Official Chicago Blackhawks Thread: RIP Blackhawks 2008-2016

Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Illinihockey, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys. #AioliBoys
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    I'm going to be so fucking pissed when Q goes to St. Louis as soon as I've come to terms with him being gone.
     
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  2. Fran Tarkenton

    Fran Tarkenton Well-Known Member
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    still unsure how to feel about the trade

    I wish Schmaltz wouldve been forced into trying to develop as a Center. I thought he couldve been a really good #2 C. But apparently his ceiling is a top line winger.

    Strome by all reports cant skate. Which limits his upside. Not fast in a league that is prioritizing speed. Seems like a surefire #3 Center.

    The Schmaltz contract extension was likely going to have to be an overpay $ figure. particularly given how bad he was playing this year. Getting an extra year of control with Strome and likely can lock into a longer deal at a lower aav.
     
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  3. Illinihockey

    Illinihockey Well-Known Member

    The Hawks traded one NHL player for two. Don't think Schmaltz is ever going to be special so I don't mind him leaving. Overpaying for middle six wingers is how teams stay bad.
     
  4. Fran Tarkenton

    Fran Tarkenton Well-Known Member
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    From Powers article:


    “I’m shocked by the trade,” the executive said. “I think they could have gotten more for him, especially if they waited.”

    One scout thought the Blackhawks could have been more patient with Schmaltz.

    “Not sure they haven’t given up on Schmaltz too early,” a scout said. “He’s better in the middle, but they really didn’t play him there much this year.”

    But maybe Bowman wanted to act sooner rather than later to try to get the Blackhawks back on course. The front office has clearly stated it expects to be in the playoffs this season. The Blackhawks have been up and down all season and are sitting in sixth place in the Central, 12 points behind the first-place Nashville Predators.

    When we talked Saturday, Bowman hinted a trade or two was possible.

    “I’m finding more discussions in the last 10 days across the league with managers that I have talked to,” Bowman said. “I think everyone’s at that point now where they sort of know, figured out what their team is, what guys can do, maybe areas where deficient or things they want to do a lateral move to maybe if they have an abundance of one and shortness in another area. I think league-wide there’s going to be some movement over the next three, four weeks leading into holidays. If that materializes for us, you know we’ll see.”
     
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  5. Fran Tarkenton

    Fran Tarkenton Well-Known Member
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    WINNIPEG — Maybe in another sport, or on another team, or with another player, it’d be different. There’d be a cryptic tweet or a bitter Instagram post, then some angry, selfish comments to the press. It’d be a story that would linger for days, if not weeks. Practices would be tense, games would be fraught with underlying drama.

    But this is hockey, and this is Patrick Kane. So he’ll suck it up, as he always has.

    For the second time in two years, the Blackhawks traded away one of Kane’s hockey soulmates, a guy he hoped to be playing alongside for years to come. First, they traded away Artemi Panarin. Now, they have traded away Nick Schmaltz.

    Both deals were perfectly reasonable moves to make. For Schmaltz, the Blackhawks got two high-ceiling young forwards for one, bringing in Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini from Arizona. For Panarin, the Blackhawks got cost-certainty and Brandon Saad, an all-around standout and a much-needed linemate for Jonathan Toews.

    But what about Kane’s linemates? The Blackhawks’ biggest star has spent his entire NHL career going through them like laundry.

    In the three seasons before Panarin arrived, Kane played regularly with a whopping 15 different forwards, including nine different centers — Dave Bolland, Marcus Kruger, Michal Handzus, Ben Smith, Brandon Pirri, Andrew Shaw, Teuvo Teravainen, Brad Richards and Toews. Then for two glorious seasons, he played almost exclusively with Panarin and Artem Anisimov. Not coincidentally, those were the best two seasons of his career — his 106-point MVP campaign of 2015-16 and an 89-point follow-up in 2016-17.

    Since then, it’s been back to the revolving door for Kane, who has seen Schmaltz bounce around from his center to his wing to his ex-teammate, while also playing alongside Saad, Anisimov, Toews, David Kampf and many others.

    See, Kane’s problem (if you can call it that) is he’s too good for his own good. No matter who the Blackhawks put on his line, he’s going to produce. It’s one of his greatest attributes as a player. And the Blackhawks have taken advantage of that — and to a degree, him.

    “He’s shown he will do that,” coach Jeremy Colliton said before Thursday’s game in Winnipeg. “And I think he’s pretty flexible. He feels that he can (do that), also. He feels like he can make it work with whoever he’s playing with. So that’s nice when you build the lineup.”

    Indeed, Kane always has shrugged off the ever-changing linemates, before and after Panarin. He always says the right things — he likes playing with different guys, the lineup is so deep that he’ll be playing with good players no matter what, he just wants to do whatever it takes to help the team win. All the greatest hits.

    But he also hasn’t hidden the fact that he really, really, really liked playing with Panarin. Schmaltz, too.

    Here’s Kane last March: “Those two seasons (with Panarin), obviously I had chemistry with a player like I never had chemistry with anyone before.”

