Blackhawks Postseason Recap: More Questions Than Answers

Six was the unlucky number for the Blackhawks this spring. They finished sixth in the Western Conference, and were bounced out of the playoffs in six games by the Phoenix Coyotes.

And now that the playoffs are officially done, let’s look back at the series with Phoenix to see what happened.

Obviously the Blackhawks struggled to generate offense once Marian Hossa left the lineup. Based on the comments made by coach Joel Quenneville after Game Six, and the obvious emotion surrounding his words, Hossa’s health will be an ongoing concern this summer.

And the Blackhawks struggled to find an emotional spark from their bottom six forwards once Andrew Shaw was suspended. He returned on Monday night and played a smart game; Phoenix was clearly trying to bait him into a dumb penalty the way they did to Viktor Stalberg in Game Five but, to Shaw’s credit, he didn’t bite.

But overall, the Blackhawks first round series was disappointing on ever level.

Superstars underwhelming was disappointing. Role players not stepping up was disappointing. Heck, even the positives from the series were disappointing.

Everyone is pointing at the superstars on the roster, but the depth of the organization was tested in these playoffs – and failed. And that disappointment and frustration will lead to an intriguing summer in which general manager Stan Bowman will have to make a number of tough decisions.

Where did Dave Bolland go?

For the last two years, his supporters have pointed to his postseason performances during the Cup run and again against Vancouver as justification for him not being able to take the step to becoming the team’s second line center.

Against Phoenix, Bolland had three assists in six games. He also had only three hits and just three takeaways, while winning only 44.2 percent of his faceoffs. The Blackhawks were a scary team to play against when Bolland was a physical grinder in the bottom six forwards, but he was a ghost in the Phoenix series.

Where was this Bryan Bickell all year?

Against Phoenix, Bickell was the player that made Troy Brouwer expendable last summer. He was a strong, physical power forward that racked up a team-leading 32 hits in six games to go with two goals.

In the regular season, Bickell had nine goals and 128 hits in 71 games. It’s frustrating to see Bickell skate like a guy that wants to be a top-six forward for a couple weeks in mid-April after taking the months of November, December and January off during the regular season.

Is Viktor Stalberg for real?

After shattering his career bests in every statistical category this year, the 22 goal scorer disappeared. He had only two assists in the series, and had half as many penalty minutes (eight) as he did shots on net (16). Was his regular season a mirage, or will he chalk the last six games up as a “learning experience?”

What do the Hawks do with Corey Crawford?

There’s no doubt that the goaltending position will be the focus of the majority of this summer’s dialogue for Blackhawks fans after Crawford became the scapegoat for the series loss. And he certainly earned the criticism he’ll hear in the coming months after allowing two unbelievable soft game-winning goals at the United Center in Games Three and Four.

But looking back at the postseason as a whole, Crawford’s struggles appear to be a league-wide epidemic. He had a better save percentage than Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo and Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, all of whom carry a significantly higher profile than Crawford. And the only statistic in which Ilya Bryzgalov was better than Crawford was wins.

Do the Hawks look for an upgrade between the pipes this summer? Perhaps. But they certainly won’t be alone.

Over the coming days, we’ll look back at the overall performance of the 2011-12 Chicago Blackhawks and look ahead to the future of the organization. There need to be improvements, and there is no question the organization won’t sit still.

Where do the Blackhawks go from here? Only time will tell. But these are four questions that will certainly play a role in this summer’s decisions from the front office.

26 thoughts on “Blackhawks Postseason Recap: More Questions Than Answers

  • April 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I am not an expert like many of you fellas. I am not a fan of Stan Bowman. I believe he is in over his head. I spent the winter in Fl and had many opportunities to watch the Panthers. The ex Hawks looked mighty good. I know the salary cap was was helped but I can tell you Soupy would have significantly helped the power play.

  • April 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Agreed… Campbell is better than Keith, Monty and Bruno were “BAD” signings…
    if Bowman doesn’t use the xtra post-Campbell money soon then… that was a horrible deal.

    Bowman added bodies and “grit”, the GRIT did not play in the last 2 games…

    I know we are supposed to be “loading up” on Prospects… but none of that means anything- until they actually pan out… furthermore, looking at McNeil… I think he will be another bust ala Beach.

    Bowman- better spend some money this summer- hopefully he can dump Monty’s contract- if not, we will not have enough money to fill the TWO GIANT HOLES… true 2nd line center, and True Physical #1 or #2 D-man like Seabs!

