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Blackhawks DL - A Chicago Blackhawks blog | Page 23

Blackhawks Championship DVDs, IMAX Premiere, and Signings

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

Blackhawks DVD

Want to re-live the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup?  Of course you do.  Well you are in for a treat.  Warner Brothers Home Video is releasing 2010 Stanley Cup Champions on DVD ($24.98) and Blu-Ray ($34.99) on Tuesday.  The video is loaded with highlights from the regular season and playoff run, interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage.  It looks back to the days the Hawks selected Toews and Kane and features extended Cup, Locker Room, and Parade Celebrations.  This is something you'll want to buy and hold on to for a very long time so that you can show all your kids and grandkids.

There is a VIP Premiere event on Monday night at Navy Pier.  Fans will be able to screen the DVD before its released to the public.  As a bonus, its going to be in IMAX, which is going to be mind blowingly awesome.  Need your mind blown a little more?  Well, Sharp, Campbell, and Bolland will all be in attendance.  The red carpet arrivals will begin at 6 and the screening starts at 7.  The only way to get passes to this super exclusive event is by winning them.  Listen to WGN Radio all weekend for more info on winning passes.

But that's not all! (It never is.)  There will be three separate signings of the DVD by Blackhawks players.  Patrick Sharp will be at Best Buy (1000 W North Ave) Monday night at 11:59 PM for Midnight Madness.  It will run until 2 AM.

Once you get it signed by Sharpie, go home and get some sleep because Brian Campbell is signing at Dominick's (1340 S Canal Street) Tuesday from 11 AM to 1 PM.

Dave Bolland will be signing Tuesday from 6 PM to 8 PM at the Meijer in Orland Park for all you suburbanites.  Please note, the players will ONLY be signing the DVDs.  Remember to get to all signings early.  You know how Stanley Cup Fever has taken over the city.  These will all draw big crowds.

Since I'm at work and can't download the videos, I'm going to direct you all to Ms. Blackhawks where you can take a look at 2 sneak peak clips. http://msblackhawks.blogspot.com/2010/07/special-sneak-peek-at-stanley-cup-dvd.html

Hawks Match Offer Sheet, Sign Kitchen, Re-Sign Haviland

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

And here I had this whole big post earlier about Kitchen replacing Torchetti and Haviland re-signing and the importance of it all. And then work got busy and my session timed out and I hadn't saved anything so it was all lost.  Stuff happens some times.  I'll see if I can recall most of it and post that tomorrow.  It might seem like some insignificant moves, but Kitchen and Haviland could really impact a lot of how this season goes.

In other news, the Hawks announced that they are matching the Sharks offer sheet, which will keep Hjalmarsson in Chicago.  He'll make $3.5 Mil per year for the next four years so now you can all go out and buy his jersey without fear.  This puts the Hawks in a bind with the cap, and I expect Niemi to be the one to leave.  There's some rumors that Campbell and Sharp are being shopped, but I'm pretty sure that was just made up by someone on Twitter.  Campbell would be very hard to move with his cap hit and No Movement Clause.  I wouldn't want to see him leave anyways. It would be very hard to replace his skill set.

I don't see Sharp leaving either.  He is such a versatile player at both wing and center and his cap hit is very good for all that he brings to the table.  My guess is the Hawks will get Niemi to lower his asking price or walk away from the arbitration award and sign someone on the cheap.  Niemi was the guy who proved that you don't need a goalie to be anything more than serviceable when playing behind some of the best defensemen in the league.  His success works against him in a way.  No matter what, it will all be very interesting to see how it shakes out.

Sharks Put In Offer Sheet On Hjalmarsson

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

Crap. Just when I thought this day was going well. I had a nice fluff piece to put up about how its been a month since we won the Cup. And now this: Bob McKenzie tweeted "I am not working, but I can tell you TSN's Gord Miller reports San Jose has signed Niklas Hjalmarsson to a four-year, $14M offer sheet."

Whoop-Dee-Doo But What Does It All Mean, Basil?

The Hawks now have 7 days to match the offer or lose Hammer to the Sharks.

Option 1: Match

Matching the offer from the Sharks would mean the Hawks could keep Hammer.  It would cost $3.5 Mil per year for the next 4 years, which isn't a bad hit for such a solid, young guy.  This would most likely mean the Hawks would have to walk away from Niemi after his arbitration.  Honestly, if it came down to picking between the two of them, I would hope the Hawks took the Swedish Chef over the Finnish Fortress.  The price tag on Niemi is likely very high at the moment and he has done very little to prove himself.  I'm simply not comfortable committing huge dollars to an untested goalie, especially after the Hawks proved that if you have airtight defense in front of the goalie that he doesn't have to be a superstar.  There are plenty of veteran goalies on the free agent market right now.