    Here’s Kane when he first started playing with Schmaltz: “I’ve never had that kind of speed up the middle before. It opens up so much. He’s a great guy to play with.”

    And here’s Kane on Monday, following the Schmaltz trade: “It’s tough, for sure. I think the world of the kid. I think he’s a great kid, and I think he’s got the potential to be a star in the league. I think he’ll get there, for sure. … I really thought, to be honest with you, that Schmaltz was going to be that next guy I was going to be able to develop that chemistry with, to be able to produce every night. There were glimpses of it, little spurts of it, especially last year.”

    Instead, Kane started from scratch yet again, this time with Alex DeBrincat and Strome — another highly promising line, especially given the connection DeBrincat and Strome have from their days of tearing up the Ontario Hockey League together with the Erie Otters.

    But once again, the Blackhawks are simply assuming that Kane can make it work. Because, well, he always does. Kane has become almost a crutch for the front office and coaching staff alike — moves that are made for the benefit of the team often seem to come at Kane’s individual expense.

    I asked Kane whether that’s fair to him — if it’s a burden — that he’s expected to produce at an elite level no matter whom the Blackhawks throw on his line. He shrugged, and said all the team-first stuff you’d expect him to say, that he’s always said.

    “I don’t know, it is what it is,” he said. “I try not to think like that. You start thinking about that other stuff, it just kind of plays with your mind a little bit, and it isn’t helpful in any way. … For me personally, no matter who I’m playing with, I’ve got to play my game. I’ve got to focus on what I do and try to have that chemistry that night, whoever I’m with. I try not to worry about that too much.”

    [​IMG]

    For two seasons, Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane led one of the most productive lines in the NHL. (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
    The bright side for Kane is that he’s finally getting a chance to play with DeBrincat — a seemingly natural pairing that both Joel Quenneville and Colliton resisted. DeBrincat, Schmaltz and Kane were exhilarating to watch in training camp and the preseason last year, but never got a chance in the regular season. Heck, DeBrincat and Kane had to cross an ocean to finally play together in a meaningful game.

    “We played with each other at the World Championships, and obviously anytime you can play with a guy of that caliber, it’s a lot of fun,” DeBrincat said Thursday morning. “It’s just good to have him on the line and good to get some passes from him.”

    The hope was that with DeBrincat’s terrific shot, Strome’s size and skill in the middle, and Kane’s unrivaled playmaking ability, the line could stick around and be the next Panarin-Anisimov-Kane. Instead, it lasted a period and a half, with Colliton swapping Anisimov for Strome shortly after Strome was standing in front of the crease (along with Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook) while Jacob Trouba swept in a rebound to make it 4-2. That line was on the ice for three 5-on-5 goals-against in the first 22 minutes of the game.

    Colliton went back to the DeBrincat-Strome-Kane trio for a couple of shifts in the third period, but not consistently. Nothing’s ever consistent for Kane. Maybe Toews and Saad will start slumping, and Kane will lose DeBrincat to the top line. Maybe the depth scoring won’t come, and Kane will find himself back with Kampf in a quest for lineup balance. Maybe he’ll get a spin with newcomer Perlini. Or maybe the offseason will come, and the Blackhawks will bring in yet another linemate or two for Kane to try.

    Regardless, Kane will rack up the points. That’s how good he is. But just imagine how good he could be — how productive he could be — if the Blackhawks didn’t continually rob Patrick to pay Paul.

    2. While we’re on the subject of the Panarin trade, it’s become increasingly clear that the Blackhawks over-reacted to the first-round sweep against Nashville in 2016. It was one bad week against a team that quickly proved to be one of the very best in the league, and the Blackhawks broke up a 50-win team over it. Yes, that team wasn’t quite as good as its record indicated; Corey Crawford masked a lot of issues. But it was still a very good team — certainly better than the two since.

    There’s no doubt the Blackhawks would be looking at very difficult decisions next summer with Panarin and Niklas Hjalmarsson hitting unrestricted free agency — Panarin will command an eight-figure cap hit, and Hjalmarsson will turn 32 in June. And Marian Hossa’s early retirement still might have been a mortal blow to the Blackhawks’ golden age. But it’s hard not to look back and think keeping that team generally intact for two more years would have been the best way to extend the championship window of the core.

    If the bill for all this success was going to come due regardless, wouldn’t it have been better to try to squeeze out two more good-to-great years? Easy to say with the clarity of hindsight, of course. But it’ll go down as one of the great what-ifs of modern Hawks history.

    3. The Blackhawks took this whole poor-starts thing to a new level on Thursday, extending it to the start of each period in a 6-5 loss to the Jets. The Blackhawks fell behind 1-0 at 1:43 of the first, 3-2 at 1:01 of the second (and 4-2 35 seconds later) and 5-3 at 1:18 of the third after a Keith slashing penalty just 21 seconds into the period.

    This after falling behind 3-0 in the first period against Vegas, 2-0 in the first period against Florida, 3-0 in the first period against Tampa Bay, and 3-0 in the first period against Washington. In their last five games, they’ve given up the first goal at 0:54, 0:29, 5:48, 2:10 and 1:43 of the first period.

