Quebec City, Las Vegas Only 2 Expansion Applicants

On Tuesday, the NHL confirmed that only two parties submitted applications for the league’s expansion process: Bill Foley for a franchise in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Quebecor for a franchise in Quebec City, Quebec.

From the league’s statement:

“Our purpose, in initiating the expansion process in the manner we did, was not only to explore the possibility of admitting new members to the NHL but also, at the outset, to set realistic guideposts to distinguish between bona fide expressions of interest (i.e., those which have at least substantial ownership capabilities and an arena or the realistic possibility of an arena) from those indications of potential interest which were, at best, merely hopes or aspirations. Apparently, only Mr. Foley and Quebecor have the confidence in their ability to secure an arena and suitable ownership capability to move forward with this process.

“We now intend to focus exclusively on the two expansion applications that have been submitted in accordance with the previously announced process. The process we have outlined for qualified applicants includes at least two more stages of documentation submission. We will provide no further updates until there is something substantive to announce.”

What is interesting is the lack of an application from Seattle, which had shown a public interest in joining the NHL for the last couple years. Could they be hanging onto their pennies until an Eastern Conference team has to relocate if/when Quebec City re-joins the league?

80 thoughts on “Quebec City, Las Vegas Only 2 Expansion Applicants

  1. Initially I was surprised by the process initiated to expand, but a 1 billion dollar influx to the owners probably tells me why the process started.

    Kind of wonder if the struggling attendance figures of the Eastern Conference stalwarts Panthers and Hurricanes, and to a lesser extent the Coyotes (although the NHL seems committed to Arizona), limited the number of applications. I think some team is moving within the next 2-3 years.

    I lived in Raleigh right around the time the Canes won the Cup…Raleigh can support hockey, but I feel the team kind of stopped interacting with developing a following in the City and surrounding areas (Greensboro, all the college towns, Charlotte). Then the Hurricanes started putting a pooh show on the ice.

    Anyone else surprised to see Atlanta not on the list of markets that put in a bid…

  2. You would HAVE to think that Phx would be a team that will be relocated again. I also find it amusing that teams that have relocated are now new teams again, Minnesota, Winnipeg, and now Quebec.

    Of the teams that once occupied those spots 2 have gone on to win cups and still have failed generate much local excitement. Dallas is a bad market(19th last yr) and Denver (23rd) is a blah market. Phx has been a disaster since leaving and will likely move again. I would rather the league move a few franchises vs create new ones. On top of Phx I’m looking at you Florida and Carolina! All three happen to be the worst attendance teams in the league.

    FYI the Hawks have been number 1 since 07-08 when they where 19th. Prior to that they were nearly the bottom for nearly 7 seasons. The Avs won to cup in 2000-2001 and finshed 8th. Won their division in 2013-2014 and finished 22.

  3. Looking at the faces in this pic,…, like the women slamming a big bottle of juice below the logo LOL

  4. If new teams are added, how exactly are their rosters determined? If their was some sort of lottery from existing rosters, would certain players be safe from getting selected?

  5. Imtgrill- Teams protect 9 forwards and 4 defensemen and one goalie…there are several other rules, such as ELC are exempt. Google Hockey Writers Expansion Draft and you can see all the rules. I’m thinking that they may change or alter some of the rules as they see fit as it gets closer.

  6. Mike-500 hundred million X 2=1 Billion goes a long way in creating fiscal order. Also I firmly believe that it wil not be just a simple 2 team expansion…they are seriously going to relocate some teams as well but this will be all hush hush for now. In the end there will be East/West balance and a new order moving forward. The very thought of an expansion draft spooks the heck out of me though. Quebec franchise would be a very very political thing with even the Canadian Prime Minister getting involved. On the good side, the casinos will comp you tickets to see NHL games like crazy every time you go to Vegas!

  7. Bienvenue Quebec!

    SOUTHSIDEHAWKMAN, thanks for the attendance stats. Keep in mind though that someone has to be near or at the bottom each year. The key is looking at season ticket holders and general attendance, particularly in years when teams make the playoffs, particularly deep in the playoffs. If attendance continues to suffer, then it’s time to move. No doubt, Seattle will land a relocated team within the next few years.

    PETER: Atlanta failed twice with teams.

  8. Original6Hawkey: I know…I was kidding. Although with team names like the Flames and Thrashers, can you blame the fans.

  9. As much as we’d like to solve our cap issues through an expansion-roster-dump, I wouldn’t immediately assume it would be all that easy. If like in the past, we’d have a number of protected roster players (like 80% or so) and the rest are available to be claimed. Can you see a situation where Vegas/Quebec actually passes on a Bryan Bickell or a Kris Versteeg because they don’t like their contracts? Yow, talk about your “negative value guy” (see Down Goes Brown, 2/5/15). Perhaps the league would make some special one-time adjustments to help old and new teams cope with some of these particularly bad, albatross contracts during the next expansion.

