Blackhawks, Michal Handzus Part Ways

Handzus, 37, posted five goals and 17 assists in 70 regular season games in his second tour of duty in Chicago. He added five goals and nine assists in 42 games over the last two postseasons.

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114 Responses to Blackhawks, Michal Handzus Part Ways

  1. Tony says:

    *shocked*.

    next.

  2. EbonyRaptor says:

    “Parting ways” is obviously the right move to make, I doubt anyone would argue otherwise. That said, I think he took more abuse in the blogosphere than was warranted. He seems like a classy guy and I’m appreciative of his contribution in helping the Hawks win the 2013 Cup.

    Good luck “Zus”.

  3. SouthSideHitMan says:

    Noooooo please don’t let go of Zus! Where will the Hawks ever be able to find a better 2nd line center. Zus did it all, offensive touch, speed game, great teammate!

    In all seriousness thanks for 12-13 Zus you proved me wrong in the playoffs! Congrats on a nice career but its probably time to lace them up for the last time on a NHL team.

  4. Sr. Brad says:

    Great person, had a good NHL career, and I hope he enjoys his retirement…he was a significant addition last year, and with his injuries and the short summer, he simply wasn’t the player he once was…as to his criticism, it wasn’t aimed at Zus, who always did his best, it was aimed at Q for asking Zus to do things that he simply couldn’t do, and thus handcuffing key Hawk scorers…both Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp started scoring in the playoffs once they got rid of Zus…in the case of Kane that was with only 3 games left, and with Sharp only 2 games left…as I said ALL YEAR LONG, Q restricted our chances to repeat for a guy that wasn’t going to be in the league next year…BRUTAL on Q, not Zus.

  5. Scottie P says:

    Sr. Brad I FULLY appreciate and understand the blame you put on Q for this season. 100% agree. Did not dress our best often.

  6. Travis says:

    Kane is gonna have one hell of a hangover tomorrow.

  7. shaacul says:

    So Hawks need two centers instead of. Who that will be? BTW. Hawks would like to have AKne signh before UFA market, he´d like to have a new center to sighn, so that could mean we can expect second center sooner than later.

  8. Sr. Brad says:

    Travis, that’s funny…and TRUE!

  9. Scottie P says:

    Valtteri Filppula

  10. Frolik Navidad says:

    Thanks for the Cup run Zus!!!

    I’m not sure if anyone else heard this, but apparently Handzus didn’t find out about this until reading it from news outlets. I always like to think of the Blackhawks as one of the best run organizations in the world but this seems a little rude. As a key cog these past two years the least the organization could do was tell him thank you and good luck in person, not leaking it to the media.

  11. McKay says:

    I can’t believe Q and Zus gave up all those two goal leads against the Kings and didn’t score in G7 OT. Boo them!

    Good luck Zus!

  12. Big Indian says:

    All in all a great player and asset to the Blackhawks’ organization. I wish him well. I will criticize him for nothing because I thought he always gave all that he had. He played hard and contributed on a great team. He also played injured a lot at an advanced age for hockey and you could tell he was extremely respected by his teammates. Wish him all the best and I’ll remember the good times of seeing him in a Indian Head sweater.

  13. Mining Man says:

    Very nice of you to state that Big Indian….good to see some common sense, appreciation and respect for the man and the Indian Head sweater. Anyone who made it enough to be part of a Blackhawk team deserves our thanks.

  14. Tim G says:

    As with the general vibe, I agree that Zus has earn a big thanks. He was a nice guy and a good teammate (probably why Q liked him so much…)

    The biggest issue i had with him was his use on the 2nd line (as Sr. Brad already pointed out). I vouched for his spot on the roster multiple times, but as a 4th Center and PK specialist. Best of luck if he laces them up next year, but if not… it was a good run Zus.

  15. Hawklover77 says:

    Versteeg should be next!

  16. ZebraGreg says:

    Good luck to Zus; the guy gave everything he had in spite of diminished skills. It wasn’t his fault that he couldn’t deliver what he once did. One thing he did bring to the table was solid veteran leadership and game knowledge. In my book, he ‘ll always be appreciated for his supporting 2013 role and contributions.

    Zus, best of luck and I hope you’ll always consider yourself, first and foremost, a Chicago Blackhawk.

  17. Mike says:

    I will echo all the good that Zus/Q gave us over the past 2 years. The bad is over, no need to say anymore but…………

    SB launches the first salvo by revealing his intentions 2 weeks before FA market starts. I see SB taking control of the roster and forcing his will all the way to the player’s bench this fall. SB let some Tallon draftees go but will not be so eager with his own. I think (and hope) that a new youth movement is under way in the Hawks org. We have plenty of veterans to keep our team in contention and enough talent for our vets to bring them along. This coming season will not be a repeat of 2011.

    On the flip side, I know that SB really likes Runblad which kinda makes me think he wants the D prospects to get a little more time in the AHL. And of course there is the possibility of a Cap purge with Johnny O. Also on the flip side is the signing of Rasmussen. Was he signed to give TT a little more time? Does SB already know that he is resigning Regin so that between them the Hawks can service 2C until TT is ready? Or is Rasmussen just a piece of trade bait?

  18. John Wangsauce says:

    I’ll always remember his sliding stacked shin pad block on the PK and the crowd raining “ZUUUUUUUUUUS!!!” down from the stands. What a great moment. Good luck to a classy player that was often put into situations he shouldn’t have been put into.

    Where is the suggestion of Valtteri Filppula coming from? He’s signed through 2017-18 with a cap hit of $5 mil. Been seeing the name dropping a lot on this blog in the past week. Check out capgeek before naming a player. Let’s get Sidney Crosby for 2C.

  19. Mike says:

    The 2C thing is pretty simple really. You want a 2C that is worth and paid $5mm +, you gotta dump $5mm or more in salary. You can trade Oduya, Leddy and Smith and get your $5mm but now you need 3 players. Too many pieces are needed unless you are willing to let Sharp go. You would need a hell of a 2C for that to happen. Besides, most of our big salary guys have NMC in their contracts. I am not sure SB is going to be a big player this summer. If he is, I will be a bit surprised.

  20. Mike says:

    I have read bloggers say Trade Seabrook and his big salary. But then you need to replace him with at least a Grade B or B+ Dman. That might cost you $3.5mm, leaving only $2.5mm for your 2C.

  21. Tab Bamford says:

    I love how split we all are over whether or not Bowman needs to go big or just tweak around the edges this summer…

  22. Negzz says:

    So here’s Zus’ quote from the Trib after learning of his non-Hawks future: “They have a young guy coming in with Teuvo (Teravainen), and obviously they’re going to give him a chance. They have a lot of great players who can play center. There’s a lot of flexibility.”

    Sounds like the “inside” buzz is that TT has 1st shot at 2C, (as I would have expected.) Regardless of whether he’s ready or not, this logic would largely reduce the possibility of a big 2C play via trade of FA. Further, the idea that Sharp will waive his NMC to accomodate the team makes it a much harder concept than just trading into cap space. Finally, Rosy is not going to walk away from his $$.. SO we’d have to clear 2-3 more easily traded players to make anything to do with a high-end 2C happen.

    Regarding a “big” trade or signing, I am in the camp of “would love to see it but not going to happen”.

  23. Mike says:

    Yep….Big splash or tweaking around the edges. Whichever happens, I would love to hear the private conversations between Q and SB. I am not saying they argue to the point of one quitting, but they obviously do not see eye to eye on a number of issues.

