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Saturday, May 26, 2012

An Incredi-bolly Dilemma

Normally, I let don't get too riled up over one article, unless it is a subject that really gets under my skin. The artcles that bring the insane personnel change scenarios are the ones that chafe my ass like no others. That is usually because these silly scenarios are just video game pipe dreams. Hence the David Bolland Dilemma. A couple of weeks ago, Al Cimaglia from Hockey Independent threw out a vague rumor to trade Dave Bolland for a second line center or to make room for Ryan Suter. Then, this week, Jesse Rodgers from ESPN followed suit by floating a similar scenario, involving Jordan Staal from the Penguins. Where there is smoke, fire usually follows, right?

There are a couple of details about these ideas that don't sit right with me, and I have to stand behind Sam Fels at Second City Hockey/Committed Indian. Moving Bolland, who is one of the top third line centers in the entire league, just shifts the hole at center to third line. Kruger might develop into a good third line center, SOMEDAY, but at the moment, he's too small, and takes too much of a beating. The Hawks are already thin at the position in the first place, and trading away a proven commodity, like a shutdown center, doesn't compute to me. For a team that has already had questionable defensive zone prowess, letting a defensive gem go is kind of silly, when you're not upgrading. In Jesse's case, he suggested Bolland, Saad, a prospect, and a pick for Staal, which is complete skull sodomy. Bolland is Bolland, Saad is going to be a stud in the near future, they have depth in the system but they aren't overflowing, and how many early picks has anyone seen Bowman give up? If Bowman offered the Pens that deal and they turned it down, they are brain dead.

Jordan Staal is a really nice player, BUT he only has a year left on his $4 million deal, where he then becomes an UFA. When he hits the open market, he could command a multi-year deal in upwards of $6 million a year, to the right buyer. Do the Blackhawks want to play that game of Russian Roulette, and possibly be left minus 5 bodies, at the beginning of 2013-14? It just doesn't make any sense.

Let me make this clear, it's not the dealing of Bolland that I disagree with, it's the details. If there was a tasty deal out there, and the names Bolland, Hjalmarsson, Stalberg, or Bickell are involved, by all means pull the trigger, but the return has to make sense. I wouldn't even be opposed to parting with Morin, Pirri or one of the defensive prospects in Rockford, for the right price. I just beg for some sign sanity.

As far as Suter goes, it's a pipe dream. He will be calling Detroit home, come September. The Blackhawks aren't going to go into the next season with a #3 defender making more cabbage than their #1 and #2 defenders; AGAIN. Fels made a great point with Chris Block a few weeks ago, when he said that over $7 million a year wasn't good enough last summer for Campbell, but it is this summer for Suter? They both bring different things to the table, but Campbell brings more of what the Hawks need. This deal would just prove last summer's deal an enormous failure and waste of time.

In other positive news, the Hawks re-upped Jamal MegaMayers to a one year $600K deal. Based on the price and his versatility, I'm perfectly fine with this depth move. If he sits half of the games, it's still a deal for a fan favorite.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mid May Blackhawks Gripes and Grudges

These mid and late Mays without Blackhawks hockey are getting old. Anytime the Hawks would like to stop throwing the rest of the league a bone, is fine with me. The Hawks getting knocked out of the playoffs for two straight years in the first round are both a blessing and a curse for fans and bloggers, alike. While it's a nice, and a much needed, break for me, the Hawks have obviously failed in their goal of winning Lord Stanley's big silver chalice. That said, I'd gladly trade my month long sanity break for another Stanley Cup. EVERY YEAR!

Moving on, There have been a few developments that have poked their heads up like prairie dogs, in the last few weeks, so they should probably be addressed.

First of all, The Hawks announced that Mike Haviland was relieved of his coaching duties with the team. At first glance the Hawks fandom, myself included, were up in arms. Everyone thought that since Havvy was one of those links to the 2010 Stanley Cup, he'd be around as long as he felt fit; or until the rest of the staff was let go. Anyhow, Quenneville threw everyone for a loop, and dismissed Havvy.

