Chicago Blackhawks Front Office Prevented A Dynasty

CHICAGO, Ill. – The state of the Chicago Blackhawks franchise is in purgatory. One year after allowing their 26-year-old Stanley Cup winning rookie goaltender, Antti Niemi, to walk away at seasons end with no compensation, the Blackhawks went and made matters worse this off-season. Chicago re-signed 26-year-old 2011 rookie goalie Corey Crawford to a 3-year multi-million dollar extension.

“The deal is worth about $8 million, according to a source familiar with the situation. Crawford gets $3.25 million in the first year, $2.25 million in the second and $2.5 million in the final year,” -a source from ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun.

…Are you as baffled as I am? Basically, the Blackhawks had two goalies who are the same age and decided to re-sign the one who lost a first round playoff match-up to Vancouver versus a guy who helped give Chicago a title in 2010.

The Blackhawks no longer have the same luster or appeal as they once did, just a year ago. Besides the Chicago Blackhawks three major known commodities of Patrick Kane, Jon Toews and Duncan Keith, the team is built around young “prospects” and veterans with the hopes of reviving the magic from their 2010 dream season in the future.

I said “prospects” (above) in quotes because the 2010 team was built with similar mindset…Develop young players who are surrounded by solid veterans and watch them grown in front of our eyes. In the end, the plan worked brilliantly and Chicago won its first Stanley Cup since the early 60′s. Last year, around this time of the summer, Chicago Blackhawk players and fans were thinking…This is a young and talented group of hockey players. We may have ourselves a nice little run in the NHL for the next 5-10 years. Dare we say, dynasty???

No, you may not say dynasty. You can however say, the Florida Marlins 1997 and 2003 World Series teams….The following seasons of 1998 and 2004 were miserable for the MLB Florida franchise. In 1998, the year after the Marlins first-ever World Series title, only five years into their existence at the time, Florida had a league-worst 54-108 record. They finished 11 games behind the second worst team in the National League the year after winning a World Series. After their 2003 title run, the ’04 team finished 13 games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place, and 10 behind Philadelphia. That is unacceptable and should not be tolerated by fans, of teams such as that.

Owners believe they won’t be able to afford all the players after championship runs. So, instead of getting into money-battles and fighting other teams off for their own commodities, they jump ship and abort the mission. I didn’t see Jerry Reinsdorf having many problems re-signing Michael Jordan in the 90′s, while keeping his dynasty fully intact year after year. Even when Jordan left in 2004, the Bulls remained a top team in the league, and were a Hugh Hollins blown-call away from the NBA Finals.

I see guys like Udonis Haslem taking $14 million dollar pay cuts to stay with the Miami Heat, rather then signing with a new team for a multi-million dollar deal. Those players do still exist. Some guys are willing to take less, to in-turn, win more. I don’t want you to think I am being naive either, I realize a ton of modern athletes will jump at the money, rather than the glory of winning. However, with two franchises in great markets like Chicago and Miami, there is no legitimate reason why the Blackhawks and Marlins didn’t have the money to compete after championship runs. In turn, they dismissed any prospect of winning back-to-back titles in their respective sports to save face and money.

Arguably, the MVP of the 2010 Chicago Blackhawk playoff run was Dustin Byfuglien. He set the hockey world on fire with his size and ability to play anywhere on the ice. Especially, in front of the net where he did most of his damage. Even in the Stanley Cup Finals when he matched-up against a much bigger and far more experienced Chris Pronger, Byfuglien held his own and really stabilized the Flyers enforcer.

Byfuglien was out the door quicker than any other Blackhawk, pretty much as soon as the Stanley Cup was handed out. He was traded alongside another up and coming youngster, Andrew Ladd, to the Atlanta Thrashers for prospects. Ladd was making nice strides in his NHL career. The former 4th overall pick in the 2004 NHL Draft made major contributions to the Blackhawks during their ’10 title run. Those two were thought to be locked down in Chicago Blackhawk uniforms for the majority of their careers. No fans, teammates or experts thought Byfuglien was going anywhere after his emergence in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs….We all thought wrong.

Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien led the Atlanta Thrashers in points scored in 2011. They were the top two individual point scorers on the team. Ladd led the team in scoring with 59 points, 29 goals and 30 assists. While the 2011 All-Star voted Byfuglien was second on the team in scoring with 33 assists and 20 goals. To say they were missed dearly by an eighth seeded 2011 Chicago Blackhawk team, is an understatement.

Soon after Byfuglien and Ladd were traded, came the wheeling and dealing of Chris Versteeg.  Thought by many in the Chicago area, to be a mainstay of the team for years to come. The gritty youngter was dealt to Toronto for prospects on June 30, further dissecting this once potent group of young-guns who already had a title to their credit.

The trade of Versteeg was drowned out by the Blackhawks signing of 38-year-old veteran Marty Turco, amidst allowing rookie Stanley Cup winning goalie, Antti Niemi, to walk away to San Jose in early August for nothing in return. This was the most gut-wrenching blow to me personally and most Blackhawk fans in general.

How in the world can you allow your rookie goaltender who just won you a Stanley Cup to walk out the front door while receiving nothing in return? You can’t and you shouldn’t be able to so easily, as the Blackhawks front office made it seem.

That of course, led to the the up-and-down, roller coaster of a 2011 season for Chicago. Not only did it take all season for the Blackhawks to gel into a cohesive unit, but it took most of their energy just to make the playoffs, let alone make a run in them. With a record of 44-29-9, the team made the final playoff spot in the Western Conference by two points, a year after going 52-22-8 and finishing with the third best overall record in the NHL with 112 points.

Last season, a team of youngsters was once again thrown together in the hopes the 2010 magic would re-emerge…It didn’t and in hindsight, the front office staff of the Blackhawks blindsided their fans with those 2010 off-season moves. They owe the supporters of the Chicago Blackhawks an apology, and an explanation.

The fact is, the Blackhawks had the pieces in place for a dynasty run. Plain and simple, the front office screwed it up. The huge debacle with GM Darryl Tallon in 2009, filling out the incorrect paperwork for the re-signing of a number of Blackhawks was well documented and helped in their 2010 reckless off-season. While Patrick Kane is squared away with his money for the better-part of his life, his former teammates like Chris Versteeg and Andrew Ladd were cheated the opportunity to be part of something bigger than themselves for years to come.

Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith deserve every penny they make, yet it’s at the expense of role players such as Ben Eager and Adam Burish who provided instrumental boosts to the team throughout the year. No matter what, the stars are always going to get paid. However, there was a group of players, young and determined enough to stick around to try and win some titles. I believe they would of taken less when the time came to re-sign. Of course, possibly a few would of went their separate ways, but I believe a majority of the players in the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks locker room would have stayed for less money, just to have a chance to win multiple titles in a town that never forgets winners and champions.

The irony of the whole thing is after the dust settled on the 2011 season, the Chicago Blackhawks were a run-of-the-mill average team. The year after a title, fans should of been awarded the ability to witness something special on the ice night after night. Instead they got a lackluster team who looked hungover from 2010 for most of the season. Ironically, the Blackhawks re-signed rookie goaltender Corey Crawford after his record of 33-18-6 and a first-round playoff exit gave the Chicago front office enough confidence to determine Crawford their “future” in net. A year earlier, the Hawks front office had a 26-year-old rookie goaltender who was hoisting the Cup above his head in Antti Niemi (pictured above)…They decided he was not their “future” goalie and signed a 38-year-old Turco who never got past the first round of the playoffs…Similar to Crawford in his young career so far.

Maybe it’s me being naive. Or maybe it is front office management being intimidated that today’s athlete won’t surrender some money for the opportunity to gain more in their individual sport. Maybe ownership doesn’t want to be petty and fight over money in arbitration. Maybe modern day agents like Drew Rosenhaus run sports, preventing owners from wanting to work with them or their representation. Maybe owners want to jump ship before it starts to sink. However, maybe they’re just scared to waiver with their ship, to see if it can ride out the storm. Too many owners are scared of young talent because it has the “potential” of costing them a fortune in the future.

