Blackhawks Confidential

Tallon deserves credit, not criticism

Dale Tallon.jpg

Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon has kept his team in the headlines this past week.  Some good, some bad.  Whether it be "big name" free agent signings or NHL investigations.  The importance is that the Blackhawks have regained enough relevance to cover the entire front page of the Chicago Tribune sports section on Sunday, July 5th.

While the 4th of July in Chicago may have felt a little like autumn, the Blackhawks are still a couple months from lacing up the skates.  Yet, every move the Hawks organization makes is being watched very closely.  Well, more like every licked stamp and sealed envelope.

It what may turn out to be much ado about nothing, the NHL has completed it's investigation of the Blackhawks possible mishandling of qualifying offers to their restricted free agents.  Now we sit and wait to see if the NHLPA files a grievance or the issue dies.  My bet is the issue dies.  Why?  Because players want to play in Chicago.  Who has helped make that happen?  Dale Tallon.

Tallon has been able to recruit the top free agents on the market the last two seasons.  Chicago is now a destination point for the top talent in the NHL.  Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough have also played a role in the resurrection of an Original Six franchise.  But, Tallon deserves the credit for constructing a roster full of players that other stars want to join.  And, he has done so by utilizing every tool at his disposal - the draft, trades and free agent signings.

Now, in some circles, Tallon is being vilified for a possible minor clerical error.  In the end, the Blackhawks may be in the wrong and face a small fine from the NHL.  These situations are not that rare in pro sports, mostly because a majority of front offices are filled with ex-jocks.  They are trained athletes, not trained businessmen.

The story becomes bigger if the players in question start demanding to be unrestricted and free from Blackhawks' control.  If that where the case, we would certainly hear about it.  I, for one, have not heard a peep.

In truth, Tallon should be flattered that this is even a story.  A couple seasons back, who would have cared.  Why kick a man when he's down?  Now, Tallon is viewed as a success and word of a possible failure is deemed newsworthy.

There will be plenty to disagree about with Tallon in the future.  There are too many obstacles in his journey ahead.  I'd just rather judge him on his actual job duties, not his clerical skills.

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2 Comments

p.pilote3 said:

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Mark i was luck enough at last years convention to have a half hour talk in the bar with old hero Phil Russell.The few stories he told of Bob Pulford we mind boggling in a bad way.My ? is if Dale had Pully as a mentor and these stories Russell are true.Woulnt it be better to have Stan take the job and have Scotty as has been the case his mentor.At one panel at the convention Dale said he dosnt make a move without talking with STAN!That made no sense to me,he is saying in public the Stan is his equal right?I bring up the Pully part cause we all learn from are mentors so Dale may have a screwed up thoughtt.Pully let Roenick,Belfour,Chelly,Secord,Ruskowski,Thomas,Sullivan,Nylander.....go right? Just wondering Thanks

Mark Kiley said:

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I believe Dale was acknowledging Stan's role in the organization as an important one. In a way, Stan is in a more precarious position than Dale. Stan is widely known as the money man in the organization. If his calculations are wrong, then the Blackhawks risk not being able to keep the young core together. If that happens, Dale would ultimately take the heat, but Stan would not have clean hands, either. I will have to believe that Dale is comfortable with the the current work structure because he has never stated otherwise in public.

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