    The Blackhawks have given up 26 goals in their last five games (14 in their last two), and are a miracle last-second DeBrincat goal in South Florida away from a five-game losing streak.

    Marcus Kruger, Kane and Colliton all mentioned the team’s compete level after the game as a problem that needs to be addressed. Kane also twice said the Blackhawks need to “trust the process.”

    “When Jeremy took over there, it was like we saw some results really quick, and I don’t know if we just expected it to be a little easier than it is,” said Kane, who was on the ice for five 5-on-5 goals against. “It’s the NHL. You take a couple seconds off here or there and it’s going to be in the back of your net, as we saw tonight. You give good players good opportunities, on the rush, defensive zone, whatever it may be, they’re going to make plays.”

    Asked why players are taking shifts off here or there, Kane clarified:

    “I don’t even know if it’s taking shifts off, to be honest with you,” he said. “It’s just a couple seconds here or there that maybe you get lackadaisical or you’re thinking about something else out there, and all of a sudden your guy’s coming into the net. Whatever it may be, there’s certain lapses in our game that we have to eliminate.”

    Dominik Kahun and Anisimov scored down the stretch to at least make the game interesting, but it was merely window dressing in the end.

    “It’s something we work on every day,” Kruger said. “And we’re trying to get there. And it hasn’t been good enough and it’s not OK. I think we’re all sick of losing here. Just got to be better.”

    4. Colliton has been upbeat and loquacious throughout his brief tenure as the Blackhawks’ head coach. On Thursday night, we saw another side of him. One that more closely resembled the fiery, terse Quenneville we frequently saw after losses. Here’s his postgame press scrum, in full. It lasted just 96 seconds.

    Q: Same old story with these starts of the game, and this time it was the start of all three periods. What do you chalk that up to?

    JC: We need to get out of our own way. When we get out of our own way we’ll be all right. Until then we’re going to struggle.

    Q: A couple guys talked about compete level, that it wasn’t constant. Is that what you see?

    JC: Yes. That’s about right. I thought defensive zone coverage was much better. And then we had trouble off the rush. We got to put it together. It’s tough to win until we sort it out. There needs to be some urgency there if there isn’t already, if there hasn’t been already. It’s been long enough now.

    Q: These defensive lapses, do you need games or do you need practice?

    JC: No, I think we’ve had enough games, we’ve had enough practices. It’s time.

    Q: You seem a little more frustrated tonight than you have in previous games.

    JC: Well, we scored five goals on the road against one of the best teams out there and whatever their form is right now, it doesn’t really matter. We need to win that.

    Q: How do you coax compete level out of guys? That’s got to come from within, doesn’t it?

    JC: Yeah, it does. But I think we’ve got to tell the truth to the team and then they need to respond.

    Q: Is it difficult to get stern when you’re new and trying to get the message across?

    JC: I’m not new anymore. I’ve been around here long enough. So it’s time to react.

    Q: You feel like they got the message, whatever you told them tonight?

    JC: I don’t know. We’ll see next game.

    5. It seems like the Blackhawks veterans, particularly Toews and Kane, have been going out of their way to keep things positive, especially considering how young and inexperienced most of their teammates are.

    But it’s getting tougher to stay upbeat, obviously. I asked Keith after the game how he and the rest of the more battle-tested core can keep morale up, and he was blunt with his answer.

    “I mean, this is the NHL,” he said. “It’s not really a developmental league. I don’t really know what to say to that. It’s about winning. It’s about results. That makes it more fun. Winning. Winning games.”

    6. The shock of Quenneville’s firing has faded a bit in Chicago, but for opposing coaches, it’s still strange to play the Blackhawks without Quenneville glaring from behind the bench.

    Jets coach Paul Maurice downplayed a coach’s impact on games, joking “The guy in the suit is usually the least important guy in and around the bench.” But Quenneville, he said, was an exception.

    “Joel, for me, ran the best bench in the league in terms of how fast he was to make adjustments, in terms of when a guy’s going and when a guy’s not going,” Maurice said. “His ability to handle a player like Patrick Kane, who is a unique player in terms of shift length, early on in his career to where it gets to now, to recognizing when the game was kind of at the tipping point. He’d get those guys out at the right time. … This is just coaches kind of watching other coaches, but he had a really big impact. So what I said about the guy in the suit may not have applied to him.”

    7. Despite his gaudy numbers, DeBrincat is no stranger to goal droughts. He scored just once in his first 12 games last season before going on a goal binge in November. Then in December, he had one goal in an 11-game stretch before breaking out with his second of three hat tricks. Then, as the bottom fell out on the Blackhawks in February and March, he had a 13-game goal drought.

    Like a lot of other players, DeBrincat is proving to be a streaky scorer. So he tried to not get too frustrated when his smoking start fizzled out. The second-year pro had eight goals and six assists in the first 10 games. Then he had just one goal and one assist in his next 12. He’s since heated up a bit with a point in four straight games. His slump-busting tally with less than two seconds left in Florida salvaged what could have been a disastrous three-game road trip.