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  • Matt Dickson

    I completely and utterly agree with the author here. For too long, fans of Chicago sports teams have allowed Owners and GMs to screw up their beloved teams. The Bulls were lackluster after Jordan left and it took the lucky bounce of a ping pong ball to fix that… The Bears haven’t had a competent quarterback in nearly 30 years… How the #$%! is Jim Hendry still employed in baseball… Just a few examples of poor management outside the Blackhawks organization. It must also be mentioned that the front office debacles of the Hawks are becoming a habit… We must remember that the 2010 almost didn’t exist after management failed to act on expiring contracts prior to the off-season dealines, now this? How much are we going to take? The Hawks went from Stanley Cup Champions to average to bull@#$! in 2 seasons.

    • http://tonypiraro.wordpress.com/ Tony Piraro

      I appreciate it Matt, and agree with you as well. Chicago is a big market city with a great deal of money involved in its athletes. Chicago doesn’t have the Hollywood celebs like NY and LA, but athletes are its main celebs. I dont understand the owners in that city’s thinking. If you want a winner, you’re going to have to spend the money like the Yankees and Red Sox do annually. If this major market wants sustained success, they better be willing to pay for it. Otherwise, players will leave at the drop of a hat for the New York and Los Angeles markets.

      • Scott

        Not only is you’re article a joke but “teams have to spend money to compete” argument is insane. The hawks were maxed out on the salary cap lastyear and buried a 5 million dollar contract in the AHL. They still paid that five million. The league literally wouldn’t let them ice the same team no matter how much money the Hawks were willing to pay. It’s not like baseball or basketball. Hockey has a hard cap. If you go over it, you don’t play.

      • John

        @Tony,

        Your rant had to be about the most uniformed and ignorant thing I’ve ever read. Are you sure you’re not a closet Vancouver fan? In order for anyone to even come close to respecting any “opinion” of yours, perhaps you should first know how to spell Kris Versteeg’s name…Please note, it’s spelled KRIS, not Chris! That in and of itself shows how LITTLE you actually know!!!

        Get a clue bandwagon fan, and while you’re at it, do us all a favor and stop writing about things you know so little about! That probably means, just stop writing altogether if your article is the norm!!! WOW!!!

  • Jason

    While I agree with the spirit of your rant, I’d like to see how you fit all the salaries they had to shed under the cap. Also, why do you think the Hawks have 3 “proven” commodities? What would you call players like Seabrook, Sharp, Hossa, And Bolland? I think it was terrible that they got nothing for Niemi, but it is a 2 way street. HE could have settled for less and signed here, but he didn’t, he went to arbitration. Do you really think the Hawks get past Vancouver with Niemi? Crawford was the LEAST of their issues in that playoff series. We can all wax poetic about what “might have been”, but the Hawks have a great core of young players, who have won already, locked up for a long time. How many teams would love to trade places with them?

  • http://tonypiraro.wordpress.com/ Tony Piraro

    Thank you Jason for your input. It is valued greatly here at Rant…I understand the NHL has a $48 million dollar cap/per team to spend on their roster.

    I would call Seabrook, Hossa, Sharp and Bolland solid above average players with the talent around them.

    Granted, I love Marian Hossa. He was one of my favorite players in the game long before he became a Blackhawk. Yet, his best days are behind him. This speedy Hawks offense makes him look better than he is right now.

    Seabrook is a sensational teammate, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t want to go in the trenches with anyone else, yet he is not a top talent defenseman in the league. He does everything well, but does nothing extraordinarily great either. He is solid and a leader by example. But, put him in Tampa Bay or St. Louis and he would never be heard from again.

    Sharpie is another one of the fan-favorites. He is great on paper, but lacks a major defensive prowess, intensity and he is not as crafty and agile as one would think. He is also 28-years old, so he is not as young as people think. Therefore, his ceiling is not as high as we would of thought it would of been three years ago. He is an above average NHL scorer, plain and simple.

    Dave Bolland is the only one here who is worth anything. He is the man, you’re right. Bolls in one of the young studs who luckily escaped the meat grinder that is the Chicago Blackhawks front office. Hopefully, he can stick around for awhile. Great point though Jason, Bolland is a future star that we must pay sooner rather than later.