  10. Unfortunately by the time this expansion becomes reality the contracts of both Bickell and Versteeg will be done. Sad to say there is no easy solution on either front. There is only one more season for Versteeg and his cost is a lot easier to accept than Bickell’s. Barring the give away of some quality prospects, a buyout with the related cap hit over multiple seasons or a “mysterious” long term injury situation we are stuck with that dead weight for two more seasons .

  11. RTP, I am thinking just the opposite.

    Most teams only have 1 or 2 outlandishly bad contracts. That said, if there are 2 expansion teams they may have trouble reaching the Cap Floor rather than the upper limit. You are talking 46 players that must average about $2.25mm each just to reach the floor. Conversely the 46 players would have to average $3.1mm to hit the ceiling. That ain’t gonna happen.

    MM….like SSHM said, so many NHL cities are lacking any hockey excitement. I am not sure why the NHL wants to spread the the talent thinner.

  12. West-add 1 new franchise Las Vegas, relocate 1 of either Carolina or Florida to either Kansas City or Seattle. 16 West teams. East-add Quebec City new franchise and subtract either one of Carolina or Florida relocation to the West. 16 teams East.

  13. Mike…Yes I suppose you are correct, especially in the USA. This is really not a currentt problem in Canada at all. Quebec City is a fairly small market, somewhat like Winnipeg in terms of market size but the hockey excitment would be huge. Its a religion throughout Quebec. That huge new TV deal up here in Canada has not lived up to expectations as the millenial generation is not glued to the TV at all and are much more mobile. They lose interest real quick. Also big markets in Southern Ontario are becoming less and less interested in hockey due to time constarints on parents and very expensive cost of equipment and huge influx of ethnic groups with zero connection to hockey who are more into soccer. On the plus side the USA is going to supply many of the future stars ,the minor league systems are growing getting extensive throughout the country, college and other leagues developing great talent. I think Vegas knows a thing or two about marketing so thats a good move into a large untaped market. Canadian dollar hit hard by oil prices. The Blackhawk organization is the one to emulate for all other US teams going forward.

  14. @ Mike: The more I think about it, the more correct you are. Brand new expansion team is going to be far more challenged to meet the cap minimum than worry about the limit. Hawks fans just not wired for that perspective, are we! I hear Henny Youngman in the background: “Take my Bickell. Please”

  15. Hey Morrison! ..glad to see your still with us! Whats fishy? …a billion dollars, Las Vegas, or Bickell?

  16. I am very excited about Las Vegas expansion. I’m a Chicago ex-pat living in north San Diego county since late ’80s. I go to LA and Anaheim to see the Blackhawks every year. I’ll absolutely go to Vegas and I know I lot more people who will, too. Vegas doesn’t have to support the team all by itself, it will become the number one road trip destination of a great number of fans. And unlike Nashville and some other places, there will be no discouraging out of town jerseys, etc. Vegas lives on out of town guests, they’ll be rolling out the red carper for us. Every Vegas home game will be like two home games, and that will be just fine with everybody. Bring on the Las Vegas Blackjacks! I’ll buy a #21 jersey

  17. Assuming 1) Bowman can’t unload Bickell, 2) Bicksie decides not to retire from professional hockey to become a missionary in Uganda, or 3) an expansion team would rather draft Lindsey Vonn than him, what options do the Hawks have going forward?

    I am fairly sure I read somewhere that Trevor Daley was once a forward in his younger days prior to becoming a defenseman. I thought this was pretty unusual in that it seems more common for D-Men to become forwards. Red Kelly (HofFamer), Dale Tallon and others come to mind. Perhaps I’m wrong.

    In any event, has it ever been discussed on this board whether Bickell’s talents would better serve the team if he were relegated to the blue line? If nothing else the guy is very physical, has a hard shot from the point, and his skating ability (or lack thereof) may better suit him at that position. Moreover, it appears the team has a glut of serviceable forwards but a lack of D-Men. Any thoughts on this?

  18. Nothing dimmish and dummes down a sport or and form of entertainment faster then associating it wth the Chucky Cheese for adults called Las Vegad. Have the people in town don’t live there and the other half either work at the casinos or own pawn shops. Have some more self respect NHL Vegas is the the last think to ever be associated with long term plans.

  19. Seattle, Kansas City and Atlanta have all lost teams in various sports. Florida to Las Vegas and Carolina to Quebec. ‘NO’ to expansion ! Re-location is the answer. The very idea of a watered down product is nauseating. Is Arizona on firm ground yet ? I have no idea where they would move to, but I had thought it may be Las Vegas. Just throwing ideas about the greatest league in the world. Hoping one might stick.

    May you all have a great night. GO HAWKS !!

  20. WTF is Reggie Fleming on that he thinks Bickell is going in an expansion draft this summer? And Trevor Daley as a forward? Read the roster! They have 13-14 forwards w/out Kruger right now… the level of stupidity in your post, Reggie, is qualified as top 10 EVER on this site

  21. re: expansion teams struggling to meet the floor – do you really think overpaid veterans aren’t going to be available if/when the league has an expansion draft? Go ahead and load up on the Dion Phanuefs of the world all you want, Vegas/Quebec… there will be plenty of expensive players with recognizable names for expansion franchises to “build” around.

