    OK, now that some time has passed to heal the wound and clear the head, and now that I’ve heard from Stan, Q and some of the players in the post-season interviews, I’ve returned to my natural optimistic outlook and am accordingly more susceptible to buy the optimism being peddled by the aforementioned Hawks management and players. Such as:

    Shaw playing 2C – I still think Shaw is better suited as a bottom-6 winger, but the 20-65-88 line looked pretty darn good (albeit for only 3 games). The main thing on this topic is that Kane sounds like he likes it. After filtering his comments through my optimistic lense, I’m not as worried that he won’t re-sign with the Hawks because of the 2C circus.

    With Handzus gone, I’m optimistic Q will be able to roll 4 lines next year so that by the time the playoffs roll around and into the playoffs, all starting 12 forwards should not be gassed (or old and slow) like many of them appeared to be this year.

    It sounds like Smith will be re-signed and I think that is especially good because of his versatility and he’s shown that he is a playoffs performer.

    Versteeg – after that blue line turnover in Game 5, I had finally thrown in the towel on Versteeg and joined the mob wanting to run him out of town, but from Stan’s presser it sounds like he’ll still be on the team next season … and I’m OK with that. I find it difficult to believe that a player with his ability can lose it like that. I think it’s more likely that after another off-season to train and regain his confidence that we will see a Versteeg, maybe not as good as the 2010 version, but one that is a good bargain at $2.2M.

    Bickell – Evan though he didn’t score much against the Kings (neither did his linemates Toews and Hossa going up against and cancelling out the Kopitar line) I thought he had a pretty good playoffs with 7 goals (3rd on the team) and 80 hits (1st on the team, next highest was 41 hits), and I think with the more time elapsed from his knee issues and without the pressure of the first year following a big contract signing – I think Bickell will have a much better regular season and again be big in the playoffs.

    I’m not that sure about Morin because Stan was sounding like he has high hopes for him but I didn’t get the same sense from Q. So about as optimistic as I’m willing to go on Morin and don’t count on anything from him and be pleasantly surprised if he is (1) on the team and (2) plays a significant role.

    And of course TT has a chance to be in the mix next season. I think it’s doubtful he is the 2C coming out of training camp but I’m optimistic he will be a regular in the Hawks lineup before the end of the season.

    I’m more uncertain what will happen in the d-corps – Leddy traded? Oduya traded? Rozsival traded? Seabrook traded? No one traded? Who knows?

    October 2014:
    Sharp-Toews-Hossa
    Saad-Shaw-Kane
    Bickell-Smith-Versteeg
    Bollig-Kruger-Nordstrom

    April 2015:
    Sharp-Toews-Hossa
    Saad-Shaw-Kane
    Bickell-Teravainen-Versteeg
    Smith-Kruger-Nordstrom

  203. Sr. Brad says:

    Mike I agree a hundred…we were UNLUCKY not to advance to the Cup finals where I think we would have won. And remember, had Q given Kane a centre earlier, who knows…but I doubt the LA series would have even gone 7…so what do we need to d0? Not much…getting rid of Zus, Rozy and Bollig might just be enough, as it means Morin, maybe TT, potentially more of Regin, and then the Rockford DMen…I keep hearing a lot about Matt Carey and after seeing how LA just wears teams down by dumping and chasing with these big, mobile guys, who knows..

  204. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Wow. I heard nothing to suggest acquiring a major veteran Center is off the table. I also heard indication that this team is going to have two new defenseman next year.

    This hatred of Q by a few of you screwballs knows no bounds. Take the medication please.

  205. Travis says:

    It’s been three days and I’m still pissed off.

    What the hell else did Regin and Morin have to do to deserve a proper look? What else did Zus have to fail at to be sat? I get the rationale of putting Zus with Kane… you surround a weakness with strengths to “protect” them in the lineup. But is the benefit of Zus in the lineup worth the cost of neutering our most dynamic offensive player? How can you possibly answer yes?

    Just roll 4 GD lines, be aggressive, and we’ll be fine. Remember last year, last game of The Streak vs. Colorado, when our fourth line was on the ice in a tie game with a minute to go? I remember thinking that we’re the only team in the NHL who would even contemplate putting their 4th line out in that situation. Then Carcillo scored, and it still gives me goosebumps. We have to get back to that. Our roster is the best, top-to-bottom, in the league. Use it, Q. ALL of it. Even down 2 in the 3rd period. Even if it costs us some points in the standings. I’d rather have more rested and involved players in the playoffs than home ice, especially since our game is based on speed!

    Whatevs. As far as 2C next year, I think it’s unfair to say whether TT will be ready or not. September is 3 months away (sniff), and you can put 10-15 pounds of muscle on in 3 months. Who knows? Maybe he shows up in training camp and looks like a miniature Chara.

    Whether he’s ready or not, I think it would be unwise to add a rental. We have the pieces in-house, as others have mentioned. Smith has the tools and the mentality. In fact, I might even go as far as saying that he’s a prototypical 2C, especially if he can win at least 50% of his draws.

  206. Travis says:

    And another thing… this whole “backing off the pedal with the lead” is ridiculous. “Protecting the lead” seems to be ubiquitous in clock-based sports. When we led LA, our D didn’t join the rush as much. We weren’t as aggressive. We put our balls back in our pants and hoped to run out the clock. And you knew, deep down, that LA would find a way.