    I do not think Niemi would of faired any better. Yet, if his surrounding squad would of stuck together it would of been a different story. I was talking about an all encompassing off-season of moves, not JUST focusing on Niemi. However, in big games, somehow, someway Niemi always came out on top. You can’t take that away from him. You also cant take away his 3-1 record with San Jose vs the Hawks in 2011.

    I agree. Its a great start. However, currently they are looking for WHAT THEY ALREADY HAD IN 2010. A bunch of young studs who can win in crunch time. You dont find those guys overnight. Especially with a unit that had a combined average age of 24 years old in 2010, while winning their 1st cup. I cant imagine many NHL teams this decade with higher ceilings then the one the Chicago Blackhawks threw away. That kind of team doesnt come together all the time. It was a puzzle that the Hawks front office got right in a very short time span…Then decided they didn’t like the way the pieces fit after it was successfully completed. But yes, a great deal of teams would give their right arms to switch places with the current Hawks. However, a lot more teams, like the Detroit Red Wings, are breathing a sigh of relief that they dont have to contend with that same 2010 Chicago unit ever again.

    Thank you Jason for your input once again.

    • John

      A $48M cap? Last season it was $59.4M. Do you even know what you’re talking about? Nevermind…you are proving you don’t! Wow!!!

  • mike

    You seem to neglect the fact that there was just no way to resign everyone after winning the cup. The numbers just would not have worked with the salary cap–especially given the bonuses players like Toews and Kane earned for their play. You can’t renegotiate contracts mid term, so the only players available to take a home team discount would be those whose contracts were up. To that end, you can’t not give some of our most valuable players raises, because the team is built around them. Something had to give.

    Sure, every player on the 2010 roster will hold a place in my heart (even Boynton). I’d love it if Neimi, Ladd, and Buff were still wearing the Indian head. But sorry, kid. You can’t keep the band together forever. Not in a salary cap world.

    If you want to talk numbers look at Campbell’s $7 million contract or the $3 million contracts Tallon handed out like candy. Those are what created the need to shed salary, but realize too that it was contracts like those that allowed us to rebuild. (Remember the lean years?)

    A good many people realized going into the season that the team wasn’t going to be the same the next year. Hell, I’ve heard others claim we were cheating the system being so stocked and so close to the cap. What matters is that we went all in and won. Better yet, after a hangover year and a little retooling we have a legit contender, one of the deepest systems in the league, and we’re a destination where everyone wants to play.

    And let’s not forget we took the Stanley Cup finalists to OT in game 7 with our rag-tag group last year. The future is bright.

    • http://tonypiraro.wordpress.com/ Tony Piraro

      Great point. I appreciate your opinion Mike! I am not trying to neglect that point, that is why I said in my article many times, “I may be naive here, but…The guys like Buff, Ladd, Versteeg were not stars, merely glorified role players who fit the Hawks system perfectly. That doesn’t happen as often as some of your candid observations of our so called bright future would indicate. They were inexpensive. The Hawks by the way, were not “all-in” as you said, that season. They are not the White Sox, c’mon. It was a system they were hoping to grow over time. Yet, they got too good, too fast and management was scared off by looming future contracts. I am with you on most of your points however. We wouldnt be able to afford “everyone” but a majority? I think so. I am no kid, I’m speaking realistically. But when you say we couldn’t afford to pay these guys??? Hawks sign Crawford and Sharp this off-season. So you’re telling me for the money they gave those two, they couldn’t of held onto three or four of the guys they dealt in 2010 like Buff, Ladd and Niemi last year? Then the slide wouldnt of occurred so quickly. The Hawks could of had a chance at a repeat. They didnt have to clean house last year, they were trying to get ahead of the 8-ball, that’s all I am saying…A lot of people forget about chemistry, and what happens to it when so many guys leave a locker room during just one off-season. They wont be winning a Cup this year either…next thing you know, it is 10 years later & people are still waiting for that next one, but our window will already be closed by then…

      thanks again mike for the response! we always love the feedback at rant

      • Puckjim

        There are many reasons why the Hawks were not able to keep some of the guys they lost after winning the ‘Cup, most of which you do not mention. When Jonathan Toews won the Conn Smythe trophy as the playoff MVP, he was due a 3 million dollar bonus. Additionally, Patrick Kane also earned $500K. These bonuses were a direct hit to the salary cap. Add those two together, and you have Andrew Ladd or Dustin Byfuglien.