  24. Tab Bamford says:

    If you’ve been around Q or Bowman and heard them talk about Teravainen, it’s no surprise that the “inside buzz” is that they like him as a top-6 center in training camp. They really like the kid’s ability and his development, whether we – the fans – think he’s big/responsible/developed enough or not.

  25. scottie p says:

    A 5 mil cap hit can be absorbed with the cap going up and some players moved around. Get rozy off the books, 6 mil increase, and if any of the oduya/seabs trade rumors happen there would be plenty room. You need to do your research john. If 5 mil is impossible why is tab over here making articles about trading for spezza? Wake up bud.

  26. Tim G says:

    Im seeing some “Hawks have interest in Richards” murmurs on the web today, but at 5.7M for the next 6 years, i dont know what sense that makes. We would have to dump Sharp’s 5.9 to clear space, and sharp’s deal is only 3 more years. If they were going to take on Richards, they may as well just get 20 to buy in as the 2C and roll a 10-20-88 line. (not advocating this… btw)

    I think Spezza makes sense. He would be a great Rental 2C. The cost is the question. But if we can do it from some package of Icehogs/Morin/Oduya then im on board. If OTT asks for TT or Saad, then its no dice. I would consider leddy, but they dont really need him, and i dont want so see him gone anyway…

    I know others here would give up leddy, but I still like him. To me, he is the ideal 4th Dman. Starting 2015-2016, I could see him on the 2nd line with a guy like Johns for 3-5 years (Duncs/Seabs- Lite)…

  27. Tab Bamford says:

    re: absorbing a $5M cap hit – also keep in mind that teams can retain salary now as well.

    With that being said, I’m not a big fan of the Valtteri Filppula idea. I would rather see Brandon Saad given 82 games as the wing opposite either Kane or Hossa. He’s younger, cheaper, and may ultimately be the better player (might be already)

  28. EbonyRaptor says:

    You’re right Tab, I’m about as conflicted as I can be regarding what the Hawks should do – swinging from one position to the opposite position from one day to the next.

    I think the most important thing for the Hawks to have the best chance to win the Cup is for the overall team defense to improve. I’m not sure that acquiring a big time 2C is going to help that happen and if a d-man or two have to be traded to acquire the new 2C, then the team defense may get worse, not better.

    On the other hand, if the rumors are true that Kane has tied his re-signing to the Hawks acquiring a legitimate 2C, then that re-prioritizes the 2C to the top of the list, and raises the question of what a legitimate 2C is. Does the 2C need to be a Spezza or Kesler or can he be a notch or two lower like a Frans Nielsen? And what if Stan can’t get an adequate center without hurting the team by overpaying?

    My head is spinning.

  29. John Wangsauce says:

    I didn’t know Filppula was already on the trading block after just signing a long term deal with TB. Seems like they like him. Sure, you can make it fit now, but what about when the Kane/Toews/Crow deals kick in? Cap goes up, but so do the contracts.

  30. scottie p says:

    I like fillpula bc he can also play center and bowman knows him and yzerman and its an east team meaning they will be more likely to trade us a good player than vancouver or sj or wherever the other centers kane may be demanding are coming from

  31. Scottie P says:

    In reality, I still have the pipe dream of Kesler. I think if they offered a pick, an nhl player, and a prospect they could get it done. While it would probably cost TT or one of the Dmen like Claddening or Johns, I would still do it. Kesler is like a JT junior. He would be a perfect fit to me. An all American line of Kane Saad and Kesler is something any Hawk fan would love. I know that its a pipe dream, but I really feel we could put a package together that they couldn’t refuse. Pick, Bickell or Oduya, and TT or Johns…… its a lot, but this is a superstar player who has 2 years left on his deal and I am confident would resign and has the leadership qualities that the Hawks organization values…. TT would be sad to lose, but at this point is still just a might be, Kesler is what he is.

  32. Joey Zamboni says:

    I love how split we all are over whether or not Bowman needs to go big or just tweak around the edges this summer…

    I hope he goes big on tweaking!!!!

  33. AC says:

    Scottie P, what is Kesler? I like the guy, but since his breakout yr in 10-11, he has become a 0.6 ppg player winning just over 50% of FOs (52.6 last year), rapidly decreasing +/-, consistently banged up, and will be 30 on opening night. I know that it is rumored that Kane is a big fan of his, but watching Kesler over the last few years, I think his game is quickly falling off, and he could be a 4C before you know it. I think Spezza would be a better bargain at this point, even though his +/- is poor (on a poor d team) and he is 2 years older, he has shown better over the last few years than Kesler. I don’t want to lose TT for a player in rapid decline like Kesler, but could see it for Spezza, even if I’m not of fan of trading for either one and giving up TT, I understand that the window for championships is short and needs to be attacked.

  34. Scottie P says:

    Kesler is a 2 way center, and a stud. You cant use the bad team argument for Spezza and not give it to Kesler as well. Sedin sisters are hardly healthy, and he had some good chemistry with Kaner on team USA. He is also a leader and has a hell of a work ethic. He is far from declining, hence why many teams are offering a lot for him, well at least the ones he will accept a trade to. I guess TT would be a lot to lose, though as of now it is a lot of forecast with no sample size, but to me with Kesler you are getting a Selke finalist type center who would go to the net and already has chemistry and a relationship with 88

  35. Tab Bamford says:

    2 issues w/ Kesler talk:

    1) Vancouver is looking up at the Blackhawks; they probably don’t want to make one of the best teams in the league even better, even if it’s for only 2 years.
    2) Bowman doesn’t want to see Teravainen, Saad or another top prospects come back to bite him in the ass as a superstar – and he sure as hell doesn’t want that to potentially happen inside the Western Conference.

  36. Scottie P says:

    Tab I am not sure that the Canucks consider themselves a contender. If they are in rebuild mode, they need to simply acquire the best players they can. 2) Saad isnt in the same category as TT. Saad is arrived and dominating at times, TT has played a handful of suspect games. Saad is hardly a prospect to me, he seems to have shown he belongs in a top 6. Losing Saad is out of the question…. what TT will be is still a long way away from being decided.

  37. Scottie P says:

    as far as not trading him to a contender, most other sites agree that Anaheim is the favorite to get him since they have the picks from ottawa and a good system…. That is the same idea as trading him to the hawks, only in your own division.

  38. wall says:

    Trading- low Cap, RFA controlled quality players… Not a good idea in general…

    Trading guys at end of contract… like 36, 67, etc… fits SB’s M.O.
    so guys like 27,32, 23 ( 2 yrs.) are more realistic options if anyone is moved…

    SB- might even wait for 2015 deadline to see if Hawks are buyers or sellers… the Hawks could be bitten by Injuries, bad luck, etc. and be struggling (doubtful- but could happen)- then it might make sense to move a guy in his last year or two- at highest value to a contender as a 1 year rental…

  39. Tim G says:

    Ana and Stl look like they are bigger players in the Spezza sweepstakes than the Hawks…

    If LA does eat some of the Richards Cap hit for the next 6 years, still what is the cost to get him? They arent going to take cap back…

    and we lock up that spot “long term” what does it mean for Teuvo?

    LA’s roster is pretty much intact, so what would they want? I would guess some kind of prospect package with a variety of contracts… 1- a cap friendly prospect who can play the bottom 6 next year (someone like Nordstrom)… 2- a guy who might fill in for injuries but still a work in progress and could be good (Ross on the high end, LeBlanc on the lower end) 3-then another prospect who could also have an impact sooner than later (like K. Hayes…)

    i would do all that for a legit 2C… All of those guys SHOULD be replacable… but is that enough for LA? do you really give your biggest competition the piece they are missing… and eat some of the cap hit while doing so?