  • April 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I am also not an expert, but as I have watched the Blackhawks it seems that there are two things that are lacking.

    First – I think it’s safe to say that our youngsters are still playing like youngsters. Shaw, Leddy, Hayes, Bollig, Saad, whomever you’d like to point out shows some terrific flashes, but also has a few inexperienced blunders. When this influx of talent stabilizes I think it will be a great benefit to the team.

    Second – We really miss the presence of the veteran stability we had with guys like Ladd. He wasn’t as talented as Toews, Kane, Hossa, Keith, etc. But his consistent veteran presence was very valuable to the Blackhawks. Somebody needs to fill that role with the team and it has to compliment the role that Toews already plays. I think they were hoping that Brunette or Mayers would fill those responsibilities, but epic fail there.

    Third – Injuries were brutal on this team. Toews showed some signs of issues, but the Hossa loss was devastating

    Finally – When I look around the NHL you see teams you want to emulate. Obviously the Detroit Redwings of the last 10 years are one of those squads. That team always had a strong veteran presence and stability. Basically they knew how to win in a lot of ways. Time for the Blackhawks to learn from that winning culture.

  • April 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    To your list, I would add Frolik – he works real, real hard, and it started to pay off in the playoffs. But can he carry it over into next season, like he was expected to but didn’t this season? I like his intensity and work ethic, but he just can’t finish a lot of the time.

  • April 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I’m probably going to be severely criticized if not socially-osterized for speaking out against the “so-called superstars…Toews and Kane. With blinders removed, I watched eagle-eyed and intently on Kane, I was not impressed. Again he refuses to pass the puck, he wants to demonstrate his “Dancing on the Ice puck maneuvers” while turning over the puck, leaving teammates parked at the opposition’s goal crease dumbfounded. During the off season, Kane needs to learn discipline, puck control, not hogging the puck, but picking up the puck and making plays with teammates in position to score. He’s not superman nor is he a superstar (and before I’m burned at the stake this is jmo). I will reiterate when Toews returned to the lineup following his concussion, lines that were scoring had to be juggled in order to make room for Toews’ return. From my view, Toews certainly didn’t do much to assist the team in going forward, isn’t that the purpose of the “C” letter on the jersey. I’m probably going to be ushered out of the Committed Indians social fan base or told what do Canadians and a woman at that know about hockey, I just want to say, “I don’t wish to play quarterback, rather leave that job up to those professionals capable of making changes.” I was not impressed with Crawford! I don’t care about the other two goalies he was ahead of in the playoff statistical information. Corey, let soft goals in, he can’t seem to handle adversity once he’s been scored upon.

    Losing Marian Hossa was definitely as Coach Q. said the “most defining moment in the playoffs.” Coyotes won because the officiating was at times non-existent, our “star” player was criminally removed from the playoffs by an overzealous goon. The NHL hand-delivered Coyotes the first round playoff win. Hopefully, the Blackhawks will come back stronger, wiser and ready to adopt Lord Stanley in 2013.

  • April 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    First Tab…these are all the things that myself and others have mentioned throughout this season and this series…the reason? These are the SAME problems the Hawks have had ALL SEASON LONG…so why expect any changes in the playoffs (that would be insanity, right?)…

    * Worst PP belonging to a team loaded with offensive talent
    * Worst PK belonging to a team loaded with speed and expensive DMen
    * Worst NHL team in allowing players to camp out in front of our goalies
    * One of the Worst NHL teams in attempting to block shots
    * One of the worst GAA and SAVE %s in the entire league
    * One of the SOFTEST teams in the league, making the Hawks easy to play against
    * No 2nd Line Centre
    * Tons of money invested on a Defence that has a #2 (Sebs), a #3 (Keith), and three #6 DMen (Hammer, Oduya and Leddy, for now)…Montador was a complete bust (with the exception of his 2 week PP stardom), Olsen too young and O’Donnell too old

    Look at this list…the first two are ALL COACHING when you possess this talent…then the next two are shared between the coaches (for NOT CHANGING A THING) and the GM for not bringing in the right players…then the last three, all hang on the GM…he anointed CC to our #1 goalie after 1 good season ANYWHERE, including in the minors…he signed Ray Emery, with a bad hip, to be our #2 goalie, and he did a good job AT BEING A NUMBER 2 GOALIE…but having two #2 goalies on the roster doesn’t help when you are in the playoffs and your team can only score 2 goals a game…and losing Niemi while maintaining Nick “call me Lidstrom” Hjarlmarsson is turning out to be one of the worst moves Bowman has ever made! We have a TON of money invested into our D and we have TONS of problems with our D and NO MONEY to use to fix the problem…