    If other teams want to push the pace to play catch-up, great! I say we push it even faster. We’ll see your aggressiveness and raise you the farm. Good luck beating the Chicago Blackhawks by running and gunning with us when you’re already down by 2.

  207. Espositive says:

    Like Travis, I am still ticked at the fact the Hawks failed to ice their best team against the Kings. At the start of game 7 when it was announced Versteeg was back in the lineup, I knew we were in trouble. Those of you who like to point to his knee surgery as an excuse need to be reminded that the leg bone doesn’t connect to the hockey smarts bone. Mobility isn’t Versteeg’s problem, it’s his complete inability to read the ice and make the smart play. I’m tired of his stupid attempts to stickhandle around in little circles up high on the boards rather than taking the puck to the net, or dishing it off to a teammate. I don’t think this summer will be long enough for me to forget how bad an idea his return to Chicago was.

    Like many, I could not fathom why the Hawks would play Versteeg and Bollig when they had better options in Morin and Regin, but I’ve had an epiphany and now believe the salary cap is largely to blame. Thinking back to last year, Bryan Bickell was to become an unrestricted free agent, and his monster playoff meant the Hawks had to give him a 450% raise in order to sign him for another 4 years. I theorize that Jeremy Morin was held out of the playoff lineup for fear that his contributions would have made it impossible to resign both he and Ben Smith (restricted FA’s) over the summer. The Hawks appear extremely tight against the salary cap for next year, and if Morin had played a name for himself this post season, he’d have attracted rival GM attention and been in line for a more significant payday than the Hawks hope he will command. I don’t know how else to explain why the Hawks dressed Bollig over Morin, given the huge talent differential and the utter lack of contribution from Bollig. I think the Hawks felt they had to do this in order to safeguard their immediate future which includes Smith AND Morin being a part of it. How else to explain it, given that Stan and Joel both know a few things about hockey and most certainly have to know that Morin could have played more valuable contributory minutes than Bollig did throughout the playoffs. Unfortunately the Hawks rolled the dice to protect one key part of their future, and we lost. It doesn’t sit well with me, but in the salary cap era NHL I now understand…

  208. Travis says:

    Interesting theory Es, but do you think that the Hawks would diminish their chances at a Cup, just to pay less for a promising-but-unproven bottom 6 forward?

  209. Espositive says:

    As passionate as we fans are about the Blackhawks and winning at all cost, we cannot lose track of the fact that this is, after all, a business. A good business has to look to the future, and the Bowman era Blackhawks have made it very clear that they don’t want to sacrifice the future for a short term gain. You don’t find Bowman making impactful deadline deals of the kind that require us to give up future prospects or high draft picks (i.e. St. Louis’ deal for Ryan Miller in which they gave up a high prospect AND a first rounder and now have nothing to show for it…tee hee hee). I believe Morin factors into the Hawks plans, and by not giving him a real chance to excel this year on the big stage, they can keep his monetary value lower and cap-affordable. I think teams have to space out their prospects somewhat, since the cap ensures you can’t resign everyone who you’ve drafted once they become above average players. The bottom line is that the Hawks intend to stay competitive for years to come, because winning sells tickets. I have no doubt that Mr. Wirtz has loved every minute of our 2 recent Cups, but he loves even more the prospect of being in the Cup mix year after year, and that means being shrewd and prudent for the present.

  210. Dickie Dunn says:

    Espositive, ” Mobility isn’t Versteeg’s problem, it’s his complete inability to read the ice and make the smart play. I’m tired of his stupid attempts to stickhandle around in little circles up high on the boards rather than taking the puck to the net, or dishing it off to a teammate.” — uh, yup.

    “could not fathom why the Hawks would play Versteeg and Bollig when they had better options…. the salary cap is largely to blame” — at first this sounds REALLY ridiculous, but is there an explanation that makes more sense? Are Q and/or Bowman really stupid or blind? WHY dress a lineup that doesn’t provide the best chance to win? I don’t necessarily agree, but why dress stiffs (add Handzus pretty much because a few other Hawks forwards could’ve played PK just as well)…?

    Unrelated – I’m really hoping Stan Bowman’s kind words about Versteeg is just some sort of clever ruse to not diminish whatever trade value he might have. I’d move him for a 7th round pick, but I’m not the GM (…and, neither is Kane, for those worried about whether an acceptable center figures into his resigning).

    GO RANGERS!!! (Fuck Girardi. Leddy has taken shit…but he never looked that bad.)

  211. morrison says:

    Wall mentioned the Morin cap hit thing in the middle of the season, a few times.

  212. wall says:

    Brad- where/how did you hear about KHayes signing w Hawks???

    Everything I have read- KHayes has been very vocal via Twitter ( I don’t follow)- That KHayes has completely Trashed the Hawks for their handling of Pirri- and he was also trying to bash/instigate issues w Morin/Hawks- saying how can the Hawks NOT play Morin!!! Once again- I have only read these things on other Blogs (3rd Party)…

    If they are true- There seems like NO WAY he signs w/ Hawks!!! Unless other GM’s Are blacklisting him for His Bullshit (which once again- I am reading 3rd party)

  213. Sr. Brad says:

    Wall, I believe I told you this before, I have long time friends, brothers (Mark and Kevin) who are lawyers who work in TOR as player agents for a large firm. From time to time they share things with me Hawks related. They passed the info along on Hayes. Mark said it was common knowledge within the industry. The only stumbling block is the length of the deal. The Hayes camp won’t go past 2 years. The Hawks apparently offered a 5 year deal originally, and then came back with a 4 year proposal. If the Hawks were desperate enough to give Johns a 2 year deal, they will do the same with Hayes. Apparently the understanding is that the Hawks front office have no issues with Hayes, his family, or the tweets. Apparently the coaching staff might. Mark had a LOT to say about the relationship between the Bowman’s and the Hawk’s coaching staff, but I won’t repeat it as its opinion…above is fact.