    That just seems like that would be a REALLY bad GM move…. If i’m LA I say TT or Hartman + something or no deal. Make Chiacgo give up a piece they dont want to move or trade him elsewhere.

  40. Scottie P says:

    Tim that would be something to see the Kings and Hawks dealing with each other….. I am not buying that…… Plus they already announced they are not buying out Mike Richards so if he was not in their plans moving forward why would they have not just used their compliance buyout on him?

  41. Scottie P says:

    plus 5.7 mil is a lot for a guy that was skating on lines 3-4

  42. Frolik Navidad says:

    My Richards speculation is dependent on the Kings buying out Richards. That way he would be a free agent. Hence, we would need not to give up assets. So if he’s bought out, he would make significantly less than 5.75. Hopefully he would like to stick it to the Kings by going to their newest rival. Q would like another 2 way center that can actually skate with 88 and 20 and play PK and PP.

  43. Tab Bamford says:

    re: Scottie P – “plus 5.7 mil is a lot for a guy that was skating on lines 3-4″

    I submit to you that, if Teravainen were part of the Blackhawks organization and Kesler was brought in, there’s a strong chance Kesler would be a $5.0M 3rd line center in 2015-16…

  44. Tab Bamford says:

    re: Mike Richards – Richards was banged up all year and was a 4C because Stoll is as good of a 3C as there is in the NHL and Jeff Carter went back to playing center. When you have Kopitar-Carter-Stoll, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about in being that team’s 4C. Richards would be a damn fine 2-3 center for the next few years. If the money was right (HUGE IF), I’d take him in a heartbeat. He’s a winner.

  45. Scottie P says:

    Hey Im not against richards, loved him in philly. Love him as a player too, just think for that number I would rather have Kesler is all I am really saying… Also, the main point I made, is that if you think it is unlikely that a fading Canucks team would deal us a good player, what makes you think the Kings are willing to improve us? I think Kesler is a better center than richards, stoll, and carter. So I just think it is money better spent and with 2 years on his deal. Again with TT I will wait to plug him into the 2C spot over a potential player like Kesler until he actually plays in the NHL. As of now, I think we can obtain Kesler without using TT in a deal and do not think any Kings center besides him Anze is better than him 2 ways.

  46. Scottie P says:

    Frolik Navidad, the Kings have already said they will not be buying out Richards.

  47. Dickie Dunn says:

    “Versteeg should be next!” — Hear, hear!!

  48. Scottie P says:

    and can we all pump the brakes on TT? I understand he is a high rated prospect (#13 according to hockeyfutures), but before we go on and say that in 2 years he will be a more ready NHL 2C than ryan kesler or even any other 2C option on the current hawks I think is premature.

  49. wall says:

    Ville Leino can be had for cheap I hear…
    anybody think he could fit in w/ RaMOOSE–n/TT/Kruger…
    He was one of the best players vs. Flyers 2010… and fell off the face of the earth w/Sabres!!!

    Perhaps he needs up tempo passing team… can’t be any worse than VerBeauty!!!

  50. Tim G. says:

    Scottie- While I do believe we should temper the expectation around TT… The Hawks drafted the kid cuz they saw something in him. So you have to believe he’s going to get a shot. We dont know who will be better in 2015 (TT vs Kesler/Richards/Spezza/any other option) so we get a few scenarios to look at…

    1) If you bring in a Richards (6 year contract) you are covered to bring TT along slowly… but if he is ready in 2015-2016, then Richards becomes a 3 Million dollar 3C for the last 4 years of the contract and that isn’t ideal.
    2) You bring in a Kesler (2 years) and then TT can take over when the contract is up no worries. If TT is ready early then you have another expensive 3rd liner (same issue as Richards) but then if TT isn’t ready, you are in the same spot 2 years from now… and if TT isnt ready, then you hope you have won a Cup cuz Kesler will be 32, and a UFA. If you haven’t won he wont resign to stop gap you another year, and what type of 2C will Kesler be then anyway…
    3) Go with a Spezza, and hope TT is ready in 2015… if not, resign Spez or get the next 1 year guy. Guys who will be UFA in 2015, should we need someone, include Vermette (PHX), Stafford (BUF), and Brodziak (MIN).

    Each idea has pros/cons for sure… but like I said… The Hawks brass drafted the kid cuz they saw the potential. So it seems far more likely he gets his shot sooner than later so im thinking Bowman goes with #3.

  51. scottie p says:

    Well I would say that #3 is the favorite based on the eastern conference factor, though it seems if the 3 spezza and the sens have the highest asking price

  52. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    The Hawks need to make a significant addition at Center and I am convinced Seabrook or Leddy is going to be dealt. Bowman can look at LA, Minnesota, Colorado and St Louis as all the justification he needs. The Hawks were very lucky to make it to the third round of the playoffs and played way too erratically since January. And Lord knows the Hawks must address their ability to handle teams that can skate.

  53. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Mike Richards is a lousy fit for the Hawks and their style of play. Plus he has really eroded on the ice. A big no thanks.

  54. Mr. White says:

    Good luck Zeus!

  55. Name says:

    One thing seems evident to me: Leddy and Oduya are mutually exclusive.

    Other than that, I like the idea of adding David Legwand on multi-year deal.

  56. Sr. Brad says:

    Once again, the Hawks have been built around their core…no matter how much the CAP goes up, the Hawks will ALWAYS be close to the ceiling, as our top players will always be paid what they are worth. So the ONLY way we can proceed moving forward is by promoting youth through our own system, and by addition keys veterans via FA or trades…and to this end, this is ALL Bowman has done since he has taken over. So why any of you are speculating that there will be a “big” move is beyond me. If Bowman was going to address the 2nd line Centre spot it should have been 4 years ago, but he didn’t. And now that Shaw and Smith have shown they can play there, and TT is ready for his chance, why would Bowman suddenly act now?

    Everybody needs to remember this singular fact…the Hawks were an unlucky bounce in OT of game 7 from likely winning yet another Cup…and the only reason the Hawks were in this position is because the HC stubbornly stuck with Zus as the Hawks 2nd line centre, and wouldn’t dress a 4th line that could skate more than 3 minutes.

    Addition by subtraction…the single biggest move of the off season is already done…Zus is gone. This is Bowman taking back his roster from Q, and forcing his hand to play the prospects, which is how Bowman has built this team. Signing a Spezza (although he would only be for a year), or Kesler, or Richards fills a nice void for us, but it would eat up ALL of our Cap space and give Bowman ZERO cap flexibility…it would also deplete our “play now” selection of prospects, giving us even fewer options.

    So if you want to continue to play this game of endless speculation, have at it…but the Hawks only needed two things to have won the Cup this past season…moving Zus off the roster (and now he is) and forcing Q to skate the best possible lineup, and Bowman is working towards this as well.

    The keys over the next few weeks will be the signings of Smith and Morin, and the fate of Kevin Hayes. Not sexy, not glamorous, but then we don’t need that.

  57. Tab Bamford says:

    I agree with Brad’s assessment (gulp), but there’s something we need to keep in mind.

    The prospect pool in Chicago was AWFUL when Bowman took over. Of the kids in Rockford that were legit NHL players, the only guys that weren’t on the Blackhawks already were Crawford & Bickell; we were looking at Jack Skille as the bright shining light in the AHL.