    “It’s not too bad,” he said of coping when he’s not scoring. “You’re not going to score every game in this league, and guys go through slumps. It’s just sticking with whatever I was doing, and just sticking with playing hard and going to the net. At that point, you’re not going to get a pretty goal, it’s probably going to be a dirty goal. So to get to the front of the net is a big thing, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”

    [​IMG]

    Former Erie Otters linemates Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat have been reunited in Chicago. (Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)
    8. Strome has moved into DeBrincat’s home since arriving from Arizona.

    “For a little bit,” DeBrincat said with a laugh. “Until he gets his own place. I’m not sure how long that’ll last. It’s been good while he’s been here.”

    DeBrincat said he didn’t believe the news when he first saw it on Twitter late Sunday night, and still can’t believe the two have been reunited in the NHL.

    “It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “Just like old times. It’s just a lot of fun to have him here and kind of experience Chicago with him.”

    9. John Hayden started his NHL career on a line with Toews, but has been relegated to the role of a 12th or 13th guy ever since. But his play lately, and his net-crashing goal on Thursday, are reminders that there’s a pretty solid power forward waiting to happen in Hayden. He’s got the size at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds. He’s a physical player, one of the few the Blackhawks have. He’s got better hands than he probably gets credit for, and he can skate.

    A little more than a week ago in Washington, Hayden played just two minutes and 45 seconds in a 4-2 loss to the Capitals, by far the least ice time in his NHL career. Two nights later, he was a healthy scratch in Tampa. But he returned to the lineup a night later in South Florida and played a season-high 12:21. Then on Tuesday against the Golden Knights, he found himself starting on Jonathan Toews’ line and played 13:43. The blip in DC aside, Hayden has played arguably his best stretch of his brief career over the last couple of weeks. He scored his second goal of the season Thursday night, trailing the play and going to the net to stuff in a Kampf breakaway rebound.

    “I think it has been (my best stretch),” Hayden said. “My goal this season was just to play with consistency, regardless of the line that I’ve been on. Some of the games, I had taken a step back, I’d say, in puck-possession and my overall play. But I think this last stretch, like you alluded to, has been better, almost like I played in the (AHL) playoffs last year. That’s the game I want to play — a possession game.”

    Hayden hadn’t recorded a point since he scored against Toronto on Oct. 7, his first game of the season. But he’s been far more noticeable since a strong effort in Carolina (three shots, three hits, two blocked shots). His stint on the top line didn’t last long; you don’t keep a lineup intact after losing 8-3. And in Winnipeg, he skated on the third line alongside Dominik Kahun and David Kampf, a line Kane singled out as playing particularly well.

    Hayden, who has a healthy scratch seven times in the first 16 games, is just happy to be back in the lineup — and playing well enough that he might stay there.

    “I’ve played some of my best games up and down the lineup this year,” he said. “That’s just a testament to the depth here. I’ve played with (Toews) before, and it’s great. But tonight’s a new challenge, and for me to be my best, I have to play the same every night, regardless of my linemates. And that’s been my goal this stretch.”
     
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  6. visa

    visa 〽️
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    Tank for Jack Hughes
     
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  7. Illinihockey

    Illinihockey Well-Known Member

    The top overall pick is definitely in play for this team.
     
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  8. Illinihockey

    Illinihockey Well-Known Member

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  9. Illinihockey

    Illinihockey Well-Known Member




    Fucking kill me
     
  10. Fran Tarkenton

    Fran Tarkenton Well-Known Member
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    Wake Forest Demon Deacons

  11. Bankz

    Bankz I'm a sick guy
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    I think it’s pretty clear the hawks problem wasn’t Q.

    All eyes are on Bowman. I think he will be safe for a few more seasons.

    He’s been able to draft and bring in some great young talent. Trying to keep this team a title contender has cost us most of it in trades. But he’s still finding it.

    If he finally gives up on this crew and moves with a youth movement I think we will be back into the elite ranks rather quickly.
     
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  12. Illinihockey

    Illinihockey Well-Known Member

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  13. Bankz

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    Saw a stat the other day that said 60 some percent of the shots taken on our power play this year have come from defensemen.

    Now that is a well oiled tank factory
     
  14. illinasty

    illinasty Well-Known Member

    Team is a disaster but it should be a quick rebuild with the quality tank. Hughes or other top 3 F with Panarin/Stone/etc and the D influx should make the team awfully watchable at the very least. Be back in the fight in 2020.
     
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  15. Illinihockey

    Illinihockey Well-Known Member

    Exactly my point. If the Hawks get Hughes and a little lucky with the up coming CBA, they could rebuild in a hurry while Kane and Toews still have a lot left in the tank.
     
  16. Fran Tarkenton

    Fran Tarkenton Well-Known Member
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    By Mark Lazerus Dec 11, 2018

    WINNIPEG — The day Connor Murphy nuked his Twitter account came shortly after he arrived in Chicago last fall. No, it wasn’t because of some edict from upper management, or the wise counsel of a new teammate. It was because an Uber Eats driver posted a screenshot of his order — complete with Murphy’s new address — on Twitter to publicly flog him for not leaving a tip.