    In Bowman’s defence (all pun intended), Keith is 2 years removed from the Norris Trophy, how could he suspect that after the 2010 season Keith would become a fairly consistent, serviceable #3 DMan??? But that is what Duncan Keith has become…a very expensive, inconsistent #3 DMan…Sebs was a good signing, but Hammer and Montador are incredibly AWFUL decisions. The only good thing about Montador was that PP run he had, as a DMan he was a weak, inconsistent #6 DMan at almost $3 million a year…Hammer could have been a healthy scratch for a lot of the season had we the bodies to do so. Leddy was a great trade, and is going to be a good DMan, but he needs less stress and more time to develop!

    Going into this season we needed a #2 Centre, a Top 3 DMan, and grit…Bowman got NONE of those things…even Jamal Myers and Dan Carcillo that he brought in for the grit weren’t there in the playoffs…our grit came from a 5th round draft choice who ended having more points and playing more minutes than ANY 5th round draft choice in NHL HISTORY, and a former 2nd round selection whom we traded for with the Leafs last year, Jimmy Hayes, who only played 2 games in the series. We added Bollig and deleted Scott part way through the year, but it did nothing to change our soft image.

    Patrick Kane was asked to play the #2 Centre role…and how did that turn out??? Well he had his WORST SEASON as a pro trying to be something that he is not…plus Kane proved to us that he never practises his shot, as he still can’t hit the net with any consistency.

    And again, our Defence, with the loss of Brian Campbell, was a MESS…however, we did get a $3.5 million Rockford player in return for Campbell.

    The bottom line is this…Coach Q’s staff MUST be better at their jobs…whether that means they all go, or one goes, or two go…as long as they get better at coaching and teaching systems.

    Bowman CANNOT stand on the fact that he has conducted 2 outstanding draft classes. They aren’t enough to turn this team’s fortunes around right now. Young talent takes time to become NHL ready, and even this upcoming season, Pirri, McNeil, Danault, Hayes, etc, are NOT ready to be our #2 centre…and clearly neither is Dave Bolland. So he has to make changes…but the question will be screamed in his ear, “WHY NOT LAST YEAR???”

    A true #2 Centre will have at least 2 years of extremely important service here until the kids are ready…and a Top 2 DMan is necessary from here on…Dylan Olsen, Shawn LaLonde, J0e Lavin, Ryan Stanton, Holl, Johns, etc…will not be contributing as our Top 4 DMen for some time, if EVER! If Bowman re-ups on Johnny Oduya, I will spill my lunch…maybe he should just go out and get Chris Campoli again, and our Defence can officially be called the Ice Capades…one, two, kick…one, two, kick…

    Brandon Saad appears ready to join on…Shaw and Hayes should be fixtures here…Brandon Pirri deserves a shot as well…Dylan Olsen needs to be given a spot on the 3rd pairing (which currently has 6 DMen on it), Morin should be ready to give it a go again…if Ben Smith is completely healthy, he deserves another shot. Mark McNeil should be given a legitimate shot at making the squad as well…but where would that leave us??? Young, still relatively small, and not championship calibre…because that is the reality here, the Hawks (under Stan Bowman’s approach) are still 2 years away from giving the Cup another shot…and all of you need to be aware of this.

    Bowman stuck his neck out on the line (and therefore EGO) with Corey Crawford, Steve Montador and Hammer, so look for all 3 to come back as significant contributors next year…so that means we will only have the money for a mid range #2 centre and a Top 4ish DMan to add to the list…and no matter how good some of our youngsters improve to, this will be nowhere good enough to become a physical, tight checking, disciplined hockey team within a year.

    Stan Bowman has been the architect of these past 2 seasons, and the next 2 struggles as well…he is also the architect of 2 outstanding drafts…that is why this Hawks team is going to struggle and grow the next couple of years before we have the experienced, larger bodies necessary to become that physical, checking team that can win in the playoffs.