Option 2: Hjalmarsson to the Sharks

Damn you, Doug Wilson. Burke would totally kick your ass if you did this to him. You're lucky Bowman isn't as truculent.

If Hammer goes to the Sharks, the Hawks will receive a 1st round and 3rd round draft pick in the 2011 NHL Draft.  Its a bit too early to start looking at depth for that draft class.  Those picks could go a long way towards restocking the pipeline with blue chip talent.  Then again, this would leave the Hawks with only 3 defensemen on the roster for next season (Because, really, John Scott isn't a hockey player. He's a thug.)  It would be really tough to fill those gaps with all young kids.  Bringing Hendry back in would mean 2 spots would have to be filled by Olsen, Lalonde, Leddy, or a few other options.  Prospects Camp could help us tell who might be close to cracking the NHL roster.

What Now?

We wait. Have to see if the Hawks will match.  Their decision will say a lot about how they feel about the teams future with Niemi.  There aren't many (see: any spots at all) starting goalie spots in the NHL so I'm not sure what kind of bargaining power Niemi's side has here.  Let's just wait and see what moves the Hawks make here.

 

Playing the Numbers Game: So You Want to be an NHL GM

Written by ChiBlackhawks on .

During the Great Chicago Blackhawks Firesale of 2010, I've come across many comments along the lines of "Why? WHY? WHEN WILL THIS MADNESS STOP? WILL SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN?" Understandably, many are quite upset that the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship Team (mmmmm, that'll never get old) is being eviscerated, dismantled, gutted (your words, not mine). We've lost playoff heroes in Byfuglien, Ladd, and Sopel, crowd favorites in Burish and Versteeg, and we wonder if the end is in sight. Some have even dared ask: What would Dale Tallon have done?

And that is a completely fair question to ask. None of us really felt at ease with Bowman Jr's ascension to GM, figuring the RFA snafu wasn't enough reason to fire the affable Tallon (and even if, was it Dale Tallon's fault, really, that envelopes weren't licked and stamps not slapped onto the qualifying offers?). Even worse, Stan Bowman's name will be on the Cup when the real architect of this championship team was Tallon (although he gets his name in the Cup too, plus a ring). Clearly, whatever he does during this off-season merits scrutiny.

What is Stan Bowman doing to the team that broke a 49-year drought? Why is he dismantling a champion? Is he so out of his mind that he is "destroying this team so he can rebuild a better one to call his own", as one Twitter user postulated?

Well, dear reader(s?), while we have yet to receive access to the Blackhawks front office, there is another way we can test these theories. It's a simple game called "Armchair GMing".

The premise is simple:

You are a young capologist who, thanks to a clerical error, some backstage political wrangling, and your dear old father's string-pulling, has inherited a team of bright, talented, young players eager to win. Your goal is to keep this team a contender every year, and obviously, that means signing a number of players looking at free agency at the end of the season.

The hitch? You will have to do this within the salary cap.

You have a number of assorted RFAs and UFAs coming up, a few of whom are listed below:

  • Jonathan Toews, RFA, youngest franchise captain, future Conn Smythe winner, number-to-the-rafters kind of player
  • Patrick Kane, RFA, #1 overall draft pick, Olympic Silver medal winner, future Stanley Cup Final OT-winner scorer, numbers-to-the-afters caliber as well
  • Duncan Keith, RFA, top blueliner, future Norris Trophy winner, another numbers-to-the-rafters kind of player
  • Niklas Hjalmarsson, RFA, solid top-4 defenseman, shot-blocker, penalty-killer
  • Antti Niemi, RFA, rookie back-up-turned-starting goaltender
  • Andrew Ladd, RFA, 3rd line checking winger
  • Colin Fraser, RFA, 4th line center
  • Ben Eager, RFA, 4th line winger
  • John Madden, UFA, 3rd line checking center
  • Adam Burish, UFA, 4th line winger
  • Nick Boynton, UFA, 6th defenseman
  • Kim Johnsson, UFA, deceased

As with any games, of course, there are certain stipulations that must be followed:

  • Duncan Keith is willing to sign a lifetime contract to lower his cap hit, but it must be reasonable. He is worried about the NHL launching any sort of investigation.
  • Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have been advised by their agent to avoid lifetime contracts, so that they can hit the UFA market in a few years' time.
  • Andrew Ladd will want a much more significant raise than the base 105% you are allowed to start with when you qualify RFAs

Whether or not you choose to wait until the off-season to sign any or all of these players to extensions doesn't matter much the season you inherit this team-- at the end of it, you win the Cup! Congratulations! Your team captain is the MVP of the entire playoffs! As a result of this, the entry-level contract he signed years ago gives him a bonus that will, unfortunately, now count against the cap for next year. In fact, his teammate also hit his entry-level contract bonus targets, so their bonuses will have to come off the cap.