    Yesterday Bowman and the Hawks spoke in detail about Morin and his future with the team…Bowman said all he needed was a chance (which is what most of us have been saying as he hasn’t been given a fair one by the coach)…here’s some comments…

    Who had the best possession numbers for the Chicago Blackhawks this season?
    Not Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa or any of the other well-known names throughout the Blackhawks lineup. It was Jeremy Morin.
    Morin had a smaller sample size playing in just 24 regular season games, but his statistics provide a glimpse of what he might be able to do if given a full-season opportunity with the Blackhawks. He led the team with a 62.6 Corsi percentage (shot differential) and 12.6 shots on goal per 60 minutes, according to extraskater.com.

    There is a reason the Hawks won at an .850 clip with Morin in the lineup, as he helped that 3rd line to dominate. When Bickell and Zus came back, and Pirri and Morin lost their ice time, we actually had a LOSING record, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp both stopped scoring and many people were saying that Andrew Shaw was a flash in the pan.

    Morin brings a POWER FORWARD mentality to the Hawks, and its exactly what this team needs more of. Listening to Bowman it was clear he sees the strengths in Morin’s game and knows he was restricted by the Coach. Listening to the Coach, he HEDGED EVERY SINGLE COMMENT about Morin. In fact, Q was so uncertain as to what to say about Morin, it came out in a very bizarre fashion. Go back and read the transcripts or listen to it for yourself. Its clear, Q doesn’t like Morin, and as I said a couple of days ago, this is why last season was an anomaly for Bowman. He caved on his roster plan for a shot to repeat…he gave Q what he wanted and it backfired. Now its Bowman’s time. Q can’t stymy a great talent like Morin if he doesn’t have an ancient cripple to block his way with.

    Espo, the Hawks organization wouldn’t ruin a chance at the Cup right now to help sign a player next year…the coach might not play a guy that he doesn’t like and favour veterans though…and that’s all that happened. Also Espo, as to Versteeg…have you ever thought that the reason Versteeg did all that lazy, try to stick handle stuff, was because he couldn’t get a strong first push off from that knee??? I don’t know if that was it, but a healthy, focused Versteeg next year helps this team win in the playoffs. So you have to give him the benefit of the doubt at this point. You yourself know Versteeg’s game and his past value to the Hawks.

    Rufus, stop trying to defend Q…you can’t…Q’s transgressions during the playoffs have gone viral around the net…the whole hockey world is now talking about his decision to stick with Zus as the 2nd line Centre so long, and did it cost the Hawks another Cup. The fact is, you, like everyone else, has to just deal with it now.

    Travis, good thoughts…everything you said was on the coach. I think Bowman will show the Hockey world next year that the problem wasn’t the roster, but simply adding a few pieces to what is already here.

    Good thoughts ER, I would just say that with the Shaw line, they were playing the best, or 2nd best hockey team in the world, at their height, during a 3 game stretch that were the 3 most important games in the season, and LA couldn’t stop that line or counter it. It doesn’t matter that it was only 3 games, it was the circumstances and the WHY! Teams simply CANNOT fully counter the Shaw line because if they do, the Toews line will kill them…add to that a powerhouse 3rd line, and teams simply cannot adjust to that much depth. So as I have said before, all the Hawks EVER have to do is field a serviceable 4h line to eat up minutes, and they’ll win. Kruger Centring a combo of Versteeg, Nordstrom and Regin, would give us that.

    And as for the players and who’s in the lineup, I DON’T CARE as long as they help the Hawks to win. I do NOT dislike Handzus, Bollig or Rozy. In fact, I have always been a big fan of Rozy’s game. But when its not happening, its not happening. As for Bollig, he’s now been given the LUXURY of playing 150+ games with the Hawks to become a forward we can count on come playoff time…HE’S NOT…this isn’t me saying these things because I have “an axe to grind” with Bollig…I don’t care who he is or where he came from…just PRODUCE in the playoffs…in 2 years he hasn’t and that has hurt this team a ton. So Rufus, think, Q’s decision to stick with Zus, Bollig and Rozy during the playoff run, when he benched or demoted ALL of them, and then WON with their replacements, is not only INCONCEIVABLE (I do not think that word means what you think it means…) its INDEFENSIBLE!

  214. Tab Bamford says:

    To Sr. Brad’s point about Hayes’ contract length – 4 year college players automatically receive a 2-year entry level contract. Ignore his “sources” immediately.

  215. Sr. Brad says:

    Mo, the Cap situation was do able, as verified by the deal with the Islanders…Q decided to carry SEVEN DEFENCEMEN this season, and it not only didn’t work, it forced players like Morin off the active roster and out of opportunities to keep playing with us all year long. Remember, down the stretch with Toews and Kane out, when we NEEDED to win a few games just to stave off MIN in the standings…Morin was our best forward and the Regin, Morin, Bickell line was our best. Morin played 1 game in the post season and that line was NEVER given a single look, when Q was searching everywhere for 3rd and 4th lines. And even with those injuries to Toews and Kane, Q FIRST looked to Nordstrom and then newly signed Matt Carey before giving Morin a chance…that’s irrational behaviour.