    Bowman has revamped the organization’s depth over the last four years in a remarkable way… but that process is still taking place. If you look back at the 2010 Draft, the Blackhawks intentionally selected mostly COLLEGE-bound players; Hayes, Holl and Johns just finished their NCAA careers and are only now eligible to join the professional ranks. If we look back at the matriculation schedule employed by the Red Wings over the last 20 years, it took guys 3-4 years to make the NHL roster for the most part. Unfortunately, because of the cap implosion of 2010, the Hawks weren’t afforded the same period of time for some guys (Leddy specifically). Thus, we were forced to put up w/ guys like Morrison, Pisani, Montador, etc. But as we move further down the road from the summer of 2010, the Hawks are getting further along their preferred learning curve with kids like Nordstrom and Dahlbeck and even Danault and McNeill. Forcing Q to put the best roster on the ice is one thing; having THE RIGHT PLAYERS is another. The Hawks are an analytics-driven organization, and Quenneville has been pretty open that there are things he still needs to see from Morin before he’s an 82-game player (what those are, and whether or not Brandon Bollig is accomplishing them is another story). But we need to have a moment of pause before running an organization that is still considered to be among the class franchises of the league under the bus because they lost Game 7. The reinforcements are coming – SOON – and are expected to be GOOD. But the Hawks clearly want those reinforcements to get to the United Center on THEIR timetable, not when the fans want to see them. Hopefully we’re close to the end of the Bandaid Era (2010-2014) and we can all happily move into a place where role players are comfortably interchanged internally every 3-4 years.

  58. Tony-O says:

    Very compelling posts and opinions shared by all. This is the place to go for passionate insights – thanks Tab for the best Hawks talk around.

    I keep going back to two different interviews Eddie O gave on the SCORE. When asked what he thinks SB is going to do, he said he believes the roster needs a “JOLT” in both interviews. He did not really define specifically what he meant by jolt, or the magnitude, but did bring up the inconsistency in defensive coverage. Does a jolt mean not re-signing Handzus? Does a jolt mean #10, #7, #27 or others may be headed elsewhere? Or does a jolt mean an influx of youth to the everyday roster? I am torn, but (today) am coming down on the side of Rufus, et al and jolt meaning some key piece of the last 2 Stanley Cups is going to be in another uniform this coming year.

    Eddie O is probably privy to discussions that are going on in the front office and is putting enough information out there to allow us to speculate and discuss, but not too much as to tip the hand of SB and the Hawks. The draft, FA period and 2014/15 season puck drop cannot come soon enough.

  59. Tim G says:

    Im still in the camp of just play 88/19 together. We are having this being issue over “who is going to Center 88?”… but we have a top 3 player in the world on the roster. TT will need some veteran help along the way, so playing him with 10/81 makes sense anyway!

    20/19/88
    10/TT/81
    29/28/65
    16 witha rotation of 52/11/23/42

    done… dont over think it.

  60. Scottie P says:

    Everyone points to the fact that the Hawks were “one goal away from repeating.” 1) that means absolutely nothing moving forward. Next year is a new year, and teams will make additions and subtractions. 2) There were a lot of “one goal games” that could have went against the Hawks in that run. We are not so far ahead of STL, they can beat us next year and we need to keep pace and MIN gave us all we can handle. 3) Thinking the Hawks are guaranteed deep runs every year bc of the past is just hubris. You guys can have your opinions, but thinking you know what Stan is going to do is too much. Adding a FA is not out of the question in any way shape or form. They will be involved in signing and trade discussions. Whether it happens or not is very dependent on a lot of things, but it is certainly not out of the question nor should it be.

  61. wall says:

    Brad and Tab- Re: the “big” move… I agree it doesn’t HAVE to be 7 or 10 “Big” trade…
    But more like 27/32/8 (1 or 2) – big… is where I am going… + 27 will most likely be signing elsewhere after contract- SO- only perfect sense that SB moves him now for something.

    Also, I am still not seeing this great “Prospect” pool… D are better than Fwds…
    Center Prospects??? TT – and??? Danault or McNeill- PLEASE… I like Danault’s skating/checking-BUT not ready…

    They have some speed/checking/types coming… but they will need a little more than that… They will not win with 4 Kruger types skating on last two lines… they will need some 67/36 types who can do a little more…

    Would love to see 1-2 of mentioned D guys moved as well as 23… clear room for a Mid level – Boyle, Bolland type of C- who knows how to play/win/check and can play 2nd-4th lines in a pinch… doesn’t have to be Speeza or Kesler good/big name…

  62. Scottie P says:

    The “organizational depth” got shown how deep it was in the LA series. Our “depth” got destroyed by actual depth. If you expect to promote from within only and then win a cup next year I think that is optimistic, not impossible but will be hard. Also, all this depth is useless when Q refuses to use them. Morin will be gone by the draft, Q has made it clear he does not like him. Nordy is nowhere near the type of player that the Kings or Blues have on their bottom lines. TT is a few years out. Danault, McNeil, not ready. So who exactly are we promoting? I think our D has better prospects for next year than our forwards so a FA signing at forward makes sense to me. If it happens I will not be as shocked as apparently everyone else will be. If it doesnt and we roll with a similar roster, I’d expect the same problems with teams that are maybe not as “organizationally deep” but are 4 lines deep on the ice that matters most.

  63. Scottie P says:

    I am so with you wall

  64. Scottie P says:

    Hopefully the other GMs are buying the quality of our depth as much as Sr. Brad is so we can move some of these future role players for a difference maker.

  65. EbonyRaptor says:

    Why would Stan change his pattern of minor tinkering by trading a player(s) off the roster to acquire a legit 2C? Good question. A plausible answer is that he understands that the Hawks weren’t as close as “an unlucky Game 7 bounce” would seem to indicate. Maybe he understands that other teams have closed the gap and possibly passed the Hawks and that minor tweaking isn’t going to be good enough this time. And finally, maybe there is some truth to the rumor that Kane is fed up with being the odd man out relegated to playing with mere humans when he should have line mates that can actually keep up with him – and the response from Stan to fix that is tied to his re-signing.

    The line of thinking that uses logic to suggest playing Kane with Toews flies out the window because logic does not apply in this case. Q has his own logic and some of it is understandable – such as wanting to separate Toews and Kane to give the opponent two lines to worry about instead of just one. Q is concerned with winning games, not with making sure Kane gets his wishes granted.

    These next 2 – 3 weeks could very well set the course for this team for the next few years. Stan has his work cut out for him. Good luck Stan.

  66. Tab Bamford says:

    wall & Scottie P – please go back & read my comment about the Hawks’ prospects. Clearly neither of you did, and both of you are looking for something that isn’t there.

    Do the Blackhawks have the next Calder winner in Rockford? Probably not. But are Dahlbeck, Johns & Clendening potential pieces to a winning roster? Absolutely. And the forward depth – specifically at center w/ Danault and McNeill – might not blow you away, but how long did it take Saad to hit the NHL roster after he was drafted?

    As I said before, if we are to believe Stan Bowman is using a mindset similar to what Detroit has used for 2+ decades, then it shouldn’t shock anyone that prospects he has drafted aren’t being rushed to the NHL. This is why I have referred to 2010-14 as the Bandaid Years; Stan’s been renting players to fill gaps until the players he has selected have developed to the point that he – and Q – are comfortable w/ their style of play.

  67. wall says:

    Tab- I did read- clearly I am not getting what you are trying to say…

    You agree w/ Brad- that Hawks don’t need a big move… they will improve from within… I simply stated – I don’t see the “improvement” coming from Mcneill/Danault types… and I say- they need more than 16 types… they will need to make some “smaller” big moves… I think they did their Homework on Ras-MOOSE-n… but they need more…

    I really don’t get your Saad statement- it actually goes against what I see in the prospects- going forward/and supports my argument… (they ain’t that good)- unless
    you are trying to say- HERE is a Prospect… ( I guess I am looking forward- 20/65- are not prospects)

  68. morrison says:

    Grabo, I mentioned before because only needs around 3m (getting paid by his buyout contract). Add a Boyle & trade 23, 32 (retires?) & 27?. That would cover their contracts.