    New to the city and new to the app, Murphy just wanted some dinner. He didn’t realize that, like with Uber or Lyft, you have to re-open the app afterward to provide a rating and a tip. It wasn’t until a while later, after the disgruntled delivery guy posted the screenshot, that Murphy logged back in and was greeted with a prompt to offer a tip. (And yes, he still tipped. Just to be safe.)

    “He said, ‘Thanks for no tip, Big Shot,’” Murphy said, laughing. “He actually called me ‘Big Shot.’ He tagged the Hawks, he tagged me, he tagged other people, and he showed where I lived. I was like, ‘Wow.’ I didn’t even know what it was from. I didn’t even remember ordering Uber.”

    So Murphy erased his online presence.

    “So happy I did, too,” he said.

    All this is a long way of saying, no, the Blackhawks have not seen all of your #LoseForHughes tweets.

    This is the era of the tank, and it’s no surprise that many Blackhawks fans, faced with the prospect of a hopeless season, have pinned their hopes on winning the draft lottery and landing American phenom Jack Hughes, a 17-year-old center currently tearing it up with the U.S. National Development Team. After all, most Blackhawks fans are also fans of either the Cubs (who turned a few years of misery into a World Series title) or the White Sox (who are currently trying to do the same). The Houston Astros pulled it off. The Philadelphia 76ers trusted the process. And, oh, you might remember the Blackhawks spinning a couple of terrible seasons into Jonathan Toews (No. 3 overall in 2006) and Patrick Kane (No. 1 overall in 2007).

    For fans, it’s something to cling to during these dark times.

    But if you think the Blackhawks themselves are waiting on some 17-year-old kid to come save the day, well, you didn’t see the mix of fury and disdain in Marcus Kruger’s eyes when I clumsily asked him about the idea of “tanking” Tuesday afternoon in Winnipeg.

    “No,” he said, seemingly using every ounce of willpower in his body to resist impaling my head on a hockey stick in the visitors locker room of BellMTS Centre.

    I tried another tack. Do players ever take the big-picture look, and think about the not-too-distant future, when things are going poorly?

    “No,” he said.

    I waited, hoping he’d elaborate this time.

    “You just try to win each night,” he said, sharply.

    Well, does it surprise you that some fans are basically rooting for you guys to lose the rest of the season so you can land the No. 1 pick?

    “Yeah,” he said. “Surprises me a lot.”

    I waited again. And just before I started to run for my life, Kruger relaxed.

    “It’s still early in the year,” he said. “As a player, you can’t go into a game with that kind of mindset. I think everyone understands that. Right now, we just want to get one win, and if we get one win, we’re going to get the next one right after that. We’ve played, what, like 30 games or so. So I mean, there’s time to turn the season around. But we’ve got to do it now. It’s got to start tonight. If you ask any guy in here, that’s the mindset.”

    It didn’t happen Tuesday night, a roller-coaster of a 6-3 loss to the Jets, the Blackhawks’ eighth straight defeat and 19th in their last 22 games. But the way the Blackhawks fought back after their worst first period in a season full of them — falling behind 3-0 (eventually 4-0) and getting out-shot 14-0 over the first 17:30 of the game — to make a game of it (4-3) reflected this mindset. The Blackhawks might not be any good, but they’re not rolling over, either.

    Kruger’s right, of course. While every fan in every sport fancies him or herself an undiscovered general manager, players can’t think like that. The idea of losing intentionally — or, perhaps more accurately, not trying very hard to win — is anathema to everything they stand for, everything they’ve ever been taught. Hell, some of these guys (Kruger very possibly among them) won’t even be on the team next year. If anything, Hughes could be coming to take their job, not save their team.

    Even Kane — the beta version of Jack Hughes, and a guy who’s as close to being a regular sports fan as anyone in the league — can’t wrap his mind around the idea of tanking.

    “That’s putting yourself in a tough position,” he said. “What do you do, go out there and try not to play as well? We’re all competitors in here. We all want to play well, and we all want to win games. So we never think like that.”

    [​IMG]

    Lose for Hughes? Slack for Jack? Many fans are on board with losing if it means a shot at the No. 1 overall pick. (Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
    Brandon Saad agreed, saying, “We come to work every day and we want to win hockey games. It’s fun to compete, it’s fun to challenge yourself, and it’s fun to win. (Tanking) is something that never even crossed my mind.”

    Probably because it never crossed his Twitter feed. Because Saad’s never on Twitter. Neither is Kane, who doesn’t even have the app on his phone (he insisted he didn’t have any Kevin Durant-like burner accounts, either, though he joked it’d be a good way to pump his own tires) and who has someone else man his account for the occasional sponsored tweet, or when Kane wants to offer congratulations to a teammate after a milestone.

    While NBA and NFL players regularly seem to air out their dirty laundry and smack-talk each other on Twitter and Instagram — to the delight of fans and reporters everywhere — very few hockey players are active online. For every P.K. Subban or Brad Marchand, there are countless guys who don’t even have an official account, and even more whose official accounts are dormant. It’s all part of that endearing-yet-maddening hockey culture that treats individual stardom like it’s a bad thing.