  216. Tab Bamford says:

    re: wall’s comment about Kevin Hayes “completely trashing the Hawks for their handling of Pirri” – I recommend following him before we start putting words in the player’s mouth/on his timeline. https://twitter.com/KevinPHayes12

  217. Tab Bamford says:

    re: Quenneville “first looked to Nordstrom and then newly signed Matt Carey before giving Morin a chance… that’s irrational behaviour.”

    Morin played 9 games in 2010-11. 3 games in 2011-12. 3 games in 2012-13. If Nordstrom broke camp with the Hawks this year, that’s one thing. But to make a statement that Morin never got a shot is inaccurate.

  218. Peter says:

    SSHM: Why can’t Shaw be a 2nd line center? Is he really that far off from a Riberio type…I still think the biggest knock on Shaw is his faceoffs, not his ability to make the players around him better (or at the very least get them in a position to succeed) and his own ability to score points.

    Sr. Brad, simply put I agree with you that the Hawks will make tweaks on offense and need to utilize the players they have in the system to complete their team. Players like Nordstrom, Morin, TT, Ross do have a place on this team. In a strange way I am okay with paying Bollig a million each of the next season to have him eat minutes in the regular season as long as the other players are also getting a shot to play. Then when these players figure it out, Bollig should never see the ice in the playoffs…imo. The biggest changes for the Hawks next year will be on defense. With Bowman basically saying Brookbank won’t be back, I think Rozy will eventually become the 7th Dman. I can honestly see 1 or 2 of Leddy, Oduya, and Seabrook being moved. Then the Hawks will integrate Runblad, Clendenning, Johns, and Dahlbeck with Hammer and Keith and then the 3rd pair. I think Clendenning and Dahlbeck could already be a serviceable 3rd pair right now.

  219. Mike57 says:

    As much as I have questioned the use of Bollig, he does have a regular season purpose when teams abuse our players. We do need him or Brookbank to take on those type of players that the league just refuses to get rid of, the goons.
    I am in the camp that thinks we need to get a legit 2C, a bigger player than we have currently on our roster or coming up that I see. If that means moving someone like Sharp, Oduya, TT, then that’s what we need to do. If you move Sharp, Morin could fit into that spot, a younger, bigger version of the same player. Paired with 19 & 81 you would have your 1st line, New 2C with 20 & 88 is line 1B. Smith Shaw and Bickell would be a 3rd line that would create match up problems for any team.
    If you want to maintain a dynasty – you can not keep everyone till they have no value. You have to be willing to part with players before they reach the point of limited return.

  220. Sr. Brad says:

    Tab, Morin was given ice time…I’m not saying that…I just mentioned that at the end of the season when Toews and Kane were hurt, Q didn’t go to Morin right away, which obviously should have been his play. He used Nordstrom and Carey first before Morin came back into the lineup, and did a great job…

  221. Tab Bamford says:

    “[Quenneville] used Nordstrom & Carey first before Morin came back into the lineup” = also incorrect.

    Morin played in 9 of the last 12 games of the regular season, including the first 2 games after Patrick Kane left the lineup on March 19. Nordstrom appeared in 6 games, but wasn’t recalled until April. Kane was out of the lineup for 2 weeks – which included 3 Morin appearances – before Nordstrom returned to the Hawks’ lineup. And Matt Carey played in 2 games total.

  222. Tab Bamford says:

    re: the camp that the Hawks need a bigger body than Teravainen at 2C – if you put bigger wings (read: Hossa and Sharp/Saad/Bickell) with him, you’re putting him in a position to succeed because of those players’ abilities and their size.

  223. Tim G says:

    I like how you ended that post Mike… “If you want to maintain a dynasty – you can not keep everyone till they have no value. You have to be willing to part with players before they reach the point of limited return.”

    That is so true with modern sports franchises. Its all about being able to replace what is on your current roster, before its too late. Look at teams like the Patriots in the NFL… they acquired Moss for the 4th round pick… used the crap out of him… find his replacement in Welker… and trade him for a higher pick than what they gave up.. and then used the pick to draft Mallet, who was the “brady” replacement in waiting… Another Example… Trade Richard Seymour (before his value drops) for a 1st round pick. Then trade their own 1st for a future first for a Future 1st in the next draft since they now have a top 15 pick from Oakland. Use that extra 1st rounder to move around in the draft and pick up they player you want and again move the “2nd” of your first rounds for a “future 1st”. Then the next year realize whats on the board and take Chandler Jones with said “extra pick” to then slot into Seymours old spot on the line…

    That is good GM work!

  224. Tim G says:

    Tab- I agree with you on TT/Bigger wings… I want to see…

    29-19-88 (Proven top line)
    10-TT-81 (Probably a Top 3 2nd line in the league)
    20-65-11 (Could be a 2nd line on some teams)… I only keep 20 off the Top 6 cuz I like him and Shawzer together. He is better than Bicks, but this give more Balance.
    52-16-28 (Probably a Top 3 4nd line in the league)

  225. Mike says:

    Undoubtedly, Morin has skills. SB has some sensitivity to him because of how he became a Hawk. Q doesn’t seem to like him…. OK, so what? Are SB and Q gonna fight over a prospect, probably not. Morin simply is not worth SB and Q getting divorced over. SB is building up Morin’s skills to get the most for him before the draft.