The good news? The league salary cap was raised to $59.4 million.

The bad news? You are now working with a salary cap hit of $55.2 million.

Here's where the game gets interesting:

The NHL market for free agency is as it usually is-- a surplus of players in one position (goaltending) has led to a significant dip in their asking prices. As a result, not a lot of teams are looking for high-priced goaltenders any longer. In fact, goalies are averaging $1.5m per year! Meanwhile, a low supply of defensemen seems to raise the prices for top-four defensemen with a few years of experience-- they are averaging around $5m per year.

You, dear Armchair GMer, have assets in your arsenal, and a fairly tight budget to work with, but we have faith in your abilities!

Use this tool to help guide your decision-making process. Which free agents would you re-sign? Which signed players would you move? What kinds of trades would you have made, and what other moves would you have initiated given the constraints that you have also inherited along with the team?

We encourage you to play around with the calculator, and when you're done, post your answers in the comments below. We hope you enjoyed this mental exercise, and remember: if Olli Jokinen can get re-signed by the team that traded him, and if a player with 14 points in 255 games can earn $1.5m for 4 years, then there are clearly no wrong answers.

(With some material taken from an SCH fanpost I wrote yesterday.)

Free Agency Liveblog Madness Fiesta

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

Free agency starts today at 11 AM Central Time. A bunch of the Bloguin bloggers are collaborating on this liveblog that's being hosted by The Pens Blog (one of the biggest and best hockey blogs out there). To read or comment, just click the little play button on the box down there. I'll be tossing my comments in periodically (I hope all these people can appreciate some fat and dumb jokes). Once I get out of work at noon, I'll be able to talk a little more. Seems every person in the world wants to come into a bank today.

Versteeg to the Leafs for Prospects

Written by ChiBlackhawks on .

So my posts keep getting eaten up-- my computer chose a lovely time to act up.

By now you've heard that Versteeg has been traded to the Leafs for three forwards (I've looked their names up so many times, you'd think I'd remember who they are. I don't.) and who we get back is really quite irrelevant. We won't know until a few years from now how those prospects will pan out, so for the sake of argument let's say they don't. Worst case scenario, where does that leave us?

  1. Versteeg was going to get traded whatever happened. It's the salary cap era.
  2. Toronto gives Versteeg the opportunity to develop as a top-six forward, which he couldn't do here. He'll be an exciting player to watch (from afar), I hope.
  3. But the Hawks don't necessarily have to worry. They don't face the Leafs all that much, and any meeting in the playoffs means both teams are in the Cup Finals, the chances of which may be a little slim considering the Hawks are supposed to suck after all this salary shedding.
  4. We still have, at the very least, Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, Hossa, Sharp, and Campbell.
  5. And we can probably re-sign Niemi and Hjalmarsson now, too.

Are the Hawks weaker now than when the season ended? Yes.

Much weaker? No.

All things considered, in fact, it looks like we're doing the best that we can given the situation.

Updates Before Day 2 of the Draft

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

Couple of notes before the 2nd day of the draft gets under way:

  • You've probably heard that Colin "Frazzle Dazzle" Fraser has been traded. He went to Edmonton for a 6th round pick. This move is probably less about cap space than it is about just opening a roster spot for a guy like Bickell or Dowell and letting Fraz go somewhere where he can get minutes. He didn't dress for any of the playoff games, so no big loss here.
  • The Hawks drafted Kevin Hayes with the 24th overall pick in the draft last night. Kevin was born in May of 1992. How old do you feel right now? There were a lot of complaints that they picked him over Emmerson Etem. The problem with that, though, is that this draft has been totally unpredictable past picks 1 and 2. Its really easy to sit there and criticize the pick when there's no accountability for being completely off base with your prediction in 3 years when it comes time for Hayes to hit the minors or possibly the big club. Who knows? He could be traded. His development could go terrible or it could be amazing and he can turn out to be a Hall of Famer. What I'm sayin is let's not jump to decisions that the Hawks have been paying people for months to figure out simply because a different website had them listed differently.
  • By the way, Kevin Hayes looks like he'll be pretty good. Kid has a lot of size and upside. He's a big guy with good hands and can score lots of goals. Reminds me of some guy who used to play here who's name I seem to be blanking on. Some Buyfoogleeuhn guy mabye?
  • The Hawks traded out from the 30th pick. They got the 35th and 58th picks from the Islanders. Pretty solid calculated gamble from the Hawks brass. Dale Tallon's strategy seemed to always be acquiring a large quantity of picks. Sliding down 5 picks netted the Hawks their fourth 2nd round pick. If the Hawks think their guy will still be there 5 picks later, why not get an extra pick for free?
  • The second day of the Draft starts at Noon Central Time today. If rounds 2-7 move at the same pace as the first did, the draft will end some time around the start of the 2011 Entry Draft. We'll recap all the picks and trades the Hawks make when its done.

