Blog Entry

'Hawks steal the show

Posted on: June 23, 2010 10:41 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2010 11:19 pm

Leave it to the Stanley Cup champions to make themselves the story on a night the NHL wanted the spotlight focused on its top star players. There is a reason the Chicago Blackhawks have earned a reputation for being cocky, and it goes beyond Patrick Kane mocking cab drivers or swigging champagne during the championship parade.

It’s an attitude, not necessarily a bad one since it helped end a 49-year Cup drought, and the organization managed to reinforce it by upstaging the league’s glitzy annual awards show in Las Vegas with a blockbuster trade. The deal, awaiting sign-off by the NHL, strips playoff hero Dustin Byfuglien along with Brent Sopel and Ben Eager from the Blackhawks championship roster, sending them and a prospect to Atlanta in return for veteran Marty Reasoner, a prospect and a couple of draft picks, including a first rounder this Friday.

It’s a great start for the retooling effort of new Thrashers GM Rick Dudley, who was the director of player personal in Chicago for the first three seasons after the lockout. And it is a salary dump that had to be made by the Blackhawks, and likely not the last for a team that is severely cap challenged. Chicago isn’t alone in that regard either, and as the draft gets closer, several other teams are likely to get start redefining their payroll philosophies and getting in on what has already been an active trade mart around the league. 

That’s good for buzz of course. But not on on a stand-alone night that saw Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin beat out Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby for the Hart Trophy as league MVP.

Sedin’s win was the only surprise, and a minor one at that, on an evening that saw the presumed favorites come away with the trophy in each major category. Sabres goalie Ryan Miller was a shoo-in for Vezina while his teammate Tyler Myers played too big on the blue line to be ignored in the rookie race. Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith was the frontrunner for the Norris all season and coach Dave Tippett oversaw the feel good story of the year behind the bench in Phoenix.

They were all effectively slam dunk winners, the same which could be said of perennial Selke winner Pavel Datsyuk as top defensive forward. Datysuk though, whose halting English appears to have improved somewhat since last season, delivered one of the night’s best lines during his acknowledgements when he thanked “management for paying me. I wish it never stops.”

The light-hearted comment drew one of the biggest laughs during an event that seemed hokey at times, but on the whole was easier to handle than an Oscar night. Comedian Jay Mohr struggled as the MC and he even acknowledged the weak material when one routine drew little response from the game’s A-listers.

 “How many hockey jokes did you have to write today?” Mohr asked the audience.

What he should have done though was get some help from the writers of a film skit that featured Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan and was the entertainment highlight of the night. The premise was Getzlaf, an Olympic gold medal winner with Canada, constantly ragging on Ryan, who took home silver Team USA. The short film put together nicely, demonstrating some pretty good comedic talent by both players and ending with a funny cameo appearance from Scott Niedermayer.

Tippett showed some wit as well when he said he wanted to thank team owners, “but I don’t know all 29 of them,” while Jose Theodore provided the most emotional moment during the Masterton presentation which he won in large part for persevering after the infant death of his child almost exactly a year ago.

The show was not without glitches though, one of the coming early when Mark Wahlberg announced the Calder Trophy winner as Tie Domi instead of Tyler Myers.  Ovechkin overstayed his welcome after winning the NHL players association outstanding player award, continuing his thank-yous after the cutoff music sounded and presenters Ron MacLean and Ted Lindsay had walked off the stage. Later, the cameras cut away from Keith as he was running on while accepting the Norris.

But that didn’t stop Keith from doing what he had to on a night his team did the same.


Category: NHL

Since: Feb 3, 2007
Posted on: June 25, 2010 1:41 pm

'Hawks steal the show

gmalis - Agree with everything except Huet's salary is probably a small problem b/c the waiver period doesn't start until 2 weeks before the season.  So, unless they buy him out, they'll have to make even more cap space in order to stay within the 10% overrun allowed during the offseason.  It seems like they should just buy him out so they have space now "while the gettin' is good" vs. waiting until 2 weeks before the start of the season??  Also, I think they have serious SALARY CAP issues, but, in their case, not going to cause serious TEAM issues.  Any team with the building blocks of a solid goalie plus Kane, Toews, Hossa, Seabrook, Keith and Campbell (sure overpaid, but a great player) is a Stanley Cup contender every season.  Three of the best offensive players in the league and even better defensemen.  Agree...Byfuglien was not a big loss.  Like him, but not a big loss.  I love that they are getting all these draft picks, i think Hawks do a great job in the draft.

Since: May 26, 2008
Posted on: June 24, 2010 6:06 pm

'Hawks steal the show

1 Dustin Byfuglien had the WORST +/- rating on the team, both in the regular season and in the playoffs.  He was paid $3 million for next year, then would be a free agent after 2011.  What better player to trade than one that had a high imnmediate value due to his goal scoring in the playoffs?  We will all miss Buff, but he was the logical choice to go.

