Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blackhawks News and Deja Vu's

For about 5 days, I’ve been basically out of the realm of technology, and out of the realm of catastrophic Chicago floods, apparently. I used my phone to skim through the news, but I let the electronic leashes go, and it was pretty damn refreshing. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end, and here I am. I purposely let some news back up, so I could lend my insight and opinions on the events. Of course, I’m never short on opinions, so let’s dive right into the thick of some Blackhawks news.

Bryan Bickell, Jake Dowell, and Jack Skille

The first news was that the Hawks resigned Bryan Bickell, and former University of Wisconsin teammates Jake Dowell, and Jack Skille. Hardly groundbreaking news but these are important people to fill out the roster. Bickell, a 2nd round pick (41st overall) in 2002, signed for 3 years for about $540,000 a year. Jake Dowell, a 5th round pick (140th overall) in 2004, is in roughly the same situation with a 2 year contract with an annual cap hit of $525,000. Both these guys are going to be 3rd liners at best, and probably 4th line role players, but they are cheap, young and hungry. I hope to see some solid numbers out of them. Now, Jack Skille’s deal is a tad on the amusing side, and I might classify it as a "mercy signing". He took a 50% pay cut to stay and took the “defending champs” discount. Personally, I think this shows a total lack of confidence in him, and it’s not unwarranted. He was drafted 7th overall in the first round of ’05; previous to some kids named Toews and Kane in ’06 and ’07. Granted, Toews and Kane were 3rd and 1st overall respectively, but 7th selections are generally no slouches. Some names that have been picked, recently, in that position are Kyle Okposo, Ryan Suter, Mike Komisarek, Jason Arnott, and Shane Doan. So, to say he’s underachieved is a bit of an understatement. Disappointment is a word I’d throw over Jack Skille’s mug shot, and he probably wouldn’t be able to one time that into the net either. For his sake, I hope he shows a little fight, and some knack for putting the puck in the back of the net this training camp, because if this isn’t a chance to shine and play for the defending Stanley Cup champs, I don’t know what is. It’s pretty safe to say he has his last shot right now. So, here’s to pulling your head out of your ass and putting the puck in the net, Jack. We all hope you’re just a late bloomer.

Nick Leddy

The next news is the signing of young Defenseman Nick Leddy, the 16th overall pick by Minnesota on ‘09. The Hawks signed him to a 3 year, $2.7 million contract. For those of you who were a little preoccupied by the little Stanley Cup run last year; Leddy was acquired with, the possibly whacked by the Swedish mob and currently appearing on milk cartons everywhere, Kim Johnsson for the overpriced Cam Barker. The key to that trade was Leddy, and not Johnsson, so this is good news that the scouting staff thinks he’s progressed enough to play in Rockford, at the very least. Some reports have him looking like(and by looking I don't mean the carrot-top afro) a young Brian Campbell, hopefully minus the pointless spin-o-ramas, and current Penguins free agent signee/breakout player, Paul Martin. I’m really excited to see what this kid can do, and I’m pulling for him to pan out. I like what the Hawks staff has done with their young talent, and I think this kid will benefit from their experience. The key to a deep organization is their development of kids, rather than the signing of established free agents, and the Hawks are doing just that pretty well.

Borrowed from, but accurate.

Now to the real ranting, and hold on to your seats. Last night, a report was floated that the Blackhawks are in negotiations/talks with Jose Theodore, in case this Niemi arbitration goes bad. I almost slit my wrists, throat, and then doused myself in kerosene while holding a lit match, as I read this. Mind you, the name HAS been mentioned as a replacement should Niemi have to be let go. Those of you who just look at stats and awards might think a 33 year old, former Vezina, Hart, and Masterton trophy winner would be a great plan "B", and on paper it sounds like a potpourri of flowers, kittens, rainbows, and peace in the middle east. This couldn’t be further from the truth and I REALLY loathe the idea of him wearing the Indianhead with the number 60 on the back. If you disregard that one year, which I fully believe was a fluke, you have a player that has been slightly above average for a majority of his career, has lost his starting job multiple times, in the last few seasons, to a guy who has yet to keep a steady job in the NHL (Semyon Varlamov), and has even lost his job to the very french skid-mark I can’t mention without dry-heaving for a good half hour, back in Montreal. The very same former Canadians/Capitals skid-mark that has lost HIS starting position multiple times in the last few seasons, which Hawks are currently trying to whack, banish to Siberia, send on a one way flight to the Pacific Ocean, or send on a mission to Mars thanks to Dale Tallon. I certainly hope I’m not the only person that see’s that this is déjà vu, all over again. Stan Bowman now wants to consider handing him the keys to our Stanley Cup defense bus? At that rate, we should KEEP Huet and we could have two flim-flam, dopey, fragile ego’d sieves. If you haven’t read my tone yet, I disagree with this vehemently. Marty Turco is still a MUCH better and consistent option. I hated the Huet signing the day it happened, and I’d feel the same with Theodore. Don’t put me, or any of my Facebook friends, through any more of this torture, please. I doubt they could tolerate my hatred laced Facebook rants for another entire season. Just when I thought I’d never have to see Huet give up another "soft as baby shit" goal, they ring up his alter-ego. Honestly, I’d rather fail with my hopes on Corey Crawford. That’s how little confidence I have in Theodore. I’m hoping the Hockey gods shine a little ray of light down on the Blackhawk nation, because we’ve already endured an emotional summer thus far.

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