        New contracts were given to Sharp and Crawford because: The salary cap went up, there were no bonuses due, and Brian Campbell was traded to Florida. Instead of being in cap hell again, the Hawks had flexibility to sign not only their own players, but also key free agents.

        You also mention that Hossa’s best days are behind him. Based on what? His PPG numbers have not declined at all, and he was on track for one of his best seasons ever as a pro before the injury bug hit. He may continue to get hurt more often going forward, but present facts do not back up your opinion that he is on the decline. He is a HUGE part of the “speedy Hawks offense” you speak about.

        Patick Sharp is one of the most versitle forwards in the league. Not only can he score goals, he can play wing or center, which he will again be called on to do this season. He also spends a considerable amount of time killing penalties. To say that he is simply an above average scorer isn’t in the same universe of accurate.

        And can we please let the Kris Versteeg love die? He is on his third team since leaving the Hawks, and has proven to be nothing more than a third/fourth line player. Championships build myths (see Aaron Rowand). Time for the Versteeg myth to be buried.

        Do they Hawks miss Andrew Ladd? Sure, probably more than any of they guys that left after the ‘Cup. But as has been mentioned many, many, many times, he was a luxury that the Hawks could not afford. They were pressed up against the salary cap during their ‘Cup year and when a team goes “all in”, as the Blackhawks most definately did, you basically get one shot.

        All in all, Stan Bowman has done an outstanding job of shedding salary and re-tooling this team for a ‘Cup run for the next few years. They have an excellent core of young players (and yes Sharp is still considered young), and one of the top five farm systems in the NHL. The free agent role players were signed to managable contracts, and most of them are for only one year. They have plenty of cap space to acquire additional help at the trade deadline, and do not have major concerns about signing their own free agents for years to come.

        In the salary cap era, there is no such thing as a Dynasty. The best thing you can do is sign a core of young, talented players, build your farm system, and leave yourself cap room to sign role players during the off season. This is how teams win. This is what the Blackhawks have done.

      • WTF?

        What about the fact that the star players didn’t exactly play like star players for the majority of the season? You seem to completely overlook that fact. Keith regressed from his Norris Trophy season of 09-10 (which he actually won because of how he played 08-09), the defense overall was brutal for the first half of the season, and the offense was anemic at times. These things had nothing to do with who they lost in the off season.

        Also, you keep dwelling on the loss of Niemi and Buff. Seriously? Buff did jack shit during the regular season and only became a force during the playoffs. Niemi, while he played well, was no means a Hasek or Belfour that the Hawks let go because of money. Niemi wanted too much and the Hawks refused to overpay knowing Crawford was more than capable to replace him. The Turco signing was a failure as far as having a capable backup but a success in terms of mentoring Craws and he is a great locker room guy and teammate. You know, for that chemistry that you are so concerned with. And are you implying that keeping Buff, Stig, Niemi and/or Ladd was more valuable than resiging Sharp? Losing Ladd sucked, but two third or fourth line guys and an above average goalie is not more vital to this team than Shooter, who can play both center and wing on the top two lines and can bury the puck.

        Everything you have written in both article form and in reply completely denounce any credibility you might have in regards to knowing anything at all about hockey.

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  • docks

    Is this article a joke? I really hope it is, I don’t even really know where to start with my complaints.

    I never had the honor of seeing Chris Versteeg play. Kris Versteeg was quite good, however.

  • El Caballo

    Bad. Bad, bad, bad…..bad.

    • http://tonypiraro.wordpress.com/ Tony Piraro

      thank you, thank you, thank you. If that is all the input you’re going to put in, this is all the input I’ll return to you. think of something more creative and get back to me. Thanks though for your opinion. It is valued highly here at rant

      • El Caballo

        How’s it going replying to all the other responses here that have taken the time to dissect that “article” of yours? Oh that’s right, you haven’t responded to any of those.