2 The Hawks don't want to get rid of Brian Campbell, so get that straight right away.  They aren't happy with his $7 million plus salary, but they are very happy with his play.  If you want to see how the Hawks struggled when he was mauled by Alex Ovechkin and broke his collarbone, then watch the highlights from the last five weeks of the season and the first 2 games of the playoffs.  When he returned, the Hawks were rejuvenated, refreshed and had more scoring due to the offensive prowess of Campbell.  Brian isn't going anywhere.  While highly overpaid, he is one of the best offensive defensemen in the game...and he was solid defensively in the playoffs as well.

3 The Hawks have SERIOUS salary cap problems.  Madden is gone (free agent), Eager is gone (also a free agent).  Colin Fraser is gone (also a free agent).  Ladd most likely will now return (hopefully).  I think the Hawks are very close to the cap now although they may have to trim a small amount of salary yet ($1-2 million). 

4 Cristobal Huet's salary isn't a problem.  He can be put on waivers, and if not claimed the Hawks can bury him in the AHL.  They will pay his salary ($5.625 million), but it won't count against the cap. 

Since: Apr 24, 2008
Posted on: June 24, 2010 11:44 am

'Hawks steal the show

Don't forget that an integral advisor in this organization is Scotty Bowman and he knows a thing or two about the kind of talent needed to get through the playoffs.  Grit players are fairly cheap to replace. Eager didn't have a big impact in the season/playoffs and Buff is clearly at the peak of his value.  I am not a fan of Campbell but one could argue that the Hawks turned a corner in the playoffs when he came back.  A ton of teams would sign up for a puck movin D-man that can QB the powerplay.  He likes Chi-town and is exercising his no-trade clause, I can't blame him but it is definitely not a case of nobody wanting him.

Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: June 24, 2010 10:25 am

'Hawks steal the show

makes no sense to me why the Hawks made those moves.  I understand the cap situation but I think they should have moved someone under contract that perhaps was not quite as much of a grinder.  I think the dilusioned blackhawks fan that stated that they were going to own the league for the next 10 years is missing the point of what got you there.  It did have something to do with Kane, Toews, Sharp etc but what protected goaltending was a solid defense and grit.  This team took a big step back in the grit department and while I don't argue they won't be a top 4 seed next year, I think from experience this move might come back to bit them in the butt.  My hometown team was dominant in the East during the regular season but everyone that was knowledgeable about hockey knew we wouldn't make it far and that was because we lacked the toughness necessary to win those 16 games after the season ends.  Therefore, I'm a bit puzzled and I think this marks more the beginning of the end more than the beginning.  This team is is some cap hurt right now most noteably due to giving Campbell all that money.  No one wants him and the Hawks want to get rid of him, not a good combo.

Since: Oct 21, 2007
Posted on: June 24, 2010 8:19 am

'Hawks steal the show

I think Wes is a little off with his analysis on this one - and that doesn't surprise me one bit. It just gave him another opportunity to take shots at the Blackhawks, which is one of his favorite pasttimes.

Yesterday's trade is hardly a blockbuster. Byfuglien is not even close to being a star in the league as he was rarely heard from during the regular season. If the Blackhawks had traded one of their elite players - Kane, Toews, Hossa, Keith, Seabrook - THEN you could say it was a blockbuster. All this move does is help them with their salary cap troubles - no more, no less.

In my opinion, it was just another NHL transaction that had no affect on what took place in Las Vegas, where the best of the best were honored. Congratulations to all the winners!

Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2010 4:18 am

'Hawks steal the show

Sorry, I thought I heard Ladd mentioned earlier, it was Sopel. Still, Sopel played tough as well. Hate to lose him. Probably Ladd and Madden are next.

Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2010 3:27 am

'Hawks steal the show

Yeah, after a 49 year wait I guess getting cocky comes with the territory but if you haven't noticed, the Hawks had trouble when Ladd was out with injuries, Eager was tough and gritty in the playoffs and what more do we need to say about Big Buff in the Cup run, and they're all about to be traded. I know we have to do it but I know those guys played big during the run so I hope Bowman has some guys coming up to fill those rolls. I don't want to wait another 49 years, I won't be around that long.

Since: Jan 12, 2010
Posted on: June 23, 2010 11:18 pm

'Hawks steal the show

yeah, Chicago is cocky. Cuz we're taking over for the next decade. Props to all the winners tonight. All deserving. All great players. Dont rip on Patrick Kane. The kid is 21 years old. Of course hes gonna be sippin on some champagne. He just scored the Stanley Cup winning goal!!..And should celebrate a few more before he's 30. YESSSIRRR CHITOWN BABY

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