  226. Tab Bamford says:

    Personal preference: Keep Saad & Kane together. If you upgrade from Shaw to Toews w/ those two on the wings…?

    I’m also of the school of thought that Shaw is better on the wing. If you skate a third line of Bickell-Smith-Shaw next year, you’ve got a line that can finish and that will undoubtedly piss off whomever they’re skating against every night.

    Of course that still leaves a fourth line to fill… Poor Kruger…

  227. Frolik Navidad says:

    Tab, you’re definitely right that Kane and Saad need to stay together. We all know Q won’t put Kane and Toews together. He does make some head scratching personnel decisions but I agree with this one. Don’t completely overload. 10-19-81 is already dominant enough.

    A fourth line of 16 and 23 rounded out with 52,42,11, or 28 is a great 4th line.

  228. Sr. Brad says:

    If TT makes the Hawks out of camp, and that’s really on TT right now working hard everyday building up his muscle count and mass, it will be on a “lower” line. Based on what I have seen from him, and what the Hawks are saying, TT might get a chance to have or rotate the 3rd line Centre spot, with fewer minutes and less responsibility playing next to Kane. And having say, Bickell and Morin as your wingers, you are still “protected” as Tab mentioned. If it worked out this way, TT could simply play his way on the 2nd line as the season progressed.

    And this is a key point for Q and the Hawks next season…all they have to do is make the playoffs…you don’t need to win your division or the Pres. Trophy…ultimately it means very little. The Hawks need to play a lot of kids next season and get a feel for how they perform under pressure…keep the core rested…Hossa needs more rest…Seabrook and Keith can use it too…a rested, deep Hawks team that finished 7th in the conference would be a lot more dangerous than finishing 1st all banged up and having to play, say, MIN in the 1st round.

  229. Sr. Brad says:

    Fro, you are right…there are NO REASONS to worry or doubt our ability to roll a good 4th line…with Morin being given his shot, he will likely be on the 3rd line with Bickell. Which means that if a healthy Versteeg comes back (and from Bowman it sounds like it), then Kruger,Versteeg is already 2/3rds of a great 4th line.

    For me, I don’t see TT making the Hawks out of camp…and that’s nothing on TT, just no need to rush him into something he isn’t ready for, and an 82 game Reg. season, plus intense post season, would be very tough for anyone, let alone someone slight of build. For me, I see these lines, based on the comments of Bowman over the last 48 hours…

    Sharp-Toews-Hossa (maybe best in the world)
    Saad-Shaw-Kane (unstoppable if they play like the playoffs due to Toews line)
    Bickell-Smith-Morin (huge puck possession, lots of goals around the net)
    Nordstrom/Bollig/Carey-Kruger-Versteeg

    The question won’t be on our forwards or goaltending, its going to be our Defence…who stays, who’s promoted, and how quickly do they improve?

  230. wall says:

    Tab- thx for the link- Like I stated- I DON’T follow/read Twitter, Facebook, etc.

    I was just looking for the “Cliff notes from you or others here” on what Kayes- has been saying… what I READ from third party people- is trashing of Hawks-that is why I clearly stated ( I have read from 3rd party types)… so if I understand you – there has been no trashing of the Hawks handling/not playing Morin/Pirri???

    I trust your take on it… I am a “Phobic” when it comes to Twitter,FB, Linkd…etc.

  231. Tim G says:

    I’d be good with those lines too brad.

    I just like the idea of loading up 19/88… that way TT can learn from Vets like 10/81 as opposed to be expect to make 88 look like the best player in the world. and Saad/Shaw on a “3rd line” is sick… what 3rd line could any other team put out there to match them with out leaving one of the top 2 line completely free to beat up on people? That type of balance can be huge. but if TT doesn’t start from Day 1… then your lines would be completly fine with me.

  232. Tab Bamford says:

    re: Hayes, ESPN Chicago actually reported something nobody else did recently (I know, hold the phones…). Hayes’ agent told Scott Powers that the 2 sides would begin negotiating after the season ended (so, this week). Here’s your link: http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/blackhawks/post/_/id/4683234/agent-hayes-hawks-to-negotiate-again-soon

  233. Section 333 says:

    Tab – opinion on Hossa. He is 35 years old and the inevitable drop-off is coming. Saad is the obvious successor based on his play against the Kings in particular. He just needs more consistency. When the other shoe eventually drops and we can’t ink 81 into the lineup anymore, how does that impact our projected lineups. He has been an awesome force the last 4 years but he can’t keep going at this clip forever. Thoughts?

  234. JS says:

    Kevin Hayes tweeted “#freemorin” more than once. Same tweet that Pirri sent out from Florida. He ended up deleting what he said, but not before the world saw it.

    PS- Tab’s lines sound like they would shape up a lot like mine. It’s probably a pipe dream, though. Q hates the idea of Toews and Kane on the same line.

  235. wall says:

    My 2 cents… 16 and 23 – are a bad combo… both want to pass first- 16 is a terrible shooter (and I like 16- just being honest)…which negates Verbeauties strength- passing… to add Nordstrom- another below average to average shooter- would be a terrible 4th line. 52 – is no good to begin with… so best/only option would be Morin w those two “pass” first guys…

    Unless 23 really improves knee/skating— really don’t like him much anymore- way to careless w/ puck!!!