  22. Tab, as a relative newcomer on this board, but probably one of the oldest Hawks fan here, I was generally offended by your response to my post. I should have clarified that the “glut” of forwards is not on the roster but in the Hawks’ system. You know, the guys in Rockford (or, in college) knocking on the door- Hartman, McNeil, Baun, Danault, etc. Moreover, with the recent trades involving Johns, Paliotta, and Clendening, there seems to be a dearth of quality prospects on defense. But instead of giving me the benefit of the doubt you jumped down my throat and essentially called me an idiot.

    And where in my post did I say Bickell could go in the expansion draft “this summer?” Doesn’t Bickell have two years left on his contract? And if you re-read my post (did you read it the first time?) maybe even you will notice that with the reference to a female athlete I was making an attempt at humor at the expense of our team’s “albatross.”

    I think I have posted here for about a month. Unfailingly, every poster who has responded to me has done so with respect. Until now. What gives you the right to demean someone on this board, even if the people here post anonymously? And even if they are wrong? As one human being to another I can honestly say I have less respect for you than any other person who uses this board.

  23. Reggie: I was quite offended for you by Tab’s attack on you in which he called you stupid.

    I have followed this blog for a few years and have not written before. I am writing now because I feel compelled to do so. This blog is like a little club contributed to by its members. It is interesting,enjoyable and informative. I feel like I almost know some of you who contribute. I was moved recently by the level of compassion and concern for Mining Man. I hope some of you will show the same concern and caring for Reggie. He did not deserve the nasty,malicious response he received from Tab.

    Tab: you write a terrific blog.
    You are well informed .However you don’t have the right to demean and attack your blog contributors. I hope you are man enough to apologize.
    I guess we will see.

  24. Reggie/Tab– I will agree w/ Tab on the 29/Daley swapping positions- being rather silly/ridiculous… BUT-I don’t think Tab should have used the word “stupid”…

    Tab- could have made a sarcastic/smart-ass reply to that comment (which is completely out there)… BUT to throw the word STUPID (and top ten)… a little harsh/offensive- to a blogger’s comment which probably should have been ignored as a “brain-cramp”…

    we all have “brain-cramps”… Remember when Tab told me “I need to stop drinking the Bong-water” when I dare suggest/pleaded for Hawks to bring up Shaw from Hogs his rookie year… My idea was “out there”… and Tab- “slapped” me in a fair/funny way…

    BUT Tab- stupid- should probably be reserved with the “Obnoxious bloggers like Myself and Rufus”…

    Reggie- you are ok in my book

  25. to Chelsea & Wall – perhaps stupid was a strong word. But he suggested making Bryan Bickell a defenseman… in nearly a decade of this site existing, the idea of Bickell being moved to the blue line absolutely represents a new school of thought here – and not one that has any basis in the real world. If some of you were offended that I used the word “stupid” in response to an idea that fits that characterization, I apologize.

    re: Reggie – apologies for using the word “stupid.” And I did re-read your post, and once again saw the idea of Bickell being made a defenseman. As wall remembers from a few years ago, “you need to stop drinking the bong water” because that idea is accurately represented by my choice in words.

    With that being said, I’ll address your response…

    The Blackhawks have too many forwards on the NHL roster BEFORE we consider anyone from Rockford or college. If you just go to the Blackhawks site and look at their NHL roster, there are 15 forwards w/out including Kruger & Nordstrom, neither of whom have signed… and that list doesn’t include Hartman, McNeill, Baun or Danault.

  26. Wall, thank you for your comment but I did not suggest that Daley and Bickell “swap” positions. My point was that if Daley could make the change from forward to defenseman why not Bickell? Perhaps it wouldn’t be advisable in Bickell’s particular situation but I don’t think that the idea is “ridiculous.”

    Chelsea, thank you for your support. I just find it unusual for the “owner” of a blog to be that disrespectful to the people who participate in it. I am a big Bulls fan as well and have participated in Doug Thonus’ blog at “Chicago Now” for years. People would disagree with Doug all the time but he never lashed out at them in such a manner.

  27. Tab, I do think overpaid veterans will be available. Just not sure if there are enough of them to fill 2 teams. However, I will defer to your expertise as you are much closer to the industry than me.

    I do wonder, Tab, who would the Hawks NOT protect (assume Bicks is not on the roster)? It seems to me that the only high dollar guys would be those with expiring contracts… least on the Hawks. Even so, can you see the Hawks not protecting Seabrook? Interesting exercise. But I too think movement of a few teams is better for the league than expansion at this time.