    “Guys are just a little bit more reserved with that stuff, and no one really wants to make it about themselves,” Kane said. “I think it’s good and bad. There are ways you can probably promote yourself a little bit better. You look at a guy like P.K. Subban, and he does a pretty good job of that. And when it’s a good cause, it’s a pretty good resource to use.”

    So they don’t see the angry rants, the profanity-laden venting, the relentless #LoseForHughes tweets.

    “I try to avoid the articles in the media and that stuff as much as possible,” Saad said. “To each their own, but me, I try to avoid it and just stick to what we believe in this room. That’s all that matters.”

    Now, it’s worth pointing out that Twitter isn’t necessarily a cross-section of the fanbase as a whole. It tends to amplify the extremes at either end of the spectrum while minimizing the more heavily populated middle — like a Fox News or MSNBC audience. As Murphy astutely pointed out, “Nobody’s sending in a message saying ‘Hey, I love what’s going on and I love everything!”

    In fact, Kane noted that even in the midst of this miserable stretch of games, the last two United Center games featured two of the hottest crowds of the season.

    “That was a pretty fun game to play in,” he said of Sunday’s 3-2 loss to Montreal. “I thought the crowd was really into it. I’m sure they were hoping to see a win and be excited about that. So I don’t really know. I’m not on Twitter checking the fan comments or anything like that, but I guess you hear certain things and rumblings. I’m sure with the season going the way it is, some people might think that (about tanking). But for the last couple of home games, I thought they were pretty into it. The fans have been great, and they want us to win.”

    It’s safe to assume most of them do. But not all of them.

    The Blackhawks, however, all still want to win. And that won’t change, no matter how bad it gets.

    “I’ve been on a couple teams in Arizona where we were second-to-last in the league, and we went through trade deadlines where we got rid of our older players,” Murphy said. “And that sucks. It’s the worst thing. In the NHL, no matter where you are in the standings, no matter what roster you have, you’re literally showing up every day to win. You have that killer instinct in every game to want to out-play and out-score and out-compete the other team. There’s no thought of that in here. No way.”
     
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  17. visa

    visa 〽️
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    Thank you sir
     
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  18. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys. #AioliBoys
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    Lol at "slack for Jack."
     
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  19. Bankz

    Bankz I'm a sick guy
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    Gonna be crushing if we don’t land jack.
     
  20. bro

    bro Hey Hermano
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    you guys gonna trade Kane?
     
  21. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys. #AioliBoys
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    No.
     
  22. bro

    bro Hey Hermano
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    darn
     
  23. Illinihockey

    Illinihockey Well-Known Member

    You gonna give us mittelstadt?
     
  24. Bankz

    Bankz I'm a sick guy
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    trading Kane... what a stupid fucking question
     
  25. bro

    bro Hey Hermano
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    maybe :notobamanotbad:
     
  26. Tex

    Tex Yikes
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    Hey a W
     
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  27. Fran Tarkenton

    Fran Tarkenton Well-Known Member
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    31 thoughts pod had this:

    Crawford possibly to Philly but has limited no move clause

    may be eyeing Panarin but favorites are NYR

    still whispers about Keith bc of his generous AAV but seems like Stan will only move him if Keith wants out (team loves him and has full no move clause)
     
  28. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys. #AioliBoys
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  29. IHHH

    IHHH Well-Known Member
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    What about Toews?
     
  30. Bankz

    Bankz I'm a sick guy
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    I don’t see a day where either a Kane or Toews is moved with Stan in charge. They mean to much to the city and to the franchise.
     
  31. IHHH

    IHHH Well-Known Member
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    I would try to move Toews in your situation, Kane no way
     
  32. Cornelius Suttree

    Cornelius Suttree I am a landmine
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    yall think Sikura gets to hang around the rest of the year?
     
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  33. Illinihockey

    Illinihockey Well-Known Member

    I think we might have just seen Corey Crawford's last ever game for the Hawks. Sad.
     
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  34. visa

    visa 〽️
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  35. Bankz

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    I hope not... but I also hope he's shut down the year.
     
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  36. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys. #AioliBoys
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    ‘He’s not your typical hockey player’: Collin Delia might be an unfinished product, but he’s certain he’s ready for the NHL

    As the Blackhawks’ director of player development, it was Barry Smith’s job to make sure that prospects became players, that the guys in Rockford were ready to play in the NHL when they got the call. And back when the Blackhawks were icing fourth lines that rivaled some teams’ second and third lines (remember Michael Frolik, Dave Bolland and Marcus Kruger?), it really wasn’t that difficult. Smith — and the IceHogs staff — had time to work with players, time to nurture their skills, round out their games, and boost their confidence. Legitimate NHL opportunities opened up so rarely that there was usually a logjam of players ready to make the leap.

    Not anymore. As the Blackhawks’ depth has thinned, the prospect timetable has been greatly expedited. It’s how Gustav Forsling cracked the lineup at 20, and how Henri Jokiharju jumped straight from the WHL to the NHL. It’s how players such as Luke Johnson and Dylan Sikura have found ice time in Chicago when they could probably use another year of AHL seasoning. Simply put, it’s no longer about making sure guys are ready for the NHL. It’s about making sure they’re ready enough.