    10-19-88
    20-84-88
    29-28-65
    22-16-42/ras-MOOSE

    T-‘you back them up with merlin on ready five’

  69. Tim G says:

    ER- I see Q’s logic of split up 19/88, but are you saying another team wouldnt have to “worry” about a line of 10/TT/81? That is better than 10/26/88.

    81 and 88 are both all world players. 10 is the constant, and I gues what im saying is that 81 with TT is an upgrade over 88 with 26… so why not just skate 88 with 19. Heck for all i care let 29 skate the top line and let 20/28/65 skate line… 3 d-pairing vs 20-28-65… ok im good with that…

  70. EbonyRaptor says:

    Tim G – what I say and what you say doesn’t matter because it’s pretty clear that Q keeps Toews and Kane apart until he feels it’s desperation time. So from the perspective of Kane having a legitimate center to play with, it’s not going to be Toews except for a few shifts here and there at the end of some close games or possibly in the playoffs when the Hawks are down in a series.

    Therefore, the line of thinking that says to appease Kane’s (rumored) “demand” to play with a legitimate top tier center is simply to play him on Toews’ line is not a legitimate answer because while that sounds logical, it won’t happen except for those few desperation moments.

  71. Tab Bamford says:

    2 points to emphasize, wall:

    1) the key to the organization’s depth isn’t that there’s a top line player coming. It’s that the team can internally – AFFORDABLY – replace role players consistently. When you can regularly replace Versteeg with Nordstrom (2.2M to 700k) and Bolland (3.3M) with Shaw/Smith (800k), you then have the financial flexibility to do something more significant at some point.

    2) re: the Saad statement – Saad spent very little time in the AHL (as did Shaw). Before they were drafted, the same argument was made about a lack of NHL-caliber prospects. Kruger was on North American soil for 2 weeks (prospect camp) before he jumped into the fray at the end of the 2010-11 season. This season, we might see Teravainen make the step to the NHL and become an impactful player. The point(s) with Saad as an example are 1) there might be a guy in the system that’s ready to make an impact in the NHL (Johns, Dahlbeck, Clendening perhaps), and 2) there might be a guy in this draft class that jumps through the ranks and joins the club sooner than later. You don’t look at 20/65 as prospects because they held that “title” for such a short amount of time; they were playing at the United Center after brief AHL careers. That doesn’t change their draft year.

    the nice part about the Hawks’ problem is they have 2 superstars in their mid-20s to lead the team moving forward, and have key players locked-up long term around them that creates an impressive, championship-competitive core. Bowman & Q need to fill in around the edges. The 2C discussion will continue until the Hawks do something about it… but my feeling is that they want/expect TT to take that role sooner than later.

  72. morrison says:

    Another thing about Q having 19 & 81 together is going head to head against other teams top lines because of how good they are together d-wise. With 88 its different then… theres more then just moar balance and two top lines for other teams to worry about.

  73. morrison says:

    Plus Shawzer was 20 at draft. Ross was too.

  74. Tim G says:

    ER- I know it “wont happen”… but like you said it is logical, and i wish it WOULD happen.

    it just seems silly to me that we sit here and come up with all these FA signings, and trade rumors to fill the 2C spot for Kane when the issue could be resolved is a logical solution.

    Q just wants to be stubborn… Q has to split up 19/88 even if it means skating 88 with 26. That just seems a little thick-headed. But far be it from me to stop him. He has all those wins and I dont. I love the guy… i want him as our coach. and I will never claim to be a coach or have coached before, but it just seems too easy of an answer. Kane is happy, Bowman gets TT in the lineup, the kids can come in and play.

    I dont see why this cant happen? i know it “wont happen”, but really think… SHOULDN’T it?

  75. Mike57 says:

    Do you guys still see Sharp on this roster next year? This would be a big chance to pick up cap space or the 2C we desire. Sharp coming off a big year and from what I have read, not the most loved teammate. I also think 27 and/or 8 could be moved to make room for one or 2 of the young dmen that appear ready.

  76. John Wangsauce says:

    Where have you read that Sharp is not a good team mate?

  77. Tim G says:

    I think Sharp is on this team for sure. I think Stan starts a mini-cap purge NEXT offseason that begins with 10 and 7. Need to make room to resign 19/88/20.

    Trading 27 and 32 makes room for the young D-men, this year and gives us cap to go out and get a 2C… now, my thoughts are above that I think we should just roll with Tevuo at 2C anyway. I know better than to think it will, but oh well.

    That said, like Tab said before, the Hawks staff will listen to offers for ANYONE. That doesn’t mean they will seriously consider every deal. But if the right one comes across the desk, I’m sure Stan will know what to do. Im sure there are team that would take Sharp, if Stan was just giving him away… but its not like that’s the case.

  78. wall says:

    Tab- thanks for clearing some points up… but I am back to these “prospects” coming don’t yet fill the void of Kopecky/Frolik types… not to say they can’t (And I certainly think Morin is way better than 52 will ever be…) but I am not seeing anyone besides Morin and my Boy TT- Hope he will be an excellent addition…

    To say that 65 replaces 36 – isn’t really valid -cuz they played together on SC team… and If we do say that… then we need someone to step in and replace Shaw’s/points/contributions… and again- I don’t see “the guy” yet…

    I honestly think Hartman and Hino (ND) are closer to those “replacement parts” that can actually play- then Most of the Hog’s Forwards – excluding Morin… (haven’t seen enough of Carey to form opinion)…

  79. Tab Bamford says:

    There are guys coming, but they aren’t ready yet, wall. Guys like Hartman and Hinostroza and Motte and Hayden and Paliotta and Norell and Dahlstrom are the kinds of guys that fill in the gaps with quality over the next decade.

  80. Name says:

    Tab,

    Do you think the Hawks will skate the year with Oduya and Leddy? Or do you think they’ll move one this offseason? I have a hard time thinking Bowman would let a player like Oduya walk after the 14/15 season when he could either trade him for assets now or extend him and move Leddy instead. That being said, if they choose to extend Oduya they could both skate this year on the roster – but the world would know it would be Leddys last as a Hawk.

    I find this upcoming Bowman decision as interesting as what he’ll do (or not do) upfront.

  81. Tab Bamford says:

    @ Name – I wouldn’t bet my next paycheck on Oduya being a Hawk when the season starts. Whether or not Leddy skates a full season in Chicago is a bit of a wild card for me because there are some good young defensemen coming, but I think it’s time for him to take a top-4 spot this year.

  82. Mike57 says:

    John W – Heard the Sharp story from a friend that works at the UC, then read it online (I think it was a French model – so it must be true- haha) somewhere and wondered if it was true. My feeling is sharpie may have peaked and to keep a dynasty flowing you have to move players when you can get the most for them without hurting your core strength. Oduya could also bring value with replacements in the waiting. I don’t think the Hawks need big changes but some change is needed to keep the “dynasty” fluid.

  83. Sr. Brad says:

    Tab I like what you said (GULP) with the Band Aid years, because that’s exactly what they were…no 2nd line centre, taking a big chance in net with Crawford, being forced to add veteran role players like Handzus and Pisani, and a completely over hauled farm system and we still won 2 Cups.