  236. Sr. Brad says:

    Wall did you see Nordstrom’s shooting % in Rockford??? I don’t think you did. The 4th line isn’t about scoring goals per se, although I do think they would chip in their share. Its about line match ups and puck possession. If we can skate a 4th line for 8-12 minutes a game (based on how much S Ts are used) and they have positive +/- and Corsi #’s we’ve hit the jackpot. This line would do that.

  237. Sr. Brad says:

    And really this point needs to be restated to Hawk fans…this team doesn’t need more goal scoring, we need better team defence…and one of the BEST ways to ensure solid team defence is by skating a 4th line regular minutes so that everyone stays fresh. Crawford isn’t and won’t be our problem…he has hit his groove…for this team to win another Cup, we need better defence than what we had this season. Dahlbeck and Johns will help, but when?

  238. hawks2010 says:

    I agree Wall, any line with 52 is not going to be good. I am afraid Q will play 52 again all during the regular season. Once we get to the playoffs 52′s inadequacies will be obvious to even Q so he will only play him 5 minutes a game. Once again we will be forced to play only 3 lines. I like 16 as ONLY a 4rth line center and pk specialist. So that leaves us with a 4rth line of 52-16-23/42. I for one do not have confidence in the resurgence of 23. I was for the 23 signing but I was wrong. That being said, the real problem on this team looks to be defense. I hope our expectations are not too high for Clendening and Dahlbeck. My guess for next years D is 7-2, 4-8, Rozy/Clend/Dahl/Runblad and fa fighting for last two spots.

  239. AJ says:

    I still have fond memories of when Kruger was “the plan all along”

    I think you see Hossa’s career arc the same way that Selanne’s did and up at around 60-70 points per season and more limited minutes barring major concussions, shoulder or back issues. If Q would start skating him <17 mins \ night during the regular season, I think that would help preserve his legs. Especially for the playoffs.

    The #freemorin tweets were pretty hilarious.

  240. Mike57 says:

    Sr. Brad, it scares me but I agree with a lot of your posts lately. Q will not play 19 & 88 together. Hey isn’t that what makes our power play (cough cough) so special. I love your lines put I still think Sharp has to be moved this season and if we could score a solid dman to play with Dahlbeck on the 3rd pair, move 8 up with 4, we would be better.
    We do need to remember the regular season is just a vehicle to get to the playoffs. How much better would we have been if Morin or whomever was ready to play by playing more during the regular season. How much better would we have been if 2,7, 81, and others were more rested going in to the playoffs. I thought that was the plan going into the season but it seems we got caught up on winning and forgot what the ultimate prize was.
    Tim G – thanks for the Patriots reference, I was thinking about them and the old Islanders that used to move guys and I would wonder why are they giving up on that guy? They were just creating space for the next guy to play.

  241. Sr. Brad says:

    Gee Mike, thanks…I think.

  242. Tim G says:

    Just spitballing here… as far as regular season d-pairing…
    2-Clendening
    8-7
    Dalhbeck-4

    Roll them evenlly… and then when playoffs come around…

    2-4
    8-7
    Dahlbeck- Clendening
    Rolling the top 2 heavier minutes (but they can because no on is over 22 minutes a night in the regular season…)

    thoughts?

  243. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    @ Peter

    You hit the nail on the head with Shaw, its exactly that his face-offs are sub par, especially on a puck possession team like the Hawks. Also the way I tend to look at him is he is a extremely valuable player but is value is as a high end 3rd line center instead of a average 2nd line player. Comparatively to other 2nd Line centers he is middle of the road as far as overall talent. Just look at the 2nd line guys in the Hawks division that were playoff teams; Bergland, Stastny/McKinnon, Granland, and Horcoff/Eakin. How many of these guys would you say is better then Shaw?

    You brought up Riberio. He is a guy I absolutely love because of his play making ability he is a very good passer. He is not an elite setup man like Kane or Jumbo Joe but he is only a notch below. He didn’t have his best season in PHX but that wasn’t a good landing spot for him outside of them paying him ALOT.

    I heard on the Score yesterday(from long time Hawks insider Barry Rosner) that the Hawks are/will be actively listening to offers on Sharp and if the right offer comes in they might move him. They are absolutely discussing it internally this right now.

    Also said he feels like the most movement will come on the blueline. He also expected Oduya or Leddy to be moved before the draft. He said had the Hawks advanced Oduya would have been out game 1 of the SCF because he played hurt and wore down alot during the playoffs. He felt Leddy could be moved because as I had mentioned before Joel still can’t count on him for big minutes & he will have a TON of value on the open market. Last but not least the Hawks are not shopping Seabs, because he heard the organization feels like Clendening and Klas Dahlbeck are ready now and wanted some stability on the back end since those 2 will most likely be moved into the lineup. He never mentioned Johns interesting enough.

  244. Mike57 says:

    Tim G sounds like SSHM is backing up your d pairs with that report. Since we are keeping 32 by all reports, he could mix in to give the kids a vet player presence with limited games played next year.
    The key next year will be IF Q can give guys a nite off once in a while so we stay rested for the playoffs.
    Sr. Brad – it was a compliment. This is the best blog out there for us Hawk fans and even when I don’t agree with you – you keep things interesting.
    We need a new slogan next year like: The CUP – the only goal!
    Somebody has to have something better than that!