Immediate Trade Reaction: Buff, Sopel, Eager, Aliu to ATL for Picks, Reasoner

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

Breaking trade: Byfuglien, Eager, Sopel, and prospect Akim Aliu have been traded to the Atlanta Thrashers. In return, the Hawks received Marty Reasoner, propsect Jeremy Morin, and the 1st and 2nd round picks (from NJ via the Kovalchuk trade) in this year's draft.

Reaction:

This trade is huge for the Hawks. Buff and Sopel add up to $5.33 Million in cap relief.  Aliu did not have a good season in Rockford and was sent down to Toledo of the ECHL due to attitude issues.

Marty Reasoner will be the replacement for John Madden. He is a very good 3rd line center with a high faceoff % (important for the Hawks possession style) and has been said to be a very good guy for the locker room. His cap hit is $1.15 Mil and the contract has one season left on it.

Jeremy Morin was ranked 3rd in the Atlanta system.  We are currently working on getting a report on his potential, but the people from Atlanta that we've talked to have been very high on his future.

The first rounder will be 24th overall.  The Hawks now own 4 picks in the first 2 rounds.  These will be important moving forward to keep the prospect pool stocked with talent.  The Hawks are currently short on goaltending depth.  This is a pretty deep draft, so these picks look to be very valuable.

Summary:

Great trade for the Hawks. We all knew that they would have to make some moves to get under the salary cap.  This means they can make offers to Hjalmarsson, Niemi, and possibly Ladd.  Byfuglien was probably the easiest forward to replace (see: Beach, Kyle). Sopel provided great defense, but was paid too much for a 3rd pairing defender.  Eager...well...he is also very easy to replace. Hell, I could go out there and take stupid penalties all game.  The Hawks needed to make a trade, and they got great value back on this one.

Updates:

1) Stay tuned, as the trade call has not gone through so this trade is completely official yet.

2) Word has it that the trade was held up due to the Thrashers passing the 50 contract limit in the trade. Atlanta threw Joey Crabb into the deal. He'll probably bounce around the minors for the rest of his career.

3) I don't think I mentioned it before, but the 2nd round pick from the Thrashers (which is really the Devils pick) is 54th overall.  Blackhawks now have 4 of the top 60 picks.

4) The Sharks took 2 contracts off Atlanta's hands so that Byfuglien could be traded to the East.  They took career minor leaguers Mike Vernace and Chicago Wolves favorite Brett Sterling.  Both have contracts that expire June 30th.  They got a 7th round pick out of it as compensation.

Have Facebook friends who don't like this deal? Click the Share button below the comments to post it in their feed and educate them.

An Ode To Brent Sopel

Written by Andrew Bernier on .

News came out this morning that the Blackhawkswill be re-routing the Stanley Cup away from the NHL Draft 15 hours early this weekend. The Cup will be flown back from LA so that it will be in the Chicago Pride Parade. I guess the title of this post gives away the mystery behind who will be marching in the parade with the Cup, the ever-charitable Brent Sopel.

From the article by Michael Sneed of the Sun Times:

"I am honored to do it," said Sopel, who will be accompanied by wife, Kelly, and his four kids, Jacob, 12, Lyla, 8, Jayla, 6, and Paul, 20, whom they adopted three years ago after Paul's parents died within six months of each other.

And yes, you read that right. The Sopelfamily took Paul into their home at the age of 17 when his parents died. Things like this are nothing new for them. They are constantly making personal sacrifices to help others. Hey, sounds a bit like what he does on the ice too.

One of the less-publicized acts of kindness from the Sopelscomes once a year whenthey invite military families into their home to celebrate Christmas together. Brent and Kelly serve a Christmas dinner. They bring together families who are dealing with the hardship of celebrating Christmas without a loved one. They take the time to honor and assist families who are making sacrifices for our country.