    And that’s just the reality of the situation…

  • April 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Kane and a draft pick can be traded this summer for a true #2 Centre and a top 3 DMan with grit…this would go a long way in improving this team’s chances at ever winning another playoff series…

  • April 24, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    I say throw money at a UFA or RFA in the offseason. Weber or Suter come to mind. We need another top tier player. We have good young people coming up and Bickell played great last night. Maybe we can put Nashville in a tough spot by making them resign a player like San Jose did to us with Hammer. Something creative where we add someone without dropping a top player. So if we add someone, drop the old guys, and bring our younger players up we can do something next year. That leaves goalie and hopefully we can get someone better than Crawford. Ideally somebody big in the Mike Smith/Peka Rinne mold. But I know those are hard to come by. For the record I still say we are better than Phoenix. I agree with Nancy above that a criminal goon tipped the scales on the series and the league let him get away with it in game 3 and never made it up to us. Phoenix’s win is tainted by that and the refs are a joke for not keeping a special eye on by far the biggest and well known headhunter/charger in the NHL. As the say on ESPN. COME ON MAN.

  • April 24, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    brad, you’re actually pretty spot on. kaner needs to either learn to hit the net, pass the puck or be traded.

  • April 24, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    After reading all of these posts, I am under the impression that Scotty’s son is under some heat from the Hawk fans. He should be.

    But before we start making huge changes, we need to look at a few things that are facts that make this team differ from our Stanley Cup winning 2010 team:

    1. We lack depth up front. Kane, Toews, Sharp and Hossa didn’t have to carry the mail all the time. Ladd, Buff, Versteeg, Brouwer and a couple others scored and checked very well. Without depth, Phoenix checked our top 4 players knowing that the others weren’t “difference makers”.
    2. Our defensemen aren’t that bad, but our defensive philosophy is a little “goofy”. We tend to not take people off the puck, on the boards. We extend our sticks and try to keep the puck moving, which is good until we meet a team like Phoenix that can get the puck from us and shoot from the point. We need to “body check” better in our zone.
    3. Is Crawford better than Niemi? Possibly. But Niemi never let in bad goals. Crawford makes great saves, then lets one roll past him with 3 minutes left in the game. That can’t happen to winning teams.

    What to do:
    1. Sorry Nancy, you don’t trade PAtrick Kane. When he tries to skate through 3 guys, it drives me NUTS, but he sees that the team is flat and he is really trying to make something happen. You can’t teach what Patrick Kane has……..the ability to manuever in traffic with the puck and make something happen. Plus, he has youth and speed, which is what you want in the NHL(I wish he was 6’3″)….LOL.
    2. Toews isn’t going anywhere, thank God.
    3. Sharp is a very tradeable player, but the guy is a sniper with good speed. Plus, I think he is only 31 years old.
    4. Hossa has lost a step and this injury may slow him up, a bit, next year. Plus, his contract isn’t a tradeable one, either. Hossa is here, next year.
    5. Stahlberg is fast, but he’s too soft and can’t score unless the net is wide open. Look for Scotty’s son to move Viktor.
    6. Bruno, O’Donnell and Mayers were only 1 year contracts, so, I believe that they are gone.
    7. O’duya is okay at 1.5mil, but if he wants 3mil, send him packing, too.
    8. Bring up the kids……..Saad, Pirri, Beach, Shaw, Hayes, Olsen and Salak and let them play. Let’s see what we have.

    I’m sure TAB can run some numbers on Crawford and Niemi, but I think they are about the same, as far as save%, wins and shots against.

    I heard that Louongo lifted his “no trade” clause. I wouldn’t take that guy if he offered to play for free……LOL.

    The clock for Scotty’s son starts today. We gave him a pass in 2011 because of the salary cap. This year, I gave him a break because I figured he needed another year to get his feet wet and get some experience. Well, now his feet get held to the fire by me, other HAwk fans AND John McDonough.

  • April 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Tom, since Torres was the biggest charger/cheap shot artist in the league don’t you think the 4 refs should have kept a special eye on him in game 3. No excuse missing that call and it turned the series against us. I mean Hossa’s on a stretcher from a play that the league said violated 3 rules and one of the longest suspensions in NHL history and those 4 idiots give Phoenix a power play. We should have had a 5 minute major and a game misconduct in our favor. Instead, Torres is skating around the rest of that game after that, which wa was beyond disgraceful. Then you would think the refs would cut us some breaks after the Phoenix goon took out one of our top players and got away with it. Wrong again. In fact its the opposite. Toews penalty that lead to the first Phoenix goal was nothing, Hayes could have been given 2 minutes and the blow to the head on Shaw by #53 wasn’t called. Also Smith got quick whistles the whole series. I’m sorry but to me Phoenix got every possible break and they benefitted from Torres illegal play. Phoenix has a tainted win and I hope Nashville sweeps them because they do not deserve to be in the second round.

