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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Teuvo Time…Once Again

The New Year started off with a poorly officiated ending and a Kris Versteeg injury.
However, I think this will ignite the Hawks, rather than set them back.

Versteeg's replacement? A rookie. Yes, we've seen him before. Teuvo Teravainen. He has been on a tear of late, and has earned the right to come on up due to Kris Versteeg's injury.

Recent news. 5 Blackhawks made the All-Star squad by fan vote. What? That is awesome. BTW,…Sharp and Hossa also cracked the top 10, just missing the automatic bid.

The Hawks will be playing for 1st place for the remainder of the year. Anaheim, St. Louis and Nashville will battle them for the President's Trophy and/or the Conference title. In addition, the Hawks, in my opinion will make 1 roster move.
What will it be?

Will Raanta stay or be traded? The Hawks might not be able to re-sign Raanta at the end of the year for they will be cap heavy,…once again, and there will be many suiters out there for him. Not a bad idea to trade him and bring up Scott Darling.

Rundblad, Erixon…who stays? Who goes? The Hawks are loaded on defense at the AHL level as well as Europe…as well as Trevor van Riemsdyk will rejoin the team late.

Michal Rozsival is probably in his last year, as well. I don't think they will trade him. I think he'll finish out his contract and then retire…or move on.

Johnny Oduya, a name that was on the lips of people before Nick Leddy was traded to NY Islanders this past September. It is the end of his contract, as well. I think the Hawks are in a situation they NEED him for the playoff run. But, this may cost them when it comes to re-signing.

Brad Richards…I think he stays, but he could go also. He signed a 1 year deal. But, I do believe his experience in the playoffs will be important and he didn't cost the Hawks much at all. Little to lose by keeping Richards around.

Daniel Carcillo. League min' salary. But, he's their muscle. I don't think he'll end up leaving either.

Brandon Saad…no way, no how! Hawks will re-sign this kid. There have been teams that have offered players/picks for Saad and the Hawks have repeatedly said that Saader is off the table. So, he stays.


Sad to say that Matthew Wuest the founder of Capgeek.com has shut down due to health reasons. This is a sad day for all. Many people used cap geek for their information. We certainly wish Matthew the best. Get well Matthew.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

5-1 On The Road Trip.

The Hawks were struggling in late October to the beginning of November. THEN, they showed up and played Blackhawks hockey. Even the game they lost in Vancouver, they were in that game until the third period. They looked as if they ran out of gas in that back to back game. The Hawks dominated the Circus Trip and now they head back home playing the hockey we all know and love. Kane-Richards-Versteeg played OUTSTANDING. Versteeg, Richards and Kane have averaged a point a game during the last 10 games. The line should be players of the week. Add Crawford in that mix too. He was utterly ridiculous in most of those games. Hawks are second in the league (by 2 goals) with points allowed. Hawks lead the league in the PK. (sound familiar to Frolik and Kruger a few seasons back?) Raanta didn't play a single game during the road trip and when he was supposed to play, he was sick. Not good, especially for a man trying to earn playing time. The Hawks are ready to enter December in 3rd place in the division and 6th in the playoff hunt. Only 3 points out of first place and the wheels are rolling. They're scoring and what was disappointing earlier in the year,…not being able to get at least a point in the close games, they are now winning and taking control of the 3rd period. Hawks still have not shown any trust in Jeremy Morin and by the looks of it, with Carcillo doing very well, it may be a while before he sees the ice again. In addition, Rundblad wasn't too impressive. Clendening got a few NHL games under his belt and Nordstrom is trying to make a difference on that 4th line.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Final Cuts, Mandatory Trade

The Hawks finished the preseason and look at a cap hit of slightly over 2.2m that must be dealt with immediately. Here's what we know. 1) The last two games NICK LEDDY has been out of the line-up and with Coach Q's coy answer on looking at things organizationally,… it appears that Nick Leddy may be the odd man out. Usually when there is an imminent trade, that player is off the ice because they do not want to fear injury to that player canceling any trade. 2) Klas Dahlbeck was brought back up from Rockford shortly after being sent back down to Rockford. ($ 613,333 hit). 3) We know that rumors are flying that with the interest of Nick Leddy by certain team(s) that Stan wants to attach Kris Versteeg's contract to that deal. There appears to be no takers. 4) Kris Versteeg's play this preseason looks quite good. He may be back to his 2010 status. So, the Hawks may not be so willing to part with Versteeg. 5) The Hawks, according to Capgeek.com have ALREADY signed up Dan Carcillo to the league minimum of $550,000. Let's work some numbers out. Capgeek.com has currently taken Teravainen off the Hawks roster and has put Daniel Carcillo on the roster…Hawks are still OVER the cap -$1,872,628. IF the Hawks only get rid of Leddy and his @2.7m contract, this allows the Hawks to fill that last position with someone like Klas Dahlbeck. The Hawks have been dying for a "Big man…or a tough guy" and Mashinter appeared to be the guy. However, the Hawks like Daniel Carcillo and he can play on many lines and add that toughness the Hawks need and want. This will give Teravainen time to develop in Rockford.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Kesler, Stastny, etc... Open UFA Market