  245. wall says:

    Brad- 42′s high shooting %- does not always equal great shot… More likely – he is faster/better skater… and takes/gets better shots!!! Most of the highlites of 42 goals that I saw were- cutting/attacking the net… chipping the puck in… beating the D to loose goals- hardly equates to “Good shooter”. I do like 42 for these attributes… but for him to be most effective- 42 shouldn’t be the BIGGEST player on his line- AND 42 will be the biggest if he skates w 16/23!!!!

    AJ/JS thanks for the assist on the KHayes- trashing Hawks!!!

    Hawks2010- are you my twin brother? I second almost everything in that last post!!!

  246. Tab Bamford says:

    re: KHayes – he was on the #FreeMorin & #FreePirri bandwagons. But it’s telling that those tweets disappeared, isn’t it?

  247. hawks2010 says:

    Wall- I have one brother that I know of and he is a pain in the ass Avs fan. I sure had fun when the Wild took them out. Tim G- Overall I like your D concept. Let the young guys learn by playing next to the veterans 2 and 4. We still haven’t accounted for 32, I think he will still be there. I also do not think Q would trust 2 rookies together in the playoffs. I am not sure I would. I have a funny feeling that at most only one of either Dahlbeck and Clendening will make the team. I just can’t see Q skating two rookies on D.

  248. JS says:

    I think Stephen Johns is going to be a thing guys. And TvR.

    And Tab- much like pooping in the stairwell, he probably didn’t think about the consequences of his actions.

  249. wall says:

    Tab- the telling things about the KHayes tweets/and removing them-
    1.) KHayes was a twat for doing it…
    2.) His agent or Father- advised him that he was being a twat…
    3.) And/or other teams- became dis-interested in him for being a twat!!! So now he must bow his head and kiss the ring (assuming he signs w/ Hawks- which I am still thinking he won’t- unless #3 (nobody is knocking))

    I was real high on him after watching Him/BC (as well as Hino/ND) this year…
    I still think he would/could be a great addition to Hawks – size, Skill, protects puck, skates better/agile than Big Bro… He played very well with G-drou (who is a quick/darting player like Kane)… But then you read about comments like the Twitter stuff- and you question his IQ!!!!

  250. morrison says:

    Don’t be a twatter.

  251. morrison says:

    Kayes sign for 2 yrs. Then you are forgiven.

  252. Sr. Brad says:

    Tim, I like that idea, the question is will Q…the other thing that people aren’t talking about enough is Clendening as PP captain…Keith is a great DMan, but he struggles with the puck on the PP, especially trying to lead or setup the rush. Clendening could improve our PP by 5% and that’s the difference between winning and losing.

    Wall, I agree with you overall on Nordstrom’s game…that’s why if he gets his body to the point of playing around 200 lbs I think he could be a monster player. Do you remember that goal he scored versus DET on NBC during preseason LAST year? He won a corner board battle, brought the puck out front, made an incredibly skilled move around the DMan and then roofed the shoot. And really, these are the best type of players for the Hawks…the Saads, the Shaws, the Krugers…the guys who have speed, play physical along the boards, and are committed to team defence…more valuable IMO than the TTs.

    SSHM, remember Kruger’s F/Os last year? Kruger made a significant adjustment and finished this year in the top 10 of F/O%. Shaw made the same adjustment late this season, and since then he has been over 50%, including during the playoffs, and including the King’s series where he took a lot of draws against Stoll. Shaw is such a competitor, you know he will become very solid that this part of his game.

    Hawks2010, if the Hawks keep Rozy, and it sounds like it, he will “pair” with the youngsters, take them under his wing, and play a LOT LESS minutes this season. Rozy is another player that MUST be healthy and fresh if he is going to help us during the playoffs.

    Wall, as for Hayes, you bet he is immature…most of them are…they’re just kids being asked to grow up in a hurry inside a fish bowl…look at Patrick Kane…if he didn’t have all world talent, the Hawks likely would NOT have stuck behind him with all his transgressions. We are spoiled with Captain Serious!

    As the picture is clearing over the last 2 days, I am feeling very good about next season…the key right now are the young DMen moving up and the Bollig situation. Again, as Mike57 mentioned, the ONLY thing that matters with this franchise is more Cups…and anyone who can’t help us to that end, doesn’t belong. If the Hawks want to keep Bollig then turn him into a playoff stud.

  253. wall says:

    Me likes TvR and Johns too!!! Clenden and McNeil… ehh!!!

  254. EbonyRaptor says:

    @morrison – Don’t be a luddy-duddy! Don’t be a mooncalf! Don’t be a jabbernowl. You’re not those, are you?

  255. MS says:

    Re: K. Hayes – While I certainly hope he signs we should remember that he was a senior with size that dwarfed most of his competition and he played on a line with two other highly skilled players which contributed to his excellent production. If he doesn’t sign it will be disappointing but life will go on. The Hawks hold his rights until August 15 but if he is not signed by the draft I would not be surprised if they traded his rights – assuming they can get something similar to the compensatory pick they receive if he signs elsewhere after August. Too bad there is no do-over as both Tyler Toffoli and Charlie Coyle were picked after Hayes and I love both of their games.

  256. Peter says:

    Tim, I would be surprised to see Keith and Clendenning play together “permanently”. They are very similar D-Men, imo. I would think Clendenning could form the 3rd pair with Dahlbeck or play with Hammer or Seabs. In all honesty, I would keep Leddy and give him more consistent time with Hammer or Seabs too. What I would really like to see would be
    2/7
    8/4
    Clendenning/Dahlbeck
    Rozy is 7th dman and Johns can be worked in after half a year…then watch the trade deadline next year. I have Oduya gone this offseason

  257. AJ says:

    Haha, twat, haven’t heard that in a while.