  • Pete

    Thank you for making my eyes bleed with your idiocy, a good blood-letting is healthy from time-to-time, right? Seriously, stay away from writing about hockey because you clearly know nothing of the sport. Let’s try to go through how terribly you analyzed the situation, I’m not going to hit on everything because there’s just so much.

    1) The ‘Hawks only “major” known commodities are Toews, Kane, and Kieth? Excuse me, there are a few gentlemen who’d like to have a word with you about that named Hossa, Sharp, Bolland, Seabrook, and Frolik.

    2) Antii Niemi is a savior while Crawford is no good simply because he couldn’t guide a MUCH thinner ‘Hawks team to the promised land? First of all their regular season numbers this year were nearly identical – Crawford posted a GAA of 2.30 and a SV% of .917, Niemi had a GAA of 2.38 and a SV% of .920. Second of all, you’re either ignoring are are simply ignorant of the details surrounding the ‘Hawks goalie situations over the last few years. Niemi and Crawford had both been in the organization for a few years and management had essentially equal opinions both on their current abilities and their future potential prior to the 2009-’10 season, so much so that both were brought on the preseason / opening trip to Europe. The main reason why Niemi stayed with the ‘Hawks while Crawford was sent back down had nothing to do with ability and everything to do with age and contract situation – Crawford could be moved between Chicago and Rockford anytime, but Niemi was a year older and could not be sent back to the AHL without first clearing waivers. Knowing that the Niemi would likely be claimed before they could assign him to Rockford if he went through the waiver process, the ‘Hawks hands were tied in choosing which one to keep and which one to send back down. And it was Crawford waiting in the wings, not the signing of Turco, that made letting Niemi go feasible. Turco was never intended to be more than a 1-year stopgap (and ended up being more of a 2-month stopgap)- the only way the ‘Hawks could have kept Niemi would have been at the expense of yet another key component of the team, forcing Bowman to make the understandably unpopular but ultimately shrewd decision to let him walk.

    3) Good for Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd that they were leaders in Atlanta, but how did it end up for them? Oh yeah, that’s right – they crashed and burned, finished 12th in the eastern conference with 17 fewer points than the ‘Hawks, and then got sold and moved to Winnipeg. You know what’s a really fun exercise? Go to capgeek.com and build the 2009-’10 ‘Hawks roster using their current salaries. It works out to a total salary cap payroll north of $80 million. The salary cap this year is $64.3 million, last year it was $59.5 million and the ‘Hawks have over $4 million in bonuses from their cup run that counted against last season’s cap, so the ‘Hawks cap was essentially $55 million. Tell me, how exactly were the ‘Hawks supposed to get away with exceeding the salary cap by $25 million?

    4) Who are Chris Versteeg and Darryl Tallon? Oh, you mean KRIS Versteeg and DALE Tallon. I suppose that’s my mistake for assuming that someone attempting to post a legitimate argument would actually know the names of the people they were talking about.

    5) I didn’t realize that Jordan left the Bulls in 2004. I was under the impression that he left after the 2nd 3-peat in ’98, and that making the eastern conference finals last season was the closest they’d come to sniffing a championship since. I dunno, I guess maybe I missed that due to being rooted in actual reality?

    There are so many more things that you’re wrong about. You don’t make a single argument based on facts, logic, or any sort of understanding as to how the NHL works. Stick to writing about topics that you know, such as I don’t know I’m just guessing here huffing glue?

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  • PukYou

    Do us a favor and stick with basketball ya douche. You obviously dont know shit about hockey. Think you might be better off going to your local park district and cover the Bingo games.

  • WTF?

    I don’t even know where to start to point out the errors in logic and facts found in this “column”. A few before me have already tried valiantly, but, although some replies were almost longer than the column itself, have still fallen short on exactly getting across what a complete and utter cowpile that is this column. However, Pete’s comment about his eyes bleeding comes somewhat close. My eyes have bled, my brain ahs turned to mush, and my chest hurts from laughing hysterically.

    On the other hand, if you were writing this as a giant joke, congrats. Well done.