  28. I really dislike the idea of expansion in the NHL, period. Why dilute the quality of the talent that currently exists in the league which I believe is pretty high right now given the infusion of players from around the world. I have no problem however with moving franchises that just don’t draw fans because of geographic considerations, and general fan apathy. Regarding Las Vegas as a potential expansion city, I have never been or ever will be a fan of this town. I know many people like going there for whatever “fun” they are seeking, but hockey would be just a circus act there like everything else. I am not in the camp that would think “hey, lets’ go to Vegas and maybe watch hockey!” Tourists would probably buy/be comped some tickets, but ice hockey in the desert hasn’t worked in Phoenix so why would Las Vegas do any better? I happen to like the idea of hockey teams in Canada even though I am an American. Fans there love the sport, and I always thought it was a pity that the Nordiques left Quebec City. And why not Hamilton to get Leafs fans even more riled up with nearby rival? Seattle would be fine with me. Take the Panthers and grow em up in the Northwest where I believe a decent fan base could be built.

    Just a few thoughts. What a beautiful morning here in the Chicago area! Hope everyone is enjoying this Cup savoring summer.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  29. re: Mike – depending on how many spot the Hawks can protect, that might be a tough summer for the Blackhawks. If it’s only a small number of players, we may have been 2-3 years away from choosing between Hjalmarsson & Saad or Hossa & Keith…

  30. re: Phil – I’m with you on lowering the talent bar league-wide with expansion, but I would also submit that there are a few players stuck in the AHL around the league who would love to get a shot – and might get it through expansion. Many Hawks fans like to complain about players like Pirri & Morin getting stuck in Rockford, but one/both of them would likely love an opportunity to get into the league and show what they’ve got. The bigger reason to expand is that the money is there, and more teams means more money for the league/players.

    I am fascinated by the Vegas idea, though. I agree that there will undoubtedly be a huge road team fan population in the stands for nearly every game, but more than that I wonder about the long-term ability of a team to live in a city with a transient population to merchandise and make enough money in non-ticket sales to stay afloat. After the initial boom wears off, they’ll have to compete to make money off the ice.

  31. Tab, in my opinion, “conditional” apologies, are no apologies at all. “If you were offended by my comment, I apologize,” implies it is the person who was offended that is at fault. As I see it, you were way over the top in response to Reggie’s comment, no matter how flawed you thought it was. You should own the fact that you, and not others, erred.

    I, like Reggie, am a new contributor to this blog. I have read it for years, and really enjoy it. Call me stupid if you want, but common decency should dictate our words and actions.

  32. Tab, you said the idea of moving Bickell to the blue line does “not have any basis in the real world.” You also maintained that the word “stupid” in response “fits that characterization.” Let me tell you why I disagree.

    Doug Mohns was a defenseman for the Bruins for many years. In the 64-65 season he was traded to the Hawks. Ab McDonald, a left-winger, moved on and Stan Mikita and Kenny Wharram needed a new linemate on the “Scooter Line.” Mikita suggested that Mohns replace McDonald on that line. The coach, Billy Reay, initially resisted the idea. I guess he believed “it had no basis in the real world” as you would put it. Mikita persisted. Mohns made the switch from defenseman to forward and the “Scooter Line” became one of the most potent lines in the NHL. Mohns career was revived.

    Yes, it “represented a new school of thought” but sometimes you need to think outside the box.

  33. Reggie – the idea isn’t new to the world or even recent Blackhawks history. Dustin Byfuglien moved back and forth. Hawks prospect Justin Holl moved from the blue line to skate as a forward at times during his career at the U. of Minnesota. I’m well aware of players moving back and forth.

    With that being said, the idea of Bryan Bickell specifically moving to the blue line is ridiculous. And I stand by that. I’m done w/ this line of conversation. Have a great Wednesday.

  34. Why is Quebec in a better position to have a team now? They were the smallest NHL market when they left years ago, what has changed? Do the entrance fees really equal 1 billion dollars? I’m getting this is a simple cash grab for the NHL, but diluting the product with teams already struggling… Oh yeah, $500,000,000.

    Reggie, I think the issue is to play defense, you have to skate backward and change directions in your sleep, and Bickell has been falling on his a$$ trying to skate forward as of late. Byfuglien is a pretty rare talent to be able to play both positions decently, his size, balance, and quick hands are not teachable.

    But, if for some reason Bickell ends up playing D, I think you would get the right to literally kill, cook, and feed Tab a crow (hopefully not #50) on a live webcast. It would really be a win-win, you would feel as good as it feels to look back on past comments by Duck and Lightning fans, and Tab would have a nice publicity stunt. Dare to dream…

  35. Nick – the bigger difference is Quebec’s new ownership group committing to a better arena situation and having better funding. Big difference(s).

    The question becomes which Eastern Conference team moves (either by relocation or realignment) to the West if/when Quebec gets their Nordiques back. I would look at the Panthers & Canes as possibilities

  36. While I believe NC to have the potential to be a better hockey market than South Florida, I would think the league likes having the Panthers in Miami for a couple of reasons…1) Miami is a bigger TV market than Raleigh, 2) Miami is perceived to be a more exciting destination/market so the NHL would want to be there, and 3) moving from Miami really leaves the Bolts alone in Florida. The Bolts are an exciting young team, but having another team in Florida is just healthy and good for travel.