If you dig a little deeper, this move makes sense for Quenneville. It has long been rumored that Haviland was the chosen one, when either Quenneville decided to move on, or was let go. Pushing Haviland out the door was a good way to relieve some pressure, because it can't be easy doing your job when your successor is looking over your shoulder every day. Secondly, Havvy was the last holdover from the Pre-Quenneville and for that matter, Pre-Stanley Cup era. With him gone, Quenneville can bring in all his own guys. Sink or swim, it will be all his boat. Maybe there was more to this relationship than meets the eye, but we may never know. The bottom line is that Quenneville needs to bring in a person, or people, to help get this ship moving in the right direction.

The reason most people are upset is that Havvy was a nice guy. No one really knows whether his head or assistant coaching abilities were good enough, except his colleagues. In the big picture, the Blackhawks lose a helluva guy, and that is about it. He may end up a great Head Coach somewhere but, and as much as Quenneville pisses us all off, Mike Haviland as the Hawks head coach probably would have taken them back a step or two, and they can't afford that.

Image blatantly borrowed from Deadspin.com, Click to see more

Now we get to the good ol fashion fun stuff. Drunken shenanigans, fights, banging slutty college tramps, GTL-ing, and insulting the general masses. Typical 23 year old behavior, right? According to Deadspin, young Pat Kane chose to spend his cinco de mayo in the popular tropical resort town of Madison Wisconsin because, when I think of time off following a busy NHL season, Madison is at the top of my list. ALLEGEDLY, Kaner and a few pals had some t-shirts printed up with THIS PICTURE on the back and the Spanish version of "Two Fives Equal Ten". Pretty funny, if you ask me, but have a gander for yourself:

Images blatantly borrowed from Deadspin.com, Click to see the story

Looks, folks, Kane is 23 years old. What were YOU doing at 23? Probably doing things much worse than Mr. Kane ALLEGEDLY did. I can't fault him for wanting to let loose and bang some hotties, while in the offseason. Hell, maybe banging some college trixies will give the ol wrist a break. Anyway, I don't have a huge problem with the overall premise, but I DO have some concerns, as I'm sure the Blackhawks suits do.

Patrick Kane is 23 years old, an NHL superstar, and rich. WHY is he drunkenly trolling Madison Wisconsin for Girls Gone Wild rejects? He could throw a legendary bash at his own place, and have higher class ladies with top shelf booze, instead of drinking cheap gutter swill with Midwestern trixies in the middle of deer hunting country. Be smart, kid! I don't claim to know the verbiage of Kaner's contract, but I would guess there is a morals clause somewhere in that document. If say, he was arrested for ALLEGEDLY attempting to choke a college girl at a Kappa Sig party, some might look at that as a "breach of contract" while quoting such clauses to his agent. Just when he was getting over the Buffalo taxicab incident, he shows up in cheesehead land acting like a complete fool. This is a condensed list of ALLEGED misbehavior by young Mister 88:
  • Kicked out of a bar for passing out drunk.
  • Making out with random girls
  • Pulling down girl's sunglasses and telling them, "Eh, not good enough"
  • Was forcibly removed from a party for attempting to choke a girl, which resulted in a shouting match
  • Showed up to a party run by a guy who's girlfriend Kane has been "associating" with
  • Choked a guy out, between fist fights.
  • Passed out again in a bar, twice
  • Was almost arrested for D&D regarding alleged anti-sematic remarks.
These are the things other people witnessed, so there is, no doubt, some silliness that wasn't documented or witnessed outside of Kaner's Entourage.

I am NOT a Kane hater. He had a rough year, being moved all over the lineup after some serious wrist surgery. He's 23, young, horny, and rich. I get it. BUT; when you become a professional athlete, the usual twenty-something asshattery can't apply to you and your Bros. You represent a professional organization and league which was there before you, and will be there well after you're gone. Be smart, and know your place. This is a league that traded Wayne Gretzky more than once, just because. I would hate to see Kaner go, but after enough public episodes, the Hawks brass are going to get fed up. He has the luxury of having a long leash, but Rocky Wirtz may decide, someday, that the dog has bitten the hand that feeds him one too many times. When his face appears in the headlines, it is associated with the NHL and the Blackhawks, whether it was during the season or not. Businesses run that way, and they may or may not have employed a woman beating drunk in the 60's, but there was no internet or twitter to confirm such actions. Hell, JFK slept his ass around Hollywood during his term, but that would not fly these days, nor would he get away with it. The internet would have got him; it always does.