    To Scotti and others, would I like to see us go out and get a Ryan O’Reilly type 2nd line centre and be done with the bloody mess once and for all??? YES! I have been screaming the loudest over the last 4 years for us to do something about this valuable position, and it has definitely now cost us at least 1 Cup. But based on how Bowman has built this organization, it isn’t really possible and will block the path to the NHL for the revamped prospect system…so I have “accepted” what the Hawks have built.

    To Wall, I wrote a response on the prospects for you near the beginning of the “Spezza thread”…I agree with you, and Tab, that the organization isn’t there yet with “top” prospects, but like I argued the Hawks don’t “NEED” them just yet. With TT set to hit our lineup sometime this coming season, our top 6 is loaded, leaving either Bickell or Saad on the 3rd line, which will be loaded. There are lots of seasoned hockey people around the league that are as convinced as I am that Morin is going to be a Brandon Saad-like producer in the NHL. Morin had the highest Corsi # on our team, he has a wicked shot, he’s skates well, he’s a playmaker, he’s physical, and he has toughness. He was also our best player over the last few weeks of the season when both Toews and Kane were out. Now add to those 2, Nordstrom, and what room do we have to add anyone else as a forward? Having been in and around hockey my whole life, I have a decent eye with young players and their development…Garret Ross is the real deal, so is Ryan Hartman and Philip Danault. I know you like Hino but until he suits up in Rockford, I don’t have an opinion on him. There are a number of other prospects developing that will help us in the coming years as well…but until its time to part with Sharp and Hossa, there isn’t any panic…and I would argue that Saad and Morin are the replacements for Hossa and Sharp. What I think you will see Bowman doing from now on in the draft, is taking a few more chances with elite skilled players that may have a glaring weakness to their game, and give them time to become NHL ready. That’s why Bowman drafted Shalunov (see Tarasenko less the drive) and has been incredibly patient with him.

    And the final thing for everyone to consider is this, the Kings will be returning almost the EXACT same roster for next season…like the Hawks and the Bruins, THEY KNOW HOW TO WIN and expect to. Guys like Peter Regin (who’s a good bottom 6 player) and Bouchard DON’ T KNOW how to win and don’t expect to. I appreciate that some of you who haven’t played the game may not understand this, but it is VERY REAL with pro athletes. This is why Bowman went out and traded for Kris Versteeg versus than someone else with our “big” money. Versteeg has won a Championship here. We simply cannot afford to sign a bunch of new players from other organizations and hope they will play championship level hockey. And rest assured, the Kings and Bruins will be in no hurry to trade away ANY of their players who have won championships.

  84. hawkfacts says:

    The speculation on players can’t be real until the Toews/Kane/Saad contracts for 15-16 are known. That year’s cap space (not next year’s) will set the tone.

    But let’s face it. The Hawks score enough. However, as the Hawks’ brass have said, the defense is the area of concern and the biggest fall off from two years ago. I’m not as bullish on Hogs prospects as everyone else here. Big changes (like trading Seabrook?) would be a jolt and probably are needed on defense. I would expect a blockbuster with vets and prospects to see if they could pry away an upcoming young stud defenseman. The Hawks cannot stand pat in their division. The team has to try to get better.

  85. Tab Bamford says:

    Opinion: trading a player you cannot replace internally or in free agency (read: Seabrook) is a jolt you DON’T need when you’re an OT goal away from the Cup Final.

    I’m going to point to Philly dumping Richards & Carter as examples of why you don’t hack up your core when you’re close. There are some good (some GREAT) dynamics on the Hawks’ roster right now, and cutting that up without an adequate replacement plan is foolish. Seabrook (the only physical defenseman on the NHL roster capable of skating more than 12 GOOD minutes per night) is NOT a guy they can replace internally or via free agency right now. He’s a known commodity – in ability and cap hit. However, Oduya can be replaced internally right now; the Hawks can replace a guy who doesn’t block many shots, plays 18-20 minutes a night, and is a slightly above-average puck mover.

  86. wall says:

    Tab- while I have always loved 7… I was the 1st guy here to instigate the “Trade 7 possibility” as a shake up/Jolt… MOSTLY- because :

    1.) Cap reduction
    2.) I think Johns is the closest Prospect= to replacing a core vet in system…
    for example) Cdening does not replace Keith,,, TT does no replace Kane,,, and so on
    3.) Of your top 3 D-men… 2,7,4- — #7 is most likely to “Age” the fastest and slow down… Several games this year- #7 was caught flat footed and torched…

    Then again- Moving #27 and 23 or 32 has about the same Cap effect…

  87. hawkfacts says:

    Tab – usually agree but two points. I’m talking about trading Seabrook or Sharp (if somebody would take him) plus prospects and adding defense via trade. (a guy like Ekman-Larsson comes to mind but there are others).

    Keith, Seabrook, Oduya are all now 30+. Sorry, there is not another stud defenseman on the farm. I picked Seabrook because the trading team can absorb the cap hit and get a decent (not great) defenseman along with some prospects. Oduya can go anytime including the trade deadline if needed but his trade value will be to get more prospects and that is no help in the short term.

    I’m not into riding these guys on the downside of their careers. After 2 years, Seabrook will be gone so let him be someone else’s headache to sign. He’s a good guy but an upgrade is needed. I feel the same way about Sharp but the playoffs exposed both Seabrook and Sharp.

    Finally, chemistry is laudable but look at San Jose and Vancouver – two teams that rode their veterans (and their chemistry) into old age. As for the “foolish” dig, I’m inclined to forget it but remind you that Lombardi pulled the trigger on Gaborik even though the Kings already had excellent “chemistry”

  88. Peter says:

    Tab, I love your reference of Philly from 2010. That was a good team. They were close. It is damning when a team trades their captain and lets another player walk. I honestly think the Hawks won’t do too much and are not going to make a splashy move for a big name 2nd line center. I do think there will be some turnover on D side but I really think it will be 27, 8, or 32 (if there is a taker). The D prospects are probably closer than having a sure fire top 6 forward (which the Hawks don’t really need). I’m going to go all Brad right now…roll 4 lines and a lot of the 2nd line woes can go away (if their is a player there who can skate and win a board battle more than 25% of the time). The Regin line was the best for the Hawks the last 3 weeks of the season. It is almost criminal that line never got back together in the playoffs…even after going 0-2 to start the series with the Blues.

  89. Sr. Brad says:

    But Wall, what Tab and I are saying is that we likely should have won the Cup this year, and as such we don’t need to change much of anything…in fact, my point has been Addition through Subtration…and while I agree with you that Johns is that guy to replace Seabrook (however, I would like to see them BOTH on the roster), he’s likely not ready yet. As Tab said, a “known commodity”…we KNOW that Johns can be a good NHL DMan, but we don’t know when. I think it is soon, but banking on it right now, is dangerous for a team that can very well win the Cup again this coming year. Moving Oduya, a guy who struggles with the strong forecheck of the Bruins and the Kings, can be replaced by players like Dahlbeck and Clendening without us taking a dip in play, plus it frees up Cap space for us, gives us (likely) 2 more draft picks, and helps to open up more spaces in the prospect system for us.