  • April 24, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Pete, whoa……whoa…..whoa. Listen to me and try to understand…….the non-call on Torres was awful. It was missed by all 4 refs and that is terrible. Believe me, the league held them accounable, too.

    Now, did they know that Torres was on the ice at that time? Absolutely they did. But if they keep an eye on him, they will miss something. I understand what you are saying, but it just doesn’t work that way. Like I said, the refs knew that they made a mistake, but there is no such things as “I owe you one” at any level. I have never said and no ref has ever said, “coach, I screwed up, I owe you one”. A ref worth his salt has never said that. As a ref, you are taught to say, “I missed it, coach”. Period.

    The game at the NHL level is so fast and so violent that it is difficult to see and call everything. Even the game at the Catholic league and junior levels is so fast and so quick that it’s hard to see everything. Players get hurt on perfectly clean plays.

    Before you critique an ice hockey ref, put the stripes on and do the job. It’s the toughest “job” in sports. I’m not defending the four refs who called that game, I’m defending the profession.

  • April 24, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    The Western Conference has transmogrified into the land of highly disciplined, defense first teams with superior goaltending winning the day. Look at St. Louis, Nashville, Phoenix and LA. The modus operandi is the same.

    What has to happen for the Hawks is straighforward.
    1. Bowman needs to look at what he has OBJECTIVELY. He seemingly falls to in love with his own players and prospects, an afliction that Dale Tallon did not suffer from. Bowman needs to start with objective analysis of what he has, and doesn’t have, in Nick Leddy and Vik Stalberg.
    2. Screaming need for a physical defenseman who can be a first or second pairing with Duncan Keith, Brett Seabrook and Nik Hjalmarsson. Bowman has the organizational assets to engineer a big time trade.
    3. Humongous need for a top 6 left wing. The void in this regard has been crippling and MUST be addressed.
    4. Determining whether this team has a bonafide top 6 center or not. Is Marcus Kruger that guy? Is Mark McNeal that guy? If not…and if not ready SOON…then Bowman needs to get a bonafide center for that 2nd line.

    Corey Crawford? He’s serviceable. And he’s all ours for at least another season because better option is doubtful available in the marketplace. Add a physical d-man, bolster LW and we might be surprised by what Crawford can do. But no, he is not ever going to be in the class of Pekka Rinne, Jonathan Quick, et al. So you address the situation as best you can in other ways.

  • April 24, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    A few thoughts on the series:

    Toews should not have come back. Very lucky his concussion was not reaggravated.

    The defensive scheme of Phoenix deserves more credit than everyone is giving them. We struggle against teams that clog the neutral zone. By eliminating space, they shut down our top two lines.

    The stars were negated by the defensive scheme of Phoenix. Phoenix/Nashville will be a war of attrition.

    Oduya exposed himself. He was knocked off the puck too easily, couldn’t control passes at the blueline, and could not win board battles.

    Hjalmarsson was directly responsible for four goals in the series. He was the worst player on the ice in my book.

    I would grade Kane’s effort as a solid B, I don’t understand why so much hate is being thrown his way. He was one of the few forwards that played with urgency throughout the entirety of the series.

    Crawford played his way into a secondary role.

    Trading Stalberg would be a very intelligent hockey decision. Stock has never been (and probably won’t be) higher.

    Why was Sharp anchored to the wing when he is effective at center? Kane lost most of his draws, why force the issue with him at center.

    I expect minor coaching changes to be made. Impotence on the PP crippled them this season. Kitchen has to go.

  • April 24, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    I’m not going to write a book – Tab did a nice job of that. You can make up a long list of problems for any team but let’s focus on the biggest issue – regular season and play-offs – special teams. With the Blackhawks’ top talent the cause must come down to coaching. No amount of trades or free agent signings can fix that. We need a coach who can teach our talent and give them a system that gets us into the top 10 on special teams. Otherwise next year will be just as frustrating, and ultimately disappointing, as this one.