  37. Thanks boys and girls for some of the liveliest posts since the time Rufus told Sr. Brad to “go (eff) himself”, and this is the off-season!

    Nick: your wit and sarcasm are in fine form lately. Tab: thanks for all the good work here, but you get a double minor on the Reggie incident (elbowing; unsportsmanlike conduct). Everybody Else: get over it. Welcome Chelsea Dagger (can’t believe we haven’t seen that handle before) and Rackman.

  38. I’m fond of names with some connection to the the Hawks, the Stadium, etc. (like mine). Aware that there’s a lot of readers out there who are younger fans and don’t post, let me say that “Reggie Fleming” was a real hockey player w/ the Blackhawks in the 1960’s, one of the most colorful, toughest, and meanest guys ever to wear the Indianhead. In the original six, pre-helmet-days book, Reggie’s picture is right next to the entry for “old school”. No. 6 was an enforcer who could play. He finished up in the WHA with the Cougars in that stinky old barn on south Halsted, where he had a glorious fight with his buddy Bobby Hull when the Jet first returned (I’m sure they went out and laughed all about it at the bar). Reggie stayed in Chicago area many years (Palatine) after his playing days were over. Shortly before he died in 2009, Reggie’s son, Chris, put together a series of moving video interviews with his dad about his life in hockey, check them out on YouTube.

  39. Red Top Parking, thanks for the post about Reggie Fleming. Being on the older side myself, similar to our REGGIE FLEMING, I vaguely remember Fleming when I started following the Blackhawks in 1964/65.

    There was a Blackhawk I remember so well, who went from LW to D: Doug Mohns. Mohns was part of the Scooter Line: Mikita, Wharram, and Mohns. In the late ’60s Mohns shifed to D. I remember when he broke his hand.

    Here is an excellent write-up on Mohn’s, who spent the first part of his career as a D, who coincidentally was traded to the Hawks for Fleming:

  40. Great comments Red Top re: Reg Fleming. My dad was always a big fan of Fleming and I remember him in some colorful dust-ups on TV and at the Stadium. The guy could throw when needed, had some decent talent, and had his team mates backs at all times. Good memories indeed.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  41. Sorry that I didn’t see REGGIE FLEMING’s post, which covered most of what I wrote about Mohns.

  42. That’s high praise from you, Phil. Thank you. Sure hope to get out to Swig next season, even though I’ll have to come two time zones over. I’ll be the guy in the old school Blackhawks cardigan. And thank you, Original6Hawkey. Mohnsie wore #11 on that famous Scooter line w/ Stosh and Wharram. Hew as a good Blackhawk

  43. RTP and Original6, thanks for sharing those great stories. That link was great also. I need to read Stan’s memoirs. Some thoughts:

    1. We young Hawk fanatics always thought Mohns started to wear a helmet because he was going bald.

    2. RTP was spot-on regarding Fleming. Ironically, he was perhaps the sweetest guy off the ice you would ever want to meet. He had this high-pitch voice which belied his relentless aggression on the ice. The last interview with his son was particularly compelling.

    3. Reggie was an enforcer but not a goon. He would not go out of his way to cause trouble but he would never take shit from anybody, regardless of size (he was not that big) and would always defend his teammates.

    4. Reggie always lived in Chicago even after he was traded many times. He said the Hawks were very supportive of him getting jobs in the area. People forget that in those days many players were not very educated and many (if not most) players came from small farming or mining communities in rural Ontario or Manitoba.

    5. I bet even Hofmeister didn’t know that Reggie’s nickname was “the Horse.”

  44. Man, I go away for a few days and the board turns into a $#it show of mud slinging and bruised egos. All over Le Nordiques possibly returning to the big show.

    Here’s the deal, this is Tab’s blog and he is free to treat it and his readers and commenters pretty much however he wants. If you have been a long time reader you shouldn’t be surprised that your half-baked idea is summarily dismissed and $hat upon by our dear leader. There are plenty of other blogs where your comment won’t get so much as a glance from the author let alone a reasoned response on some occasions and on other occasions a rejection with extreme prejudice. Just don’t take it personally. I’ve thrown a few wacky ideas out there myself and have the cigar-sized burns on my arms to show for it. But I keep coming back for more because I find this to be the best place to glean insight on our beloved hawkey team. So please, continue to ask if Bickell can play D, just don’t be surprised is the response is equivalent to a Nelson Munz “HA-HA!”

    I’ve also got to give some props to Tab to say he has been killing it on the postings here, coverage of the development camp and his contributions on Chicago Now and Fourth Period. Not sure how he does it but good stuff all around.

    Wall, on the other hand, is an idiot. I stand by my statement. Trade Crawford, what a buffoon…

  45. Thanks, Reggie. I heard that story, too, about Mohns putting on the helmet because he was going bald. Could even be true!