  90. Sr. Brad says:

    Peter, exactly…If Q had gone with the Regin line in the playoffs, even without Bickell, I truly believe we would have been hoisting the Cup right now. Those extra minutes skated by an effective 4th line would have kept Toews/Kane that much fresher to put us over the top. Plus, as I am sure you know, every time the 4th line skated without Kruger during the playoffs, they were in danger of giving up a goal. Bollig’s playoff Corsi # was something like 16%, and he was a -6. And people talk about him being a “lock” for our 4th line again next year? The only thing the Hawks are skating for during the Toews/Kane era is another Cup…ANY PLAYER, no matter who, that can’t skate solid playoff minutes shouldn’t be on this team…that’s one of those 2+2=4 scenarios…

  91. Tab Bamford says:

    @ Hawksfacts – “Sorry, there is not another stud defenseman on the farm.” – wholeheartedly disagree. Dahlbeck, Johns & Clendening can all be solid NHL defensemen, and vanRiemsdyk & Paliotta could be contributors as well at some point down the road. Is there another Duncan Keith in Rockford? No. But if Johns developed into a comparable player to Seabrook and Dahlbeck developed into a player similar to Hjalmarsson, I would take that in a second.

    re: Gaborik – Lombardi pulled the trigger on that deal because the Kings were stuggling to score and needed an ADDITION. You’re calling for a significant piece to be SUBTRACTED from the core. There’s a significant difference.

    Finally, if a guy like Oliver Ekman-Larsson was available to the Hawks, that would be great. But OEL and any other young, superstar-caliber defenseman (which is what you’re advocating) will need to get PAID at some point. THIS SUMMER, the Blackhawks priority is to make sure 19 & 88 are here for a long, long time. Once those two (and Saad) are locked-in, then you start making other considerations down the road.

  92. noonan96 says:

    Totally agree with Tab around Seabrook-I don’t think you can adequately replace him and go for another Cup-
    he brings things that some of the others on the Hawks defense can’t do and he can do it at a near elite level (he did look a little slow, confused at times but that happens when you play north of 200 games in two years and get pounded/targeted often by opposing forwards). Guys coming up aren’t yet ready to replace 7.
    I don’t think they will/can trade Sharp, although I believe if a younger potential top six, or a better second line center option was coming back it would be positive. If you have a true 2C, either internally or via trade, guys like Saad and Shaw can continue to elevate their game on the wings. I hope Bickell goes to the next level, but I’m not holding my breath.
    The hawks can score, I’d like to see a tougher, more physical team that continues to upgrade their team speed which is good but they don’t outclass most teams like they use to (I realize Sharp can skate very well but he is around 33-I have to believe he has peaked and will slowly decline)

  93. Tab Bamford says:

    worth keeping in mind: Patrick Sharp has both a no move clause & a modified no trade clause. He would have to OK any move that takes place

  94. Name says:

    Occam’s Razor:

    Trade Oduya sign a center (Legwand, Jokinen, Grabovski) promote from within.

    Let’s drop the puck already.

  95. AJ says:

    Yea that is why moving Sharp = Salary dump Sharp and why when I brought it up I went straight to dump and not get best value ever. I still think in that scenario there is decent return.

    Wall were agreeing on a bunch of crap still. Weird.

    In my warped world if you can deal with the Rangers; a Seabrook package for Brassard and Staal could be an OK thing. I think a player like Brassard thrives in Chicago where he is the 6th best player. And Staal is a big guy that hits people and can eat second pairing minutes and kill penalties.

    I disagree with the one bounce away notion. They were pretty far from the dominating teams that won in 2010 and 2013.

    Even if they don’t add a top tier player. They still need one if not two competent NHL centers that are actually centers not converted wings. One at the absolute minimum and preferably one that if they aren’t second line material they are shut down city so Toews and especially Hossa can be spared some of that grind.

  96. Tab Bamford says:

    re AJ – dominating teams like the one that lost 3 straight to a mediocre Red Wings team before getting their heads out of their asses? That kind of dominating?

  97. Sr. Brad says:

    A couple of tidbits…the Hawks and Ben Smith have advanced on contract talks…both sides hoping to have a deal done before July 1st. Second, Jeremy Morin finished with the highest % of shots taken while on the ice for a Blackhawk at 35.5% of the time…Hossa was next at 30%. Along with this, Morin had the highest Corsi # on the team, was physical and became a good playmaker to boot.

  98. Tim G says:

    Oh here we go Brad… You are going to start up this whole Morin debate again! (I think this blog has beaten the Morin horse to death! lol)

    BTW, I think he definitely makes a very good 3rd line Winger with the potential to be an average 2nd liner. But if TT makes the opening day roster or we bring in a 2C, he will be relegated to the 4th line/Q Doghouse.

  99. wall says:

    AJ- Another agree on the Hawks were hardly dominating… and -imo- lucky to even be playing in WCF…

    Tab- the 2013 Hawks were dominating (in regular season)… and while they were down to Wings… the Wings did not come back from 2 goals every other game to defeat Hawks- and make them look average!!!

  100. Sr. Brad says:

    Wall, when you are down 0-2 to the Blues and they had home ice advantage, and win in 6, isn’t lucky. We beat MIN in 6, with the game 6 win coming in MIN…hardly lucky. And remember, when this team had either Smith or Shaw as the 2nd line centre, we DIDN’T struggle at all, we dominated. Beating LA 3 in a row was no fluke…we were struggling at times because Zus was the 2nd line Centre (killing Kane and Sharp) and Bollig was on the 4th line forcing that group to very few minutes causing us to roll 3 lines. I mean, come on, you have to call it like it was.

    Tim, sorry about that…the Hawks are working on an agreement with Morin’s camp right now as well.

  101. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Sigh. So sick of this crap that the Hawks were about to win a Cup this season. Guess what? They didn’t. In fact they we’re lucky to survive the Blues (thank you Crow), lucky to survive the Wild (thank you Crow) and essentially got their nuts handed to them by the Kings. There wasn’t a bad bounce or a tragic end to this season. This team limped badly since January. This team needs work ! This team needs to face the reality of a stiffening Western Conference. This team needs to address its suckage against teams who can skate.

    And how much more of this bullcrap philosophy that says all these young players are just going to get better. Sure, there are some great pieces and some promising youngsters also who should improve. But we can’t use this as a sure thing to say nothin else needs to be done. I’ll say it again….if Shaw is the second line Center and Smith is routinely playing up on the third line then the Hawks are a team with weakness in its 12 man forward mix. Also, Hossa and Sharp are most definitely going to be in regression mode from here on out.

    It all adds up to the critical need to make a bold move or two in order to augment a strong core, but a core that needs clear help. I won’t live in denial. The resident turd bag can pontificate to the contrary all he wants.

  102. EbonyRaptor says:

    Do I think the Hawks have to improve in order to win the WCF next season? Yes. Do I think acquiring a legitimate 2C would improve the Hawks? Yes. Do I think acquiring a 2C is the Hawk’s most pressing need? NO!

    The Hawks most pressing need for improvement next season is better team defense.

    There are many factors that go into improving team defense and two of them have already been taken care of. First, the fatigue factor of being the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, often called the Stanley Cup Hangover, will not be a factor next season. For something so nebulous as the “hangover”, there is some truth that the team doesn’t have the same drive the season after winning the Cup. Second, Handzus is gone which is there ever was an addition by subtraction – that would be it.

    So, in my opinion the Hawks will be better in 2014/15 than they were in 2013/14 if they didn’t do another thing this off season.

    And there is another factor that I’m pretty sure will be true and that is that Q and Stan learned a lesson – that they can’t go into the battle of the playoffs short handed and expect to win. Regardless of the size mismatch down the middle, the real disadvantage the Hawks had was they played only 9 or 10 forwards every game and that shouldn’t happen again, and if it does it should result in Q or Stan or both being held accountable. The Hawks have 82 regular season games to solidify their playoff lineup. There shouldn’t be the same lineup jerk-a-thon that we saw this season.