    Um, I think Johns is going to be a monster. I don’t have any empirical evidence to back that up but the idea is exciting and he certainly has the frame and athletic ability from my brief watching of ND when my weird roommate would flip between college hockey and american idol.

  258. Tim G says:

    Peter. I only split up Clen/Dalh Because i REALLY cant see a situation where Q skates 2 rookie Dmen together. Its going to be a stretch to get them both on the roster to be honest. Those were my “what i want to see lines”.

    Lets face it, in all acutallity we are probably going to get this… (pulls out crystal ball)
    2-7 (over skated in the Regular season)
    8-4
    Clendening- Rosy
    Rundblad and Dalhbeck scratched cuz Q will carry 8 D-men again for some stupid reason

    And Johns, no matter how solid he plays in rockford wont sniff the lineup until 2015-2016 season and replacs rosy on the roster. Then we will be scratched/3rd lined in 2016 to keep his production down so they can resign him on the cheap in 2 years… (much like what i fell they are doing with Morin now)

  259. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I can see Clendening and Dahlbeck platoon for the 6th d-man space and Rosy as the 7th d-man as many have mentioned. If that is the case Oduya and Leddy would both be retained this season unless Stan is hard up against the cap. I think a lot of the back end moves will go hand in hand with the resigning of the cornerstones and how much roster space they will eat up. I think Toews and Kane will probably both get raises in the 2-3 million dollar range. I could see their contracts matching what ANA did a few years ago with their cornerstones.

  260. Tim G says:

    Saw some Rumor Mill type stuff today I found interesting…

    Toronto shopping everyone but Bernier, Kessell, Reilly, and Bozak.

    then saw

    Toronto interested in Sharp

    Maybe some type of deal centered around Sharp for Kadri and a pick? I’d be ok with that We pick up a 2C, who’s contract is up at the end of next year (so no long term salary that could impact 19/88/20 signings). Also opens up salary for the current year to make another move.

    29 or 11/19/81
    20/Kadri/88
    11 or 29/28/65
    52/16/23 or 42 That would be ok with me…

  261. Mike says:

    Tim, On the surface of it I would do that deal if the pick was high enough. BUT, why would Sharp approve that deal. He is a top 6 forward on a Cup contending with 3 years left and all the play time he wants. Sharp is now a US citizen (dual citizenship) so he obviously likes ChiTown. Sharp has a no movement clause so he would need a pretty damn good incentive to waive his NMC.

    I still think an Oduya trade for picks/prospects OR a 2C makes the most sense. This would allow some of our D prospects to play 6/7 Dman. I hope for a D like this
    2 Clendening
    7 4
    8 Rosy / Dahlbeck / Johns
    Unfortunately Rosy has little trade value.

    On the other hand, if SB dumps Rosy for some late round pick(s), then Oduya stays in the fold and the 6 / 7 Dmen will be young guys all year. This would be great as well….and save about $1.4 mm

  262. morrison says:

    Kadri is 22 and going to get better. Hes at 2.9 and not as good as Sharpy/Stastny right now so he should not get 6 or 7 caphit like those guys. Even at 6 caphit why not then resign him for 3or5 yrs at 6m or less. He still would be a ufa (if that’s still 27 with cba…) after a 5yr contract and we could trade him half way threw if we needed/wanted, etc.
    After Tazer, Kaner and Saader contracts kickin, if they get 2.6/2.6/2.5 raise from where they are thats 8.8/8.8/3.3 & Rozy 2.2, Steegs 2.2 and Oduya 3.3 covers that 7.7m in raises. So we can keep Sharpy/Kadri at 6m.
    If were not going to have 10 when hes 35-40 old. Then its a good center or Sharpy.

    10-19-81
    20-65-88
    or
    29-19-81
    20-43-88

  263. morrison says:

    I just really like the 2 and 3 lines that were going to have, as of right now.

    10-19-81
    20-65-88
    29-28-11
    fa-16-42

  264. Hawks2010 says:

    The knock on Kadri is he is not a very good defensive center and he takes the occasional night off. He had 50 pts last year with a -11 +/- rating. At only 23 years old, it makes you wonder why a team like Toronto(in the rebuilding stage) is so eager to get rid of him. I still believe we have the offensive horses in the stable and do not need to trade a top line forward. I think D is a bigger issue on this team. Morrison- I like your lines but how do we get rid of 52? I would trade 52 for a Wrigley Field hot dog and beer.

  265. Frolik Navidad says:

    I would say no to Kadri. He’s so inconsistent and there’s a reason they’ve been shopping him for the last three years.

  266. Martin M says:

    Currently based on who we have on the roster, what’s been said by the organization, what’s needed/wanted by the coaching staff and who fits under the salary cap:

    10-19-81
    20-65-88
    29-28-23
    52-16-11

    2-7
    27-4
    8-32

    50
    31

  267. morrison says:

    If we do trade 27, have 52 go with him. A lot of teams would like/need a top4 dman and in a summer where top4 dmen are rare…

  268. Tab Bamford says:

    My primary concern w/ everyone getting a hard on for 20-65-88 is that Shaw is best as a wing imo. I think a line of Bickell-Smith-Shaw could be dynamite given 82 games to develop chemistry.

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