  • Smarter than Tony Piraro

    Hey dumb-dumb,

    Ever heard of the salary cap? I suggest looking it up. Also, who is Darryl Tallon?

  • Jermaine

    Wow. This is some of the stupidest drivel I’ve ever seen on the internet. This is what happens when you write about something you know nothing about.

  • John

    Pay no attention to Tony Piraro…he is obviously an idiot and has no business writing about hockey if he is unaware of the hard salary cap.

  • patrick kane

    Hockey is a niche sport….and I know some of you do not want to hear that….with that being said, this novice hockey writer must understand that he can not get away with fake hockey talk, if someone is reading a hockey article…I can bet my house they pretty much know the game and the ins and outs of the game.

    He can get away with that type of junk with the other 3 major sports because 75% of those fans are in to those sports because; it is the in-thing to do and people will make small talk about the other sports!

    You can’t small talk hockey….if you do, more than likely you will appear like this writer!

  • patrick kane

    The writer is obviously a bandwagon fan with no clue about hockey or it’s operations.

    There’s no way we could have kept everyone.

    Every trade is a crapshoot. Some you win (Ellison for Sharp), some you lose (Versteeg for Stalberg). Some you have to do for reasons other that getting a better player (Versteeg for Stalberg).

    Hometown discounts only apply to certain players. EVERYONE on the stanley cup team just accomplished a goal that many hockey good hockey players haven’t (Like Roenick or Lindros). Thus, some want their payday, and some may want more prestige or leaderhip (and as deep as the SC team was, Ladd & Byfuglien wouldn’t get anywhere near wearing a letter on our team anytime soon).

    Hockey fans in-the-know are aware of the fact that Crawfrod had Niemi beat out of camp in the 2010 year. At the time, Huet was slated as #1 and Niemi was on a 1-way contract (Crawford on a 2-way). Thus, in the intrests of cap and waivers, Niemi got the nod. No argument can be made that Niemi could have done any better (or worse) with last year’s squad, and a very valid argument could be made that Crawford could have won us the cup.

    Versteeg has been a transient since he left.

    And lastly, this is the cap era; there are no more dynasties.

  • patrick kane

    He sounds like an angry and irrational Canucks fan.

  • Jerry

    My Brain and Gut hurt from this (one from WTF the other laughter), um, piece of, lets say “work”.

    I agree with Pete, I have never read such a self destructive and ill-informed argument in my life! Jordan in 2004 and Bulls in ECF before 2011? Chris Versteeg and Darryl Tallon?? Hawks still make the playoffs (with 97 points!) but somehow are in comparison to the 98 Marlins who got rid of EVERY star, whereas the Hawks tried kept their biggest Stars! Buff Playoff MVP, WTF remove the VAN series and he was a virtual ghost (lest WCF Game 3 in OT). Do you know what the NHL Salary Cap is and how it works? Do you know what room the Hawks had when they let Niemi walk and what his arbitration award was? Do you know what the Cap Space is now? Do you know what icing in? Did you know the Hawks play Ice Hockey and it is even played on ice?

  • blkhwks918

    To the author:

    The website capgeek.com has a salary cap tool where you can build an NHL team and see how it fits in to the salary cap. Please go ahead and post the intact Cup winning roster, with reasonable raises, under the current salary cap. Post it here so we can all see it.

  • chris versteeg

    i hope you didn’t get paid for this crap!!

  • Capitalist Infidel

    While Ladd and Buff were “glorified role players” on the Hawks they are top line players on less skilled teams. Just look at their salaries. Ladd is captain of the Jets making 4.4 million a year. Ladd made 1.55 million his last year with the Hawks. Buff made 3 million here and now makes 5.2 million. Versteeg is still on his entry level contract. Even Burish and Eager got big raises from other teams. As has been mentioned earlier it was literally impossible to keep the team together. Would you prefer to trade Kane or Toews to keep the other guys? I guess we could have gotten rid of Bolland and kept Versteeg or maybe even Ladd but we all know Center is more important than Wing.