    And yes, that sometimes means cutting corners in the development process.

    “Yeah, a little bit,” Smith told me back in September at the Traverse City rookie tournament. “I’m sorry, but you do. It’s a rational answer. It’d be wrong to say otherwise. Case in point, Forsling a couple years ago. He probably would have been better off in Rockford, but what are you going to do? You have to find the best players available that you can find that can play for Chicago. At the time, maybe he was a year away, but the team needed him, so he still had to be useful for Chicago. Everybody has a timeline of when they reach the top of their game, and you can’t really change that. There’s a process. You can’t force something to come to a boil.”

    But sometimes, you have to throw the pasta in, anyway.

    “It’s just a matter of trying to make them as prepared as possible, and as useful as possible,” Smith said.

    Which brings us to Collin Delia, the Blackhawks’ presumed goaltender of the future, who very well could become the goaltender of the present with Corey Crawford out indefinitely with his second concussion in the span of a year. Delia is just 24. He was undrafted. Barely a year ago, he was playing in the ECHL — and poorly, at that, with an .887 save percentage, a 4.12 goals-against average and a 1-7-0 record for the Indy Fuel. He played in two NHL games at the end of last season, leaving his debut early because of cramps (setting the stage for emergency backup Scott Foster’s memorable outing). The next night, he lost 5-0 in Colorado in his one complete game. That’s it. That’s his whole NHL career so far.

    But ready or not, here he is. For who knows how long.

    “I think I have a higher ceiling,” Delia said when I asked him if he felt he was a finished, NHL-ready product. “I think you can develop anywhere you’re playing games, even in the NHL. You can also get better in practice, too. Don’t let people tell you the only way you’re going to get better is if you play, play, play. Don’t get me wrong — that’s a huge portion. But that’s not the only way. You get better on the ice, off the ice, making right decisions with nutrition, health, sleep, stuff like that. So it’s very holistic, you know?”

    If you’re new to Delia, that quote gives you an idea of what he’s like — smart, insightful, interesting and, yes, quite confident. “Well-rounded,” is how Blackhawks goaltending development coach Peter Aubry described him. So many hockey players are myopic and obsessive about the sport, just thinking about hockey from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep.

    “That’s not Collin,” Aubry said with a laugh. “He’s got a brand-new bike that he’d probably love to show you. You want to talk about making an art project, or building a table, or fixing a sink, he’s there for it. He can hold a conversation on just about anything. That’s part of his life. He’s not your typical hockey player.”

    So whether Delia’s game is NHL ready or not remains to be seen. But his mental game certainly is. The reigning IceHogs Man of the Year for his work in the Rockford community believes he can play in the NHL. He’s sure of it.

    “Everyone has to believe they belong here,” Delia said. “Playing pro hockey, you can’t doubt yourself. Wait, no, I take that back. It’s not that you can’t doubt yourself — obviously, you have doubts — but you can never stop believing at the end of the day, in your core, that you belong. I definitely am confident in my ability, and it’s not a cockiness or anything like that. Confidence comes from preparing and knowing that you’ve put in the work. Players that feel insecure — well, I can’t speak for everybody, and everybody has different situations, so I don’t want to be too generalistic here. But from my perspective, that preparation is where the confidence comes from. I’ve prepared for this.”

    Just perhaps not as much as the Blackhawks would like. The organization is high on Delia — it’s telling that he got the call-up, not the more experienced Anton Forsberg, who spent much of last season as the Blackhawks’ default No. 1 goalie. Delia is the future. Delia is the one who backstopped the IceHogs to the conference final of the Calder Cup playoffs last spring, posting a .924 save percentage and 2.34 GAA in 10 playoff starts. Delia’s the one who stayed in Rockford out of camp, not promising Finnish import Kevin Lankinen, who’s currently in Indy. Delia’s the one who leads the AHL in save percentage this season (.933) and is second in GAA (2.34).

    “Do I feel he’s as good as anyone in the AHL? I do,” Aubry said. “Can he still get better? Yeah. But broader picture, I know there are 31 teams in the NHL, but I don’t know if there are 31 NHL starters. Do I think Collin is just as good as some guys who already play in the NHL? For sure. Does he need to take steps and prove that on a nightly basis? Yeah. But that’s fine. Right now, he’s a call-up goalie who needs to prove himself. Is he going to come in and be Corey Crawford? No, but who is? Is he going to come in and show a real good version of himself? I expect that.”

    Delia clearly has emerged as the organization’s best long-term hope in net — something that was cemented in the front office’s collective mind during that playoff run last spring — and is being groomed as Crawford’s eventual successor. The latest frightening concussion for Crawford might have sped up that process dramatically, however. After all, Crawford himself spent five seasons in the AHL before finally securing an NHL job at age 26. And even he wasn’t truly a finished product until his third NHL season, when he led the Blackhawks to the 2013 Stanley Cup.