The Blackhawks have inquired about Ryan Kesler. The price may be too high. It is believed they want either Brandon Saad or Teuvo Teravainen in the trade. It is also believed the Blackhawks are interested in another centerman: Paul Stastny (Col). This may be a good fit,….however the caveat is that he doesn't wish to take a cut from his massive $6+ million contract. Well,…there goes that idea. Rumored: Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (who share the same agent), are asking for a contract of $12,000,000 yearly. WOW! That would be the two largest contracts in this salary cap era. Do they have the right to that contract? Maybe. But, it would put such a damper on the rest of the team getting any deals, that I believe it would hurt them. I thought 10,000,000 was high,….12 is scary. It isn't that neither Kane nor Toews don't deserve it. The argument that the salary cap will just keep rising is obviously one of the things their agent is relying on,…or Stan Bowman if he agrees to a deal like this. It will be interesting what the hawks do prior to July 1. This time of the year is the most exciting time. This time is the "mold building for the 2014 season". Getting excited yet?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Will The Hawks Go After Ryan Kesler?

2 years left on his $5,000,000, the former Selke Award winner wishes out of Vancouver and supposedly has 2 teams on his "wish list". Pittsburgh Penguins and our very own Chicago Blackhawks. If the Hawks want this guy, who has been injury prone of late, what will they have to give up in order to get him? It would appear that the likelihood of giving up a Johnny Oduya wouldn't be enough for this deal. They'd want someone like Patrick Sharp or Brent Seabrook…or both. That's a scary thought. Yes, I would agree that adding Kesler would be amazing, but they have to be too careful on who they get and more importantly who they'd have to give up in order to get someone of Ryan Kesler's caliber. Draft picks? Possibly, but since a first round 27th pick isn't the most encouraging pick, that might not be a feasible option. If I wanted Kesler I'd offer : 1st round 2014, 3rd round 2015, Johnny Oduya (need to clear cap space), and the rights to Jeremy Morin. And if I was Vancouver,…I'd turn that deal down. I would think to myself, "I'm not here to HELP Chicago, I'm here to boost up our Roster. I'd want 2 first round picks, Brandon Saad. As you have seen in the past, a 1st round pick isn't necessarily a 'sure thing'. With the loaded draft of 2015, the Hawks may want to keep their 2015 pick. I think the chance of the Hawks agreeing to anything is slim,…this year. The Hawks may wait until late next season when Vancouver knows they better get something or they will get NOTHING. Then the Hawks have a better chance of negotiating. But, as of right now,…I don't think any deal gets done.

Friday, June 20, 2014

What Do The Hawks Do Now?

