Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Please Hockey, Save Us From Boredom and Idiocy

Even though the weather is nice and hot in Chicago, hockey fans can't help but dream for September, so we can see a little puck-n-ice action. The summer is a great time for me, and most of the hockey reporting world to get some much needed down time. That time is quickly coming to a close, though. August is here, and training camp is right around the corner, but this leaves time to continue the silliness of the summer NHL rumor mill. Here are a few issues I haven't had a chance to weigh in on yet.
A rumor was brought to my attention late last week, regarding Patrick Kane going to rehab for drug abuse. This is some of the silliest crap I've heard in a long time. Look, we all know professional athletes like to party from time to time, and Kaner is a young kid having fun with life. There have been NO signs of anything out of the ordinary with young Patrick, and the only rehab he will be seeing is for his surgically repaired wrist. By all accounts, Kaner has put on some bulk, and is ready for the new season. Cut the kid some slack, because I'm sure what all of YOU were doing at 22 probably weren't your finer moments. Lets not get crazy with the rumors.

Who would have thought that inviting a guy to try out for your team would cause such discussion? Last Wednesday it was announced that the Blackhawks had invited former Senators, Flyers, and Ducks goalie Ray Emery to try out for a spot in camp. Immediately, there was an uproar from the Twitards about this move. I cannot stress enough how this move can do nothing but help the Blackhawks. They don't owe him a single cent for coming to camp, and if he looks good, they can offer him a contract. This said contract can either be to play behind Crawford or start in Rockford. Granted, he won't want to play in Rockford, but he's free to then walk away. If HE completely shits the bed, then the Hawks let him walk.

Not only that, but it creates some competition for Salak and even Crawford. Wouldn't it be NICE to have to make a tough decision between Emery and Salak? That's a problem Stan Bowman should be licking his lips at, and not to mention that there aren't many goalies willing to TRY OUT without a contract. Bowman should be lauded for getting Emery to agree to this situation, because most goalies would want SOME kind of monetary gain, even if they don't make the team. This guy has been to the Stanley Cup finals, AS A STARTER, WITH THE OTTAWA SENATORS. Yes, He was a bust in Philly because he had MAJOR hip problems that kept him out for roughly a year, and almost ended his career. This is the same injury that ended the career of one of the best athletes in the 90's, Bo Jackson. Bo didn't know hockey, but Ray does. He has rehabbed the injury after his surgery, he is back in the league, and he looked VERY WELL for the Ducks, last year, when Hiller went down with a foggy head. Remind me where ANY of this puts the Hawks at risk, please?

On a more personal note, I happen to really like Ray Emery's fire and attitude. He has had his issues, but has he really been any more of a handful than Dan Carcillo? I hope he does well for the Hawks, and I would gladly wear an Emery jersey. He's not going to win a Vezina trophy, but he's also not going to hurt the team as a backup. Welcome to Chicago, Ray Emery, and I hope to tell you that in person some day soon. Here is to healthy competition.

It was announced this week that former Blackhawks Chris Chelios and Gary Suter were elected to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, along with Keith Tkachuk. None of this should be a surprise after the careers they both had, here in Chicago and elsewhere. They were the original Keith and Seabrook, or should I say Keith/Seabrook are Cheli/Suter version 2. Being a Calgary Flames fan back in the day, I was very familiar with Suter, and couldn't believe the Hawks were able to get him for Frantisek Kucera and Jocelyn Lemieux. That's STILL a steal. He played for the Hawks for 4 1/2 seasons and including 34 playoff games. He was the perfect compliment to Cheli's physical play, and it showed on the ice.

What needs to be said about Cheli? Maybe the BEST American born player to step on the ice, and one tough son of a bitch. He came in under fire, when the Hawks traded away fan favorite Denis Savard, but he quickly won his home town fans over. Before long, Savard was fading into the twilight of his career, and Cheli was at the top of his game. No matter how you feel about his departure here, he's still one of the best ever and deserves to be a first ballot inductee to Toronto, as well.

These two are still my favorite Hawks duo just ahead of #2 and #7. Congrats, Guys!

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