    Couldn’t agree more that Fleming was an enforcer but not a goon. Back in those days, the toughest enforces had to be guys that could play, too, or they’d be gone. Best example perhaps is John Ferguson.

    I didnt know Reggie’s nickname was Horse

  46. By all accounts it was Reggie Fleming’s short handed goal to tie the game in the ’61 Cup final that led us to the win. I can remember that like it was yesterday, sitting cross legged about 2 feet in front of the TV…a vivid memory. Detroit never recovered and just sagged after that. I will always remember those great dust ups with Eddie Shack and the way he was so effective in neutralizing Frank Mahovolich.

    Glad this little dust up is over…nice to have you aboard Reggie and Chelsea Dagger.

    Nostalgia and all aside, we have a great team now. Its not the same style of hockey as in the past but in many regards it is the same. 3 Cups in 6 God, we are for real!

  47. My recollection is that Mohns and Wharram started wearing helmuts after Mikita was forced to wear it after taking a puck to the ear, which nearly sliced it off. Mikita got used to it and this influenced his line-mates (should have changed their name to the Helmut Line). Wharram suffered a heart condition in 1969 and his career came to an abrupt end.

    Red Top: Regarding Ferguson (his nickname was “The Policeman”), his task was to harass Bobby Hull. He would incite fights, which would then get Hull off the ice and into the penalty box. When Hull broke his jaw, Ferguson began tangling with him – a real jerk. Ferguson may have had talent, but compared to Beliveau, H. Richard, Laperriere, Lemaire, Lapointe, the Trembley brothers (those Flying Frenchmen), he was a Carcillo goon.

  48. I wanted to say to Red Top that it would be cool to meet someday over at Swig. It could be anywhere to watch a game for that matter. Swig just worked out well, although the group should be expanded. This applies to everyone here that contributes on CI. Reading the discussion about the old Scooter line made me think that perhaps Kenny Wharram’s nickname might have been Whip? Any yes, Red Top Fergy was a bad ass that could play as well. Still remember the bloody Fergy vs Hull bout. Also Ferguson going after Bobby when he had a broken jaw and mouth wired closed with a helmet. BOOOOOO!

    Lets Go Hawks!

  49. Phil, I also remember Ferguson having a major fight with Dennis Hull. Dennis foolishly dropped his gloves while Ferguson was heading towards his bench for a line switch. It wasn’t pretty as Ferguson was the heavyweight champ of the NHL.

    Also, perhaps someone else on this board remembers the numerous battles Bobby H. had with Bryan “Bugsy” Watson, whose only job was to shadow Hull and get under his skin.

  50. Good one Reg. Yes, Watson was Bobby’s shadow in the playoffs as I recall, and was out to goad Bobby into retaliating. BOOOOO!! Those were the days.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  51. Red Top Parking: thanks for the welcome.

    Tab: thanks for the apology. I respect that.

    Let’s hope SB gets Hawks’ house fully in order soon.

    Have a great day.

  52. As I sit here devoid of anything meaningful in the NHL and lack the baseball bridge to another crappy Bears season I can’t stop wondering whats the window on this whole Blackhawk’s thing!

    What I have witnessed as a Hawks fans has wildly exceeded my expectations. I don’t go back 40 yrs, but I remember Jagr stick handling through the Hawks defense and Super Mario putting a dagger in the 91 team. I remember the Presidents trophy winner squad bounced in the 1st round, the Blues and Cujo stealing a series and the Red Wings turning into a dynasty,…

    I don’t want the good times to end but I know they will, so I need to mentally prepare myself. I think this Hawks team will again resemble a contender for the cup if they get solid contributions from the new faces.

    I am however scared to death that a loss of any of the big 3 bluelines can spell disaster very quickly. I am also concerned that Hossa may at some stage start slowing down. Which leads me to my original thought. Whats the window?

    Its the expiration date on Hossa and Dunks right? Keith turned 32 last week, he is a freak of nature, but how much longer can he be a front line top pair? 2 years? 4 years? In 4 years Hossa will be 40, and Superman and Batman(neither is Robin in my world) will be 30 and 31 respectively. I savored every min of last seasons cup playoff run because nothing is guaranteed! Just saying!

  53. re: SSHM asking about the window – it totally depends on how often they can turn around the supporting cast. Does Teravainen live up to the hype – and replace Sharp? Is Panarin the goods? Does Kruger stay? Can TvR stay healthy? What’s the next generation on the blue line? (I had Johns penciled in there for the last 5 years fwiw.) Lots of questions that will remain/evolve in the coming years. What we can say is that the Hawks are, depending on 2-3 moves still to take place, still in the mix to win it in 2016. And all we can ask for in the salary cap era is a window of next year.

  54. Regarding a window, a good thing to check is the Player Tracker on the Blackhawk website. It shows when players contracts expire, when they become RFA, UFA, and so on.

    One thing I noticed – 2 years from now, summer 2017, they have a lot of contracts either expiring or guys becoming restricted free agents. I’d be pretty comfortable saying their window is this year and next; summer of 2017 looks to be a lot of turnover although a pot full of things can happen before that, and probably will.