    Furthermore, other that 2C, where are the available lineup slots? The count of forwards is: 19, 88, 81, 10, 20, 29, 65, 16, 23, 52, that’s 10. Then there is 28 if he is re-signed, making 11 forward slots accounted for. Then there are some guys that may make the team – Morin, Nordstrom and Teravainen. We’re now up to 14. The point is I don’t think the Hawks should add any forwards unless it’s for a legit 2C and only then if it doesn’t hurt team defense.

    So, at the very least the team defense should be improved because the team isn’t fatigued from partying with the Cup all summer, they don’t have the anchor named Handzus, and they should be able to ice a solid 4 lines capable of playing the Hawks’ fast puck possession game. If they make a trade, I would rather see them get a better #6 d-man because Rozsival was slow last season and probably isn’t going to get faster.

  103. Tim G says:

    Well said in those last 2 paragraphs ER… I fully agree.

    The only moves I think we “need” are to move Oduya while we can still get tangable pieces back, and to like you said upgrade the overall defense. We have plenty of FWDs. The only FWD/C move that makes sense would involve moving 23 to open up a roster spot for a 2C but there isnt much of a market for a True 2C right now… a 3C is more likely… Maybe thats Boyle… he is a big Center who can take faceoffs and play the PK (replaces what Zus did). But lets not kid ourselve and think Boyle is a 2C… he is a 3/4C through and through, so that puts Shaw as the 2C with 88/20 and Boyle/Bicks/Smith on a line (which actually now that i say that in my head im ok with it) with 52/16/11 on the 4th. That gives TT a year if he needs it… or even you scratch 52 and go with a 11/16/TT every now and then. Lets TT play on the Right, he can rotate in on Faceoffs if someone gets kicked out, but also limits his minutes.

    But as you said it… we saw some really bad team D at stretches of the season, so that should be the focus.

  104. AJ says:

    Meh, I would say that the 33.3 shots for and 27.6 shots against over 23 games related to the bigger picture is pretty dominating. Especially when compared to the -3 shot differential they had this year, which is abhorrent for this group (26 shots for, 28 against over 60 bad bad bad).

    On paper the Hawks were the superior team that series but the Wings are the Wings and made it interesting. Seeing as how they have the best coach in hockey and 2 brilliant hockey players they are always dangerous and Q kind of Q’d himself. Case in point for putting your best players in the best situation for success. An abstract concept that “won a buncha games with holotta talent” Q doesn’t seem to fully grasp.

    I don’t expect end to end domination, that is silly, but handily beating the Wild for the most part and stepping on the jugular of a wounded kings team was awesome. They took that dead animal and put it out of its misery. And you know 2 outta 3 ain’t bad.

    At the end of the day, with the core they have, this Hawks team/core should never ever be negative in terms of shot differential in the playoffs. Incompetent roster management and dastardly line up decisions were a big problem but I feel like with some stabilization up the middle of the ice they can gain more flexibility and be a much better team.

    There doesn’t need to be a block buster trade. I’d like to see one because it would entertain the hell out of me with fans losing their minds and all that jazz but I disagree with the notion that they can sit on their hands because “one bounce”

  105. wall says:

    I agree with parts of both of the last two posts… the Team D needs to get better… Moreover, the Hawks were stung in transition at a very high rate… seemed like we would be 3 on 2, or 4 on 3… if Hawks didn’t capitalize… it was shoved right back at us… and the “quick/high-end” teams like Avs/Kings – bitch slapped the Hawks…

    And Yes, Zus gone makes Hawks faster… But they will still need big improvement in not turning over the Puck vs. Good hard forecheck… Nordstrom ( I like everywhere on ice- except this department)… Versteeg ( was terrible in trying to execute “Cute” plays)…

    Would love to see 23 gone (SB- will not admit mistake)…

    I am still very hopeful that Ras-MOOSEn will meet a lot of the “Boyle” attributes… and be a BIG asset.

  106. Tim G says:

    Rasumssen may very well be the “Boyle” move I illustrated above… Something that ends up looking like

    10-19-81
    20-65-88
    29-16-28
    11-Ras-42 (that actually sounds like a very high potential line)
    52-23

    But let’s face it… its up to Q, so the bottom 6 will probably be something closer to…
    29-28-23
    52-16-Ras/42
    Scratch 11 and 42 or Ras

  107. wall says:

    To further HOPE/beat on the MOOSE call… Everything I read scouting report wise…
    He Is Big, Strong, Defensive minded player/PK guy… AND He still managed to score in top 10 SHL…

    Hawks just need him to be the Bigger/Faster/Defensive guy… the rest is Icing on the cake!

  108. Tim G says:

    While he was 10th in points in the SHL, he was used in a 4th line type role at the IIHF’s this past year. Only 1 point in 9 games (about 7 minutes a game), so I wouldn’t “expect the scoring/points” if we use him in a similar role. But that said, the potential is obviously there.

    The big question would be… is the kid “NHL Ready”? If stan thinks so, we wont see a move until he gets his shot… and then if he flounders, Stan will make a move at the deadline for an aged Center/bandaid type like he did with Zus a few years ago.

    If stan doesnt see it and Ras is nothing more than AHL depth/NHL insurance then we might still see a boyle or something like that.

  109. morrison says:

    RasMOOSE

  110. Omar says:

    I would love to see SB force Q to use young players. Remove 23, 32 and 52 and Q will HAVE to start developing the younger talent. The reason we were in a pickle during the playoffs is Q trusted guys who weren’t preforming while the guys with the spark he didn’t trust enough (lack of playing time, development in skill and maturity, they are kids after all). If he played 4 capable lines instead of fielding a weak 4th and an subpar 2nd we would have seen a different LA series.

    Q’s biggest knock is he hasn’t been developing the young talent. He sticks with his vets and that’s that to him.

  111. Big Indian says:

    I have nothing whatsoever against the guy, but I wonder about Nordstrom and what he brings to the lineup. Could some of you who are more hockey savvy than I (Tab, for instance, et al) clue me in on what his strengths are. I watched a lot of hockey this past season, and he got a few chances, but I just didn’t see much in the way of production from him. To me, he seemed kind of out of place with whatever line he was with. He doesn’t look to be an offensive threat, although I didn’t see him to be a defensive liability either. Any comments appreciated.

  112. wall says:

    Nordstrom’s best attribute… very quick, agile skater… and because he is quick – can get in on people and forecheck/pressure the puck… and get to loose pucks…

    His biggest weakness- was when Hawks/him are trying to exit their zone while being pressured/forechecked… was a little worried about “the big hit/forecheck” and prone to TO or mishandling… was better after Rockford… but still needs work there.

    He actually scored pretty well in AHL- because of his skating/tenacity… similar to Kruger… with better shot- and taller- so IF he can put on 15 lbs. might actually turn into decent forechecker/go to net guy.

    Coached by Kruger’s Dad (played a little w/ 16) in Sweden… would love to see RasMoose/16/42 line (all Swede-line)- see if they have Chemistry.

  113. Tab Bamford says:

    if you go back & watch Kruger when he got here late in the 10-11 season, he looked A LOT like Nordstrom… skinny, new-born-deer look at times and then he wins a board battle you think he has no business even being in. He’s annoying to play against – which is great

  114. Big Indian says:

    Thanks, Gents. Yeah, I was thinking skinny also…..but being young that leaves room for the right kind of growth….makes sense. Consistently being able to battle along the boards would be great, as there were times when it just seemed like there were stretches this past season where we would not be quick enough to the puck in those situations and/or not win those battles. Was frustrating. Let’s hope for good things for him after the off-season and training camp (assuming he’s not part of some deal).

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