The part of this that says the most is how little we hear about this from Brent. He isn't doing this for PR. It has nothing to do with appearances or public image. He does it because he cares about people, and that's something that is too rare these days. Think about when the last time you gave 5 minutes of your time for someone. I personally fall short with this too. Its people like Brent and Kelly who remind us that we can all do a little bit of self-sacrifice.

Brent's name has been tossed in with about a dozen others in trade rumors due to the cap crunch. Although his contract might not make sense to keep, I'd be pretty sad to see him go. But if he does go elsewhere and he returns to the UC wear a crest other than the Indianhead, I'm giving him a standing ovation. He won't make it into the Hall of Fame. There won't be a Brent SopelHeritage Night. The number 5 won't hang from the rafters. But when the memories of him playing disappear, I'll always remember him for being a great person.

Blackhawks 2010-2011 Schedule Released

Written by ChiBlackhawks on .

 

Get your calendars ready. Circle the dates and plan the road trips. This is your 2010-2011 Schedule for the Blackhawks, as released by the NHL at 11am CT today.

NHL 2010-2011 SCHEDULE (AS OF 6/22/10 - VER 10156) (All Times Local)
SCHEDULE FOR Chicago

Oct. 7 at Colorado, 8:00 p.m.
Oct. 9 Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Buffalo, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 13 Nashville, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 15 at Columbus, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 16 Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 18 St. Louis, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 20 Vancouver, 8:00 p.m.
Oct. 22 at St. Louis, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 23 Columbus, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 27 Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 29 Edmonton, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 30 at Minnesota, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 1 at N.Y. Rangers, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 3 New Jersey, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 6 at Atlanta, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 7 Edmonton, 6:00 p.m.
Nov. 10 Phoenix, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 13 at Nashville, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 14 Anaheim, 6:00 p.m.
Nov. 17 at Edmonton, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 19 at Calgary, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 20 at Vancouver, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 24 at San Jose, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 26 at Anaheim, 1:00 p.m.
Nov. 27 at Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 30 St. Louis, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 3 Vancouver, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 5 Calgary, 6:00 p.m.
Dec. 8 Dallas, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 11 at San Jose, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 13 at Colorado, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 15 Colorado, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 17 Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 19 Los Angeles, 6:00 p.m.
Dec. 22 Nashville, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 26 Columbus, 6:00 p.m.
Dec. 28 at St. Louis, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 30 San Jose, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 2 at Anaheim, 5:00 p.m.
Jan. 3 at Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 5 Dallas, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 7 Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 9 N.Y. Islanders, 6:00 p.m.
Jan. 12 Colorado, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 15 at Nashville, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 16 Nashville, 6:00 p.m.
Jan. 22 at Detroit, 2:00 p.m.
Jan. 23 Philadelphia, 3:00 p.m.
Jan. 25 Minnesota, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 1 at Columbus, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 4 at Vancouver, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 7 at Calgary, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 9 at Edmonton, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 11 at Dallas, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 12 at Phoenix, 6:00 p.m.
Feb. 16 Minnesota, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 18 Columbus, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 20 Pittsburgh, 3:00 p.m.
Feb. 21 at St. Louis, 1:00 p.m.
Feb. 24 at Nashville, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 27 Phoenix, 6:00 p.m.
Feb. 28 at Minnesota, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 2 Calgary, 8:00 p.m.
Mar. 4 Carolina, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 5 at Toronto, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 8 at Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 9 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 13 at Washington, 3:00 p.m.
Mar. 14 San Jose, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 17 at Dallas, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 20 at Phoenix, 5:00 p.m.
Mar. 23 Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 26 Anaheim, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 28 at Detroit, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 29 at Boston, 7:00 p.m.
Apr. 1 at Columbus, 7:00 p.m.
Apr. 3 Tampa Bay, 6:00 p.m.
Apr. 5 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Apr. 6 St. Louis, 7:30 p.m.
Apr. 8 at Detroit, 7:00 p.m.
Apr. 10 Detroit, 3:00 p.m.

Quick Takes:

  • 6-Game Circus Trip in November
  • 6-Game Road Trip in February
  • 17 Back-to-Backs
  • December looks like it's going to be the best month, again, with March's schedule looking a little tough.
  • These end-of-the-season home-and-home games against Detroit are looking like tradition.
Schedule Breakdown:

Month
Total Games
Home Games
Road Games
Back to Back Games
October
13
8
5
3
November
14
5
9
4
December
12
9
3
0
January
11
7
4
3
February
13
4
9
3
March
13
5
8
4
April 6 3 3 1