  55. SSHM, your memory is close but the Jagr & Lemieux show was against the 1992 team that went to the finals. The 91 team was, as you mentioned, the team that got bounced out in the 1st round.

    That year (91) they clinched the Presidents Trophy the last game vs. Detroit. The night before they were up in Minneapolis and lost to the North Stars 3-1 I think. Bob Gainey who was Minnesota’s coach was in the official’s ears the whole game and it carried over to the 1st round series which the Blackhawks lost to Minnesota in 6 games. I still remember their goaltender Jon Casey flopping around like he was shot by a high powered rifle after getting bumped by Dirk Graham … drawing a 5 minute penalty. A lot of that was Gainey’s influence with the officials, who suffice it to say did not have the same respect for Mike Keenan.

    I just remember having a bad, bad feeling after that game in Minnesota, thinking this was not gonna end well. It didn’t.

  56. As a long long time fan and ticket holder my opinion is based less in wishful thinking and more hard cold objective analysis. I lived and died with the great teams of Savard and Wilson, only to see this damned phenomenon called the Edmonton dynasty get in the way of hoisting a Cup. I saw the teams of the early 90s get close but not have enough talent wise to win a Cup. And so I’m eternally grateful for the Toews-Kane-Keith era of 3 Cups. Losing Seabrook after next season is very likely. And when that happens it will be different then simply reloading and taking an interim season or two break from once again competing seriously again for the Cup. Hawks don’t have a pipeline of blueliners right now that could potentially even sniff let alone carry the jockstrap of Seabs, or Hjalmarsson. Notwithstanding Tab’s newfound love for Swedish prospects that has been created out of the woodwork to the point where maybe he can spell some of these guy’s names the same way twice in a row and correctly. What also goes underreported is how hard it might be to go the Russian route. A lot easier to pull off on paper than reality. Don’t believe me then go ask half the GMs around the league who haven’t been able to solve the chemistry thing or make the smorgasbord of hockey talent work when you throw several Ruskies into the mix. And let’s not forget the Hawks have the nightmare of the Mike Smith experiment in their own historical closet. YES, out of necessity Stan has had to get creative finding and signing talent in order to sustain a viable pipeline of talent. And YES his new Russian strategy and very heavy focus on the Swedes makes a lot of necessary sense. But don’t underestimate what we face here. Hope it all works out and I’d like to be greedy for another Cup.

  57. SSideHawkman, that was ’92 when the Pens (under Scottie Bowman) beat the Hawks. The Hawks have more than made up for the pain in Game 1, when we were up 4-0 and lost. We had some useless goalie named Dominik Hasek, so he was traded. At least we have our terrific CSN analyst, Steve Konroyd.

    No need to panic! If Stan can figure out a way to keep Kruger and Shaw without giving away a key asset, we are going to be alright. Keep in mind that if there were no personnel changes this off-season, cap or no cap, we would be weaker next year with some aging players sticking around.

    No doubt, our new players need ample time to mesh, and next year will likely be one fraught with some growing pains. I think the Russians and Dano are going to more than replace Saad and Sharp. Garbutt will be a solid contributor if Q can tone him down from taking bad penalties. And what about McNeill and Danault? On the back-end, we have some promising prospects who should keep us strong on D for years to come, despite the loss of Dahlbeck, Paliotta, and, especially, Johns.

    The Hawks need to get some more size, but notice that we will be faster overall, even without Saad.

    The reality is that with 30 teams, if your team can win a cup every five years, it is off-the-charts good. Even with shooting some blanks in the draft and bad trades, the Hawks have been an embarrassment of riches.

  58. Chev- while I have said some stupid things… and will probably say more…
    “the Crow trade” – is probably not near the top of the list-

    Furthermore- Might actually happen- like it or not… due to : “Handcuffs”- remember – how many people use to argue with me on 29- being a “good Corsi/player”… and I called 29 – Handcuffs- mostly because I thought his contract would “handcuff” this team in the future!!!

  59. re: Original6 – “The Hawks need to get some more size”

    Anisimov – 6-4, 200
    Dano – 6-0, 200
    Garbutt – 6-0, 195
    Tikhonov – 6-2, 190

    They brought in 4 guys who have some decent size and, the cases of Dano & Garbutt, play bigger than they’re listed. Fwiw, Saad is listed at 6-1, 205

  60. Wall, keep the trade Crow theme going. With a cap that is unlikely to increase much further in 2016-17 given the declining Cdn $, I would trade Crow to keep Seabrook. Right now Stan really can’t extend Seabs given the lack of cap room.

    Re the Russians – by my recollection only the Red Wings have had success with Russian players. Despite a lot of talent too often they seem to disappear come playoff time. Let’s hope that is not the case with the guys we will be depending on in the coming post season.

  61. I personally don’t think Stan Bowman or the front office or the scouts give a damn where a player is from … Sweden, Russia, or whatever.