    Oh, and you’re wrong about Seabrook! He is a top 5 shutdown defensemen in the league. Maybe even top 3. And Hossa is right at his average of points per game over his career so he’s not slowing down (yet)

  • hockey fan

    really? i mean really? was this actually published? am i being punked?

    • CT Hawk Fan

      Most die-hard Hockey fans tend to be VERY knowledgeable about the many ins and outs about the sport. They understand a player’s worth is more than what the G-A-P or +/- indicate, the points produced are only part of the story. An effective 3rd and 4th line does not need to score every night, being able to set the table for the top 2 lines is being effective by making the other team spread its top players thin or just shut them down. G-A-P does not show this, and over the season they may even be negative in rating, but if they can free up the Top Lines to a more effective matchup, those two lines did their job. In the end even though the 3rd and 4th may be negative, this will be outweighed by the positive of the top lines.

      If you do not understand the sport this well, I hope you learned your lesson if you try to blow smoke up a die-hard Hockey Fans rear-end, you will get called out on it, and more than likely also proven dead wrong! If someone is reading a Hockey post in August, there is a really good chance they are a hard core fan just waiting for October and looking for anything to fill the void until then!

  • Tuke

    I can honestly say that I just died a little after reading this nonsense. That was by far the most ridiculous article concerning the Hawks’ player moves after the cup win that I have been unfortunate enough to read. I really don’t think there was one piece of information that made any sense or was based on any type of fact. Was this article meant for something like SI for kids or possibly ESPN the magazine? Certainly, there was no way in hell that this was intended for any real hockey fans that actually know the sport and are familiar with the salary cap that is used (unlike baseball and just about every other sport that you made a comparison to). I am by no means a writer (and I can say the same for you), but I do know that if you’re going to write something, write about something that you know and hockey clearly isn’t it.

  • Kris “Vertseeg”

    Ughhhh! First on the Cup, now by my buddy Tonni?? I’m not sure which one is the greater injustice.

  • Ahmed

    Listen you ignorant little [god knows what] its called “we dont have an unlimted amount of cash. And the league has a spending limit we HAD to move those players and because we had to give all those players bonuses [which we could not afford]. And the reason we signed Crawford was because we had the cash this year. I dont even want to point out the rest of your mistakes

  • Serously….WOW….

    Unfortunately fellow hawks fans…this article represents the true epitome of what has come out of the ’10 Hawks Stanley Cup run – misinformed/misled bandwagon fans. Not once is the salary cap mentioned in the article and how Darryl…oops I mean Dale grossly overspent on players during his GM tenure. I’m hoping the hawks win the cup again VERY SOON so that these bandwagoners can put the memory of the dismantled team away. I’m hoping 5 years from now we’re still not hearing comments about how management was dumb to get rid of buff/ladd/versteeg/niemi.

  • lordkotl

    Damn. It looks like someone named Patrick Kane on that post is pilfering all of the comments from here and other boards. Looks like one of my posts was posted there word for word…

    …at least give us credit!

  • Rob

    If you had bothered to watch the first round of the 2011 playoffs, you’d realize it was not Crawford’s fault that they lost. Game 1 the Hawks had no offense, but 2 goals allowed isn’t terrible. Game 2 was close and perhaps you could argue was his fault. Game 3, same as game 1, but some scoring did show up for the Hawks. Games 4 and 5 were miracles and also featured the return of Dave Bolland who was a major x-factor against the Canucks. Game 6 was a lucky break for the whole team. Game 7 was a lucky break for the Canucks; Burrows got a heck of a turnover and it was a stupid mistake on the part of the defender (Campoli iirc).

    Let’s also not forget that Wirtz would have been completely willing to pay the team, but there was that thing called the salary cap that kept that from happening. A turn of irony for the city of Chicago as they had an owner for many years who could have bought a Cup or 2, but didn’t want to pay the players. Now they have an owner who will pay the players what they want, but he can’t due to the cap.

  • Jay

    FYI, that is not antti niemi the person hoisting the stanley cup in the picture above is ben eager, if you can not even get that right I have no idea how anything that you have written above makes absolutely any sense. This is the only way i can truly express what I felt after reading this article, “At no point, in your rambling incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.”