Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Let the Craziness Begin

This time of year, between free agency and the beginning of training camp, is the time of the NHL year that brought me to begin writing this blog. Every "Tom, Dick and Harry" has a gripe and opinion. Most of which are either moronic, or just plain splitting hairs, and this season is no different. There are questions and concerns, as there are with any year. Some are legitimate and some are just because people have nothing better to do with their time. Actually, most of it is the latter. I watch people ask the beat writers some of the dumbest questions known to man, on a daily basis, on twatter. This frustrates me to no end, because as a fan, most of these questions answer themselves. This is why I could never be a beat writer with direct access to the fans. I'd flame each and every one, because I can understand mistakes, but what I can't tolerate is stupidity.

Last year, we had the little fanboys and fangirls claiming the management was purposely tearing the team apart, in some diabolical conspiracy to make the team worse. Makes sense, right? Anyhow, that was addressed last year, so I'm not going to open THAT can of worms again, but we have the same idiocy going on in Blackhawk Nation this summer. There are some really odd ones out there, so let me address a few:
  • What should be the BIGGEST concern is a second line center. Last year, I proclaimed that Sharpie would be the #2, and Bolland belonged at #3, which is exactly what happened. Based on what the roster looks like, that is the same scenario we'll see this camp. Sharpie is out of position and they're not getting all their full value out of him, but there is/was no other option. It's obvious, to those with brain, that Stanimal was not going to dump a truckload of cash into another long term embarrassment of a contract, that they would be begging ANYONE to take, in 3 years. Brad Richards was NEVER coming to Chicago, and I doubt they ever contacted his agent. They hedged their bets on role players with contracts that were of minimal risk. In a business sense, SMART. Not flashy, but you're not eating an Alex Yashin size buy out, if the guy flakes. It's not the end of the world that the All-Star game MVP is your #2 center to start the season, but this is a temporary fix. No one at Rockford is going to be able to handle #2 OR #3 duties, and this includes Marcus Kruger. He's just TOO small, and TOO inexperienced. Hell, Bolland isn't even in a position to move up to the #2 slot, even though he has proven to be an excellent #3 guy, when he finally decided to show up. Barring some glorious miracle in NY, with one of their RFA Centers not returning, we're going to be fed Sharpie out of position. The Hawks have $6.2 Million in cap space, so an in season move is the most likely scenario.

  • When you have nothing else to rag about, you turn to...Backup Goalie. Considering the Blackhawks luck in developing young goaltenders, you'd think that people would trust their eye for talent, but alas, I've read twatters crying about how thin the team is at goalie. First of all two years ago, we were slated to begin the season with CRISTOBAL HUET as our #1, and two hardly known guys named Niemi and Crawford, battling for the #2 slot. How'd that work out? THEN, last year they had a fairly questionable #1, in Turco, with that same hardly known Crawford kid who couldn't beat out an undrafted free agent, in the #2 slot. How did THAT work out? In each of the last two years the Hawks developed, young, hardly known players into solid NHL starters, so this is not some huge surprise. Now, for the first time in years, the Hawks starter is back. Good, no? On to the #2 guy. Not to mention they have one of the best goalie coaches in the entire game of hockey.

    So, this season the backup slot goes to Alexander Salak. Who, you ask? I've written about him previous, but he comes with exactly 6 less pro games than Crawford came with, last season, and exactly 2 MORE games than Niemi had in HIS rookie year. Lets drill down a little more, though. Salak was in Europe, on loan from the Panthers, all last season, but in 09-10 he played VERY well in the AHL with Rochester. Well, as in, 29-14-0 with a 2.89 GAA, and .910 SV%. Our new hero with the capital "C" on his chest, Corey Crawford, was 24-16-2 with a 2.67 GAA and .909 SV%. You see where I'm going with this, right? This year our goaltenders are LESS at risk than they were the year we won the Stanley Cup. That is, unless everyone was pinning their high hopes on Hannu Toivonen, last year.

    Lets say, for argument sake, that Salak pisses through his diaper, and plays like Luongo in games 4 and 5 last year. OH NOES! Alec Richard really isn't the man, but could he fill in for 10 games? MAYBE. Let's say he can't. Kent Simpson, Mac Carruth, and Cal Heeter aren't ready, right? That would be a correct assumption, because goalies typically take longer to make the NHL ranks. You don't see many 18 year old goalies playing in the NHL. OH NOES TIMES TWOS! As of this very moment, Marty Turco, Ty Conklin, Patrick Lalime, Ray Emery and a host of others are going to be begging for a job, soon, and there are NOT many open slots in the NHL. Chances are that a decent serviceable guy will be hanging around, and if the world comes crashing down, Stan has some cap room to make a trade. If we get to that point, there are probably much bigger issues going on. So, lets put the poison kool-aid down, and relax. A majority of the hockey world hasn't even seen Salak even PLAY yet.

  • If anyone thinks that the NHL is going to break up what might be it's most intense rivalry, to leave the Hawks in a division that consists of Columbus, Nashville, Winnipeg, and Dallas, they are out of their minds.

    First of all, The Hawks SHOULD and WOULD dominate that division into laughability, because the only team listed that is actually competition would be Nashville.

    Second, You're more likely to see the Packers and Bears split up, because THAT is just as silly.

    Third, I'll let Tab Bamford over at the Committed Indian spell it out for you a little better, before this whole things gives me a migraine. NHL Realignment Reality Check

  • Rostislav Olesz will be somewhere on the opening day roster for the Blackhawks, whether it's on the forth line or in the press box. Like most executives, Stanimal isn't going to admit failure easily, and buying out Olesz wasn't going to happen. Bowman came right out and said that the period for buying out his contract had passed, and who is going to trade for this guy? They aren't going to send him to Rockford, making over $3 million a year. Get use to seeing a little #85 out there.

  • Most Rockford players are still a ways away from playing in the NHL. Plan all you'd like but the only player looking at NHL time, other than Ben Smith, is Jeremy Morin. I've watched a few of them, and they belong in the AHL. This is not a knock, they just need seasoning. Accept it, because it's the harsh reality. If you want to cheer for them, make the trek an hour and a half west.
This will be continued, oh yes it will...

Shoutcast Player


Facebook Page

Blog Archive