    Still, Delia’s meteoric rise is not unprecedented. Scott Darling famously rose from the Southern Professional Hockey League to the NHL in just three years, including a jump from the ECHL to the NHL in about the same time frame as Delia. Mike Condon played for the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers in 2013-14 and started 55 games for the Montreal Canadiens in 2015-16. Garret Sparks went from the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears in 2014-15 to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015-16.

    Sometimes, a switch flips inside a prospect. Sometimes, injuries at the top force the issue.

    “I don’t know if I ever had my own timetable,” Delia said. “It was always a dream to me, and it’s still so surreal to be here and to be around such amazing players and be considered to be one of the guys here. It’s very special. But I don’t know if I ever envisioned this in my life. I just love playing, and that’s what it was always about. It was never about, ‘Oh, I’m going to make this much money playing hockey,’ or, ‘I’ve got to be at this level at this time at this age.’ It was just about enjoying what you’re doing, and if it was meant to be, it’ll happen.”

    Unfinished products crack NHL lineups all the time. But it’s different with goaltenders. You can’t shelter a goalie on a third pairing against weaker competition with heavy offensive-zone starts, or bury him on a fourth line and play him just seven minutes a night. Assuming he gets the start Friday in Colorado, Delia will be facing the best line in hockey, including the league’s two leading scorers, Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon. There’s no hiding. For goalies, the challenges are greater, the pressure is harsher, the spotlight is brighter. And especially behind this Blackhawks defense, there are going to be some brutal nights.

    That’s where that preternatural confidence comes in. Delia credited Aubry with fine-tuning his game in Rockford, saying he turned a corner around New Year’s last year, when all the habits and tweaks he’d been working on finally became muscle memory. Aubry, in turn, credited Delia with being able to absorb and process all the information he threw at him. He said Delia has “crammed a whole bunch into one year” — from the ECHL to the AHL to the NHL to the Calder Cup playoffs — and has grown exponentially as a result. Even this year, Rockford’s own offensive struggles have made every game a down-to-the-wire grind.

    “So every minute matters, and he’s squeezing every ounce of value out of it,” Aubry said.

    Prospect development is not linear. A year ago, Delia was another little-heard name in the system. Six months ago, he was a promising but still-distant prospect. Now, he’s in the NHL, and given the severity of Crawford’s previous concussion, he could be here for a while.

    “You’re going to take a step forward, or a few steps forward, and then you’re going to take a step back,” said Jeremy Colliton, who coached Delia in Rockford. “That’s normal. And sometimes, you’ve got to go through a negative time. You’ve got to go through a period of adversity, and then use it as a springboard going forward. … Delia is a perfect example. He was in the East Coast League but it didn’t mean he wasn’t a huge prospect. He had the chance then, and he has the chance now, to be a great player in this league.”

    So it doesn’t matter if corners were cut out of necessity. It doesn’t matter if he’s truly ready or not. Just because a player has reached the top, it doesn’t mean he’s necessarily hit his ceiling.

    “It is wild to think (I was in the ECHL a year ago), that’s for sure,” Delia said. “It’s definitely strange. I do think I have a higher ceiling. I’m still continuing to push that envelope every day. I have a lot more development to come, but I think I’m on the right track, which is good. If my number gets called, I’m sure I’ll be ready.”
     
  37. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys. #AioliBoys
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    Looks like snow for the Winter Classic.

    :blessed:
     
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  38. Fran Tarkenton

    Fran Tarkenton Well-Known Member
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    are you still going?
     
  39. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys. #AioliBoys
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    Yes sir.
     
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  40. Fran Tarkenton

    Fran Tarkenton Well-Known Member
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    Unreal that Edmonton gave us anything. Caggiula is a guy Stan wanted coming out of UND.



    Also this

     
  41. Bankz

    Bankz I'm a sick guy
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    Caggiula is bff’s with McDavid so you know what that means... can’t wait to see McDavid in a hawks sweater
     
  42. Fran Tarkenton

    Fran Tarkenton Well-Known Member
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    How was it?
     
  43. Bankz

    Bankz I'm a sick guy
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    Those sweaters were sweet as fuck
     
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  44. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys. #AioliBoys
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    Awesome. We had an issue with our bus, so we got very little time in South Bend. Our tickets were great, and the game was a lot of fun aside from them running out of beer at the stadium.
     
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  45. Fran Tarkenton

    Fran Tarkenton Well-Known Member
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    Rutta trade sorta meaningless but I like the speculative add in getting a few months look at a former 1st rounder who never could get run in Tampa. Remember Koekkoek played pretty decent as a rookie in the playoffs a few years back.

    Have just under $5m in space to take on any bad expiring deals for picks at the deadline (though up against the limit of max # of contracts)

    Next year Should have around $20-23m in cap space with a $83 limit.

    If Crawford retires, $6m more or his contract is out in 2020.

    Then pray for a Seabrook buyout after 2020 with the new CBA. And will get an even higher cap with Seattle's entry into the league.

    Should be a fun offseason. 3 points out of last place. Really want to be in the Top 2 picks.
     
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  46. Vinegar Strokes

    Vinegar Strokes Suck our Dicks. Fire Everybody
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    Back off. Hughes is ours.
     
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