    They’ve been very consistent looking for players who can skate, have great hockey sense, and great character.

    The Mike Smith era has zero to do with what’s going on now. Mike Smith picked some wrong players is what happened.

    Part of the challenge is going to be:

    – continuing to bring in high end talent, and
    – giving yourself enough bullets (draft choices) to do so, and
    – working closely with prospects to develop them to the fullest

    #1 and #2 go somewhat hand in hand and they’ve not been successful moving up in drafts (with rare exceptions) or acquiring more draft choices.

    But that’s how it goes when you’re “going for it”. You want proven NHL players. Getting a guy like Dano could pay off big … hard to say.

    I will give them credit for their development staff and their aggressiveness in chasing down free agent talent. As I’ve said before, I heard from a very reputable hockey guy in Rockford they were very close on 3-4 other guys in addition to who they signed.

    I also like the approach of churning over prospects they don’t think will help them for other assets … like they did to get Forsling. And I expect to see more of that happening this year. Guys coming off entry level deals … they’ll move them if they don’t think they’ll be a near term fit.

  62. Remember too the Blackhawks have a leadership group like Toews, Keith, and Hossa who won’t tolerate half assing it or mediocre effort. At the same time these guys know there are ebbs and flows to every season.

    I don’t know if anyone caught the Brad Richards quote from about a month ago. He said something like if a player made a bad mistake, it would be like Duncan Keith was going to kill you. High standards.

    There will be adjustments, it will be frustrating at times, and people here will overreact. It may not work out in the end, but at least this leadership group has a proven history of getting players to pull together.

  63. Tab, some sites have Dano listed at 5-11. By size I do not mean just height, but weight as well. Of the four, Garbutt is the only one who really plays bigger than his size. Dano plays a gritty style as well. In recent months, they traded Dahlbeck (6-3), Paliotta (6-3) and big and heavy Johns (6-4, 234).

    The Hawks are smaller/lighter than most NHL teams and are regularly outhit. On the other hand, they are faster and more skilled than anyone else, except the Lightning. However, the lightening have Hedman (6-6, 230).

    The Hawks have never replaced Byfuglien, who could stay in front of the net. In the 2010 series against San Jose, he scored three of the four game-winners by being near the net in the slot. On D, Seabs is the only one plays big to some extent. Did you watch Cory Perry and others hang around the net without difficulty?

  64. Any time I see the name Seabrook, the words sea or brook, or the number 7, anywhere, my stomach sinks. Please let’s refer to him as THPKAS (The hockey player known as Seabs) going forward. For those of you as terrified as I am when I look at the salary tracker, this might be comforting- the only time THPKAS’ stock will be higher than it is right now, which is horrifyingly high, will be at the trade deadline if the Hawks are out of it. Talk about loading up on picks and prospects. He’d get the hero’s exit, and the rebuild would begin. So hold on to him, Stan, it’ll pay off either way.

  65. Many teams are rebuilding by way of picks and prospects, which of course takes a few years and hopefully all works out, whereas Biwman instead has gone with players ready to go instead of focusing on picks and prospects. As stated elsewhere It ” might” come back to bite us down the road but we could have another banner or two to help get over it!

  66. Bowman .. Sheesh, typo.

    Also not the end of the world if we keep Versteeg.. His playoff performance was admirable. He got injured during the Classic New Years Day and it took a long while before he could get his groove back. Not worried about Bickell.. Something will be made to happen that does not hurt us. In Bowman I trust.

  67. Wall – sarcasm, my man. I know it doesn’t always translate and I think I appreciate your comments more than many on this board and have thrown you bones now and again when you have a point (which from an analytic perspective I agree that you do on the Crow front).

    Let’s all also keep in mind that the busting up and eventual demise of a 3-time in 6 year cup winner is a problem that 29 other teams would love to have. I never thought I’d see it again in my lifetime after Jordan’s Bulls run. I don’t have the historical credentials of the Bobby Hull followers but do distinctly remember the burn of the 91 and 92 flame outs after ponying up for the PPV “Hawkvision” playoff package. Followed by the dark, dark days until the current crew started coming together. There was hope with these guys but this? Never in my wildest dreams.

  68. Chev- I knew it was sarcasm… I just didn’t really have a good comeback or funny thought… besides- grilling myself on being an idiot from time to time…

    I know you got my back… and you have helped w my “agenda”/perspective on the Goalie position… and I think we have at least opened some eyes on this topic…

    at the end of the day Hawks 3 cups,,, Crow has 2,,, but there is this thing called the CAP… and it has to be dealt with…

    SB- Cap/deals… I am optimistic (especially if 16 is kept w/o losing 65) that Panarin, AA, Dano will all be very good players,,, skill/skating look great… the only question is Heart/IQ/compete intangibles… BUT- I am really high on Dano/Panarin skill/skating/hands (albeit small sample)- If they have the “intangibles”- Hawks will be much more fun/exciting to watch this year (win or lose)… Panarin– could be a game changer… Hawks/SB won the lotto with him -imo

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