I just want to see Kane succeed in Chicago, and do so for the remaining years of his contract. I think he's a special and dynamic player, but he's walking on thin ice. I don't want to wake up some morning and see the headlines, "Troubled Kane Traded". "Kane Scores Second Career Cup Winning Goal for Blackhawks", has a much nicer ring to it. Reel it in, Pat.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I'm Winston Wolf, I Solve Problems - Blackhawks Bits

The worst part about the playoffs can also the best part. If your team is doing well, it's the most exciting time of year, but if your team gets bounced in the first round, you're left to watch the excitement through others' eyes. While, I'm sure, there is plenty of back office work going on, and the players are enjoying some time to let their bodies heel, the fans are left to tear what few shreds of activity they hear to microscopic bits. Here are the latest bits and pieces:
  • After Marc Bergevin accepted the GM job in Montreal, the Hawks named Norm Maciver Assistant GM for the upcoming season. I really don't know what affect this has on the grand scheme, if any. It's news, and we're bored fans.
  • Now the biggest recent rumor. John Buccigross floated these tweets regarding the future of Joel Quenneville in Chicago, after it was reported the other day that Bergevin was interested in taking Quenneville with him up to Montreal:

    Then, Puck Daddy Greg Wyshynski posted this interesting tid bit: Will Joel Quenneville become the next Montreal Canadiens head coach?

    Quite honestly, I'm not so sure just what to think of this development. To put this bluntly, SHIT IS WRONG! Two years removed from hoisting the Stanley Cup, and the team that Uncle Dale built is moving backwards or, at the very least, towing a whole truck load of average around. This has become the "Chicken or the Egg" scenario, that no one really has the answer for, no matter what they say. Who is responsible for the Amtrack train to Backwardsville?

    Quenneville has certainly mismanaged players, and match-ups for a good three years now. Bowman has tried to play nice, to a degree, by bring in "Quenneville guys", but Quenneville does some absolutely bizarre things like play the top free agent acquisition out of position TWICE, the second of which ended up ended Mr. Montador's season. This is just one example of some head scratching decisions by Quenneville. Dressing John Scott ahead of Montador, and Lepisto? Another face palm inducing stunt. One could also place the specialty teams disaster squarely on the coaching staff's shoulders, and the fumbling of the Goalie situation that has gone on each of the last 4 seasons, as well. Those are just a few, off the top of my head.

    Bowman is far from innocent in this debacle, himself. Yes, he was stuck pillaging the Stanley Cup roster to abide by the cap, and replaced those players with some huge question marks. It could be argued that his hand was forced by Tallon, but he was supposed to be the "chosen one", who could manage these unfortunate circumstances. He has been great at unloading terrible contracts, but he hasn't replaced a departed player with someone of equal or greater value since Nick Leddy was acquired for Cam Barker. The biggest question, this season, was all the cap room they were saving for the stretch run. Brendan Morrison and Johnny Oduya were the big acquisitions that were going to put this team over the edge? This is the team that ran out and bought Marian Hossa in July of '09 to get to the Cup. Last summer, the big splash signing was Brunette and Montador. The Hawks haven't had a legit second line center in years, and both the defense and goaltending is as thin as it's been in years.

    Stanley Cup or not, is this Blackhawks fan base going to go the way of the Bears and White Sox, living off the glory of years past and ignoring immediate problems? I can't answer that, but I won't support another year of mediocrity now, because of success two full years ago. This team is much closer to the Stanley Cup than it is rebuilding, but something or someone needs to give the Chicago Blackhawks a kick in the ass. The biggest problem is that if Bowman or Quenneville were to go, who can keep this team moving ahead, rather than backwards? Slim pickins out there. I don't have an answer because I'm just a loudmouthed blogger, with a day job, but a move somewhere could be reason for excitement.

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