  • April 24, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Hawks need to do three things:

    1) Find an affordable replacement for Brian Campbell. Yeah, you can keep Oduya, but he goes on the third pairing and you ship Hjalmarsson out, or vice versa. Then you get a bonafide number three who can move the puck. Grab him via trade, free agency, I don’t care which.

    2) Goaltending. I heard a Luongo to Chicago rumour, which is hilarious, because that’d be like sending Joker Davis to fight for the Viet Cong, but it’s a concern. Crawford can be the backup, do whatever you want with Emery, he has no mobility at all, especially in terms of lateral movement.

    3) It’s time for Coach Q to go. He’s not a great tactician, he doesn’t seem to motivate either the top or bottom six, and he insists on playing guys like Scott and Bollig (to be fair, Bollig wasn’t terrible in his role). It’s time for either a savvy bench-leader or a hard-ass Sutter type, not the ineffective in-betweener we have now.

    4) I know I said three, but screw it, it’s really time for a top notch center behind Toews. I like Bolland in the playoffs still, he wasn’t scoring, but no one was really. They seemingly hate Sharp in that role, so throw some cash at Stoll from LA during July and lock that position up. He has a hammer of a shot, can win faceoffs and kill penalties, and there’s untapped potential. Plus, he can compete with Bolland for the 2nd line center position.

  • April 24, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Brad- great as usual- I disagree w/ 1 thing!!! Your comment on the Hawks PP w/ regards to blaming Coaches vs. Players

    this comment is directed to both you and Smitty… IMO- the Hawks “offensive talent” is over-rated. 2010 they had Buff/Ladd who were willing, able, and gifted in scoring in front of net… without any true net/power forward (mostly Buff) this “gifted/core” has been exposed- the points (Keith) can’t get a shot on goal because the D -PK does not have to focus and battle that tank in front of net… every team realized this and was able to pressure Hawks perimeter 4 on 5- because Hawks don’t have that MAN in front of net that demands attention!!! Sharp used to score 7-10 goals on one timers on PP… not this year!!!! The only success the PP really had was 2 week stint when Monty was POSTED in front of net (he was a very poor-man’s Buff for 2 weeks).

    I don’t fully blame coaches for PP… I blame Bowman and lack of personnel… when Shaw and Kruger become “your net Power Forwards on PP” or “skates in quicksand Bruno” is your net presence… the PP is doomed to fail.

    Agreed- we don’t have enough money for both a Top 6 forward and a Top 2 D-man, unless we make a bold move and trade one of the “Core” offensive talents! IMO-those offensive talents were made great by guys like Buff, Ladd, Versteeg, Campbell… we are too far away from those days…

    If Hawks really want to compete… they might have to pull a Flyers… and shed some Fat contracts for a couple of Schenn- Simmonds type contracts.

  • April 25, 2012 at 2:11 am

    I think our biggest problem was special teams. It crippled us all year. We went from one of the best to one of the worst. Kitchen needs to be dropped like a hot potato! If our special teams played at even a decent competent level we would have won this series no problem.

  • April 25, 2012 at 5:27 am

    phhhh… whatever. so the fanbase wants to fire the coach, trade patrick kane, tear apart the core, blame a lack of depth, yadda yadda because we lost to a hot goalie?


    we’re close to having another stellar team. we’re just missing two pieces. another bruising, stay-at-home d-man to pair with Leddy and CLEAR PEOPLE FROM THE CREASE (for the love of Sweet Jesus) and a 2nd-line centre; a power forward with size to take Bruno’s place on the PP.

    that’s it. no need to tear the organization apart, we just need two or three pieces and we’ll be amongst the elite teams again.

  • April 25, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Travis- You hit the nail right on the (Indian)head. I was screaming for a trade at the deadline that would acquire… wait for it…..
    1. a true #2 center (say, like Jeff Carter who now is moving on/up to the 2nd round with LA after beating the Nucks, or Paul Gausted who is now moving on/up to 2nd rnd w/Preds),
    2. a big defenseman to be physical and CLEAR THE CREASE (say, like Gill, who is moving on/up to the 2nd round with Nashville), and
    3. a big boy with grit and physical presense that WE can put in the OTHER TEAM’s CREASE (biggest mistake we made was letting Buff go, regardless of the cap situation, and I screamed as much then, but hey, water under the bridge-right?…)

    So, Jr stayed pat (adding “Hjalmerssen-2” in Oduya at the deadline), and guess what? We are DONE. This is where we are PREDICTABLY, based on our player moves (or lack thereof.) Get these pieces addressed and we’ll be back with a much better shot at it next year..