Well, the Hawks were one goal away from being in the Stanley Cup Finals. I guess, the Hawks can take a little solace in the fact that the Kings won the cup, but…that will not be the case. The Hawks, who are actually favored to win the cup next year, don't find ANY solace in losses. So, what do the Hawks do now? Who will they sign? Who will they let go? Who will they bring up? The Hawks started this process last week by letting go of veteran Michael Handzus, stating they are heading in a different direction. Michael played well the 1 1/2 seasons he was with that Hawks. He played steadily on the penalty kill, and filled in on the 2nd line many times during the season. He was a steady hand at the face off dot, but it is time for him to go. Who will the Hawks put at 2nd line center? Shaw, Saad, and Kane were a pleasant surprise during the playoffs, but is that what the Hawks are going to do? Peter Regin. Well, this is an interesting one. He did play well the last week of the regular season with Bickell and Morin. However, that line will not be assembled in 2014-15. I don't know if the Hawks will sign Regin back up, but with Morin most likely leaving, and Teravainen being a kid, this could happen. Jeremy Morin, was quite often a healthy scratch in the regular season when he was up with the Hawks, and he was so in the playoffs, as well. For some strange reason, he never could bust that line up. I don't know why. I personally LOVED him. In fact, I named one of my cats J-Mo in honor of #11. I am agreeing with many of the experts out there that the Hawks will trade Jeremy Morin on or before the draft so they can get something for him. He is a restricted free agent with a TON of value. Hawks will get a lot of interest in Morin. Ben Smith. I think the Hawks will sign Smitty. In fact, there are preliminary talks right now. He fits the team extremely well. That 4th line of Kruger Smith and Bollig was a solid line. Each of them was productive around the net. That's pretty darn good for a 4th line. Sheldon Brookbank. He was still a healthy scratch most of the season, but he actually played well in the playoffs. He was either used as a defenseman or on the 4th line. However, that being said, I think Brooksy is done with the Hawks. Antti Raanta will get some looks out there and may get that "unrealistic offer" to see if they can drive up the Hawks payroll….remind you of S. J. a few years ago when they gave Hjalmarsson a healthy offer, to in turn steal Niemi away from the Hawks? Expect that to happen again. However, unless the offer is insane, expect him to return. Players in the minors fighting to make the team. Teuvo Teravainen Kevin Hayes Stephen Johns…impressive graduate from Notre Dame. He'd make an interesting addition. (I actually like him). *Jeremy Morin (most likely will be traded,…so, so, so, so, sad.) Adam Clendening (Super skilled player that is in the mold of a Duncan Keith) Mark McNeill (centerman that probably won't make the team) Philip Danault (centerman….ditto ) Joakim Nordstrom…has seen time with the Hawks. Hawks like this kid more than Morin? Really? Wow!!!! Ryan Hartman (less than 40% he makes the team) Drew LeBlanc (less than 15% he makes the team) Alex Broadhurst (Slim chance) Garret Ross (Slim chance) Terry Broadhurst (Slim chance) Klas Dahlbeck (another strong defensman. I say,…less than 30% he makes the team.) David Rundblad: He may take over Brooksy's spot as the fill in. He may actually make the top 7. He has skill or the Hawks wouldn't have given Phoenix a 2nd rounder for his rights. I think he plays around 40 games this next year. Will that Hawks make a splash and trade someone? Could, but I don't expect it. Who is tradable? Sharp? Seabrook? Oduya? Leddy? Who is untraceable? Toews, Kane, Hossa (who wants that contract?), Keith, Saad. In order for the Hawks to trade either Seabrook or Sharp, that deal would have to be really good. Both those players have been staples in that lineup for 9+ years. Sharp is an alternate captain, and Seabrook has been so on occasions when one of their captains has been injured. So, don't expect them to be traded. It would have to be a block buster of a deal for that to occur. Who will the Hawks be picking up on day 1 of the draft? wil it be Nick Schmaltz the centerman out of Green Bay (USHL)? It appears a few of the experts think so. The general consensus is the Hawks will go after a centerman. But, could the Hawks go after a defensman. When they chose Dylan Olsen, he turned out being traded 3 yrs later to Florida for a little more than a bag of hockey pucks. We shall see. I do believe the Hawks will go after a centerman, but will it be Nick Schmaltz? Trade rumors for Joe Thornton or other strong NHL experienced centerman is slim to NONE. The cap is almost filled, and these players aren't going to continue eating salary opportunities to play for the Hawks. In addition, teams aren't going to continue eating half of the player's salaries (per Versteeg), in order to allow the Hawks to stockpile players for half the salary.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hawks vs. Los Angeles…Yes, It's Game 7 Folks!

No team has played more games than the Blackhawks the past year. In addition, the Hawks had to send 10 of their players to the Olympics in Sochi this year. I remember stating, that if the Hawks didn't contend for the Presidents Trophy, that it wasn't going to be a big deal. What they had to do was use their energy wisely. Well, THIS is what it's all come down to. Game 7, after the Hawks trailed in the series 3-1. L.A. wasn't giving an inch, and we don't expect any difference tonight. In fact, Justin Williams has 6 goals in game 7. He's the game 7 killer. In addition, the Kings won BIG against both S.J. and Anaheim in game 7. So, the Hawks have to play within themselves tonight to not be thrown out of their own building.

Saad-Shaw-Kane line (nameless line…should be that way unless they win tonight), has been the key difference the past two games. L.A. has already stated they will bump and grind Kane and not allow him time and space. What Saad and Shaw will have to do to counter that will be to "get open" and force their defense off of Kane. This will allow Kane to pass to either open guy if they decide to crowd him.

Bickell-Toews-Hossa, has to step up a bit. Hossa has at times appeared "slow" to the puck, and Bickell and Toews have had turnovers due to "running around and chasing". This line needs to be better.

Sharp-Kruger-Smith, had a goal the last two games. Both were because of Ben Smith playing very aggressively and forcing his way to the net. This needs to continue.

Bollig-Handzus(Or whomever they use)-Brookbank/Versteeg: (looks like Versteeg is playing…just saw him on the bench). This line will probably only see about 6-8 minutes of total ice time. You'll see a lot of double shifting by Kane and Handzus will most likely be the center man and the Hawks tightening up the lines is to produce more offense.

The defensemen: They have had their ups and downs in this series. Games 2-4 they looked absolutely awful. In game 6 Seabrook still was slow to the puck that created the first L.A. goal by D. King. He needs to be better. Leddy's eyes have to be more focused when he is playing today. Stopping the silly turn overs. Keith has to continue being that offensive blue line presence.

Crawford: Has to try and stay focused even if he gets down today. Or…especially if he get's up in the game. Sometimes, the Hawks get lackadaisical and stop skating once they score. This cannot happen or they'll be down faster than they can blink.

Stay out of the box. L.A.'s power play is the best the Hawks have seen throughout the playoffs.  If the Hawks get on the P.P., they need to attack the net rather than dump and chase.

Lastly…do whatever the hell it takes to win. This may mean getting a puck to the face (remember Keith 4 years ago?), or diving after pucks. Don't be over aggressive to cause any issues.