  • April 25, 2012 at 8:45 am

    I think we need to focus on two things in the offseason:

    1. balancing out the roster with players that complement what we have

    2. some better coaching – passes need to be more accurate, shots need to be on net, players need to be in better position, and the players need to be aggressive and determined. Someone commented that we almost won even though we played like shit for 5 games. Well, that’s the problem.Who cares if we’re better in theory than other teams? Why aren’t we playing like it counts every game? Too many games this season were lost because the players sat back. The coach needs to get it into these players’ heads that, while they’re maybe better than a good portion of the NHL talent wise, they won’t win unless they play hard. The hawks only turn it on when they’re in dire straights, and, as we saw in Game 6, it’s too late. Once we have players to complement the team game, we need to be consistent.

  • April 25, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Travis… I said same thing….but my reality says Bowman/Cap can’t afford to pay for those 2 things…. unless you make a BIG MOVE!!!

    Flyers, were smart! They new how great Giroux was… and before the rest of the league knew they Signed him to a smart (underpaid contract)… shipped the two over paid Guys and bought alot of mid-level very good players!!!

    Hawks should/could have done this w/ Toews/Kane… signed/extensions at reasonable 3.5-4.5 after 1st years…. once they won cup… these guys are ROCK STARS… Toews deserves…. Kane not so much… IMO.

  • April 25, 2012 at 9:42 am

    There’s one enormous problem with your theory, wall: NHL rules specifically restrict players from negotiating a contract extension until the last hockey year of the contract; for example, Patrick Sharp signed his extension in August with one year left on his contract, so his cap number doesn’t go into effect until July 1.

    The problem Tallon and, ultimately, Bowman had was that Keith, Kane & Toews all needed a new contract in the summer of ’10. So the team couldn’t start negotiating a cheap deal with them before July 1, 2009… at which point they had already taken the team to the conference finals. I think we should all be thankful that Bowman signed them for what he did when he did, because heaven knows Toews could have asked for more if he had a Conn Smythe & Olympic Most Outstanding Forward on his resume when the paper was handed out.

    Regarding Giroux: the Flyers signed him to a three-year deal with a $3.75M cap number before last year. He’ll be a restricted free agent in the summer fo 2014, at which point Sidney Crosby will already have a new deal in hand and the Flyer will be looking at a $8M per starting point for negotiations. If we’re going to pat Holmgren on the back, it should be for Simmonds outscoring Richards this year, not for giving Giroux a three-year deal that will crucify the organization in two more years.

  • April 25, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Let´s relax and breathe for a second. Our Hawks outplayed the crap out of Phoenix – outskated them, danced all around them, outshot them by a mile and we still lost. OK – it is what it is. But Phoenix had no fear of our PP (we have none – 1 for 19!!!) Smith was a miracle worker – like Thomas last year. You can´t beat great goalkeeping, a little luck, and biased officiating. It is what it is. The idea with Stoll sounds real good and why not Schneider as a goalie (I´m not giving up on Crawford). WE ARE A REALLY GOOD TEAM – REALLY REALLY GOOD, but the grab and drag game killed us – and a few other teams as well. I remain fully upbeat about our Hawks and will stay that way until there is a legit reason not to. We were also badly outcoached but Q knows that himself. Get our special forces (PP; PK; 6th man,…) in gear and let the others watch and learn

  • April 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Can anyone tell me why Q. benched J. Mayers in the the last three games of the playoffs in favor of Morrison? It did not make sense to me, Mayers was the only good picked up by Stan Bowman.

  • April 25, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Many great ideas, but (and I am saying this as Thomas gets beat and Washington moves on, who saw that coming) a hot goalie beat us.

    Until we imploded and lost 9 in a row, this team was rolling on top of the mountain, then did what they needed to maintain their position to get to the playoffs.

    This team needs a couple of pieces as discussed, we gave away a great deal over the last 2 years, but have a number of prospects that are unproven that can potentially provide what is needed. As stated it is a big transitions from juniors, AHL, etc to the NHL, so Stan has to show some guts like Dale did.

    One quick comment. I did not join this site until late in the year, there is a great deal of quality in regard to the game stated here and appreciate the passion for Red Steel. You will help me get through another early spring.

    Gonna be a long summer, but I stated to several band wagon jumpers in 2010, we are three years from getting back to the top of the mountain. Time will tell.

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