Center of the storm?

With a few days off from work, I have been obsessing over this center
thing and as we all know, too much time on my hands is fertile ground
for the creation of bad analogies. Without a solid second line center,
Hossa seems kinda like a Rolex clock radio. You see the quality just
looking at, it tells time like nobody's business and really rocks when
you drop in some euro thrash metal CD. In the right room, it's
functional, stylish and aesthetically pleasing but it's also a bit
handcuffing. Once you buy it and take it home and plug it in, you are
pretty much stuck with decorating around it or it stands out as that
thing you bought simply because you could (sorta like my new skates).
No matter what the Hawks do, Hossa is still going to be useful and do
some cool things with the puck. But with the price tag he has attached
to him, the Hawks need to see more goals out of him and I don't think
this is going to happen until they find a solid guy to center for him.

The Sharp as center thing seemed to work reasonably well, but the
Hawks really don't seem wedded to that idea. Also, looking around the
internet there seems to be a pretty fair amount of comments suggesting
that Sharp really doesn't want to be that center guy and as we all
know, if it's on the net it's unquestionably true. As an aside, if they
can finally figure this out and we have the first and second line
centers fixed, I think Q's line juggling becomes less of an issue and I
like Sharp at wing. A big debatable question is whether Bolland can be
that second line guy. I honestly don't know if he can be that guy, but
as a shut down guy he has excelled. Hossa is a two way player but the
reality is that he was brought here for offense. Between Hossa and
Bolland you have a great skill set, but I just don't think it's a
complimentary skill set for what you want to accomplish. Besides, if
the Hawks move Bolland up, I then think they are stuck as they would
then need to go out find a shut down guy. Madden in this role is
intriguing. But, at his age, I don't think he can be that shutdown guy
night in and night out for a full season that would hopefully include
an extra quarter season playing for the cup.

In house, I don't know that the Hawks have the guy that can either
step up and play second line or step up and play third effectively.
Just looking at numbers, I like what there is on McNeill. I haven't
seen a ton of stuff saying he is ready to go right now but most
accounts I have read say that if nothing else he is close and should
make it in the bigs. Then there's that Kruger kid and the jury really
needs to deliberate a little more before passing judgment on him. He
seems to have some nice hands but as we complained about with Campbell,
he doesn't have size. On paper, I like what there is on Danault as
well. But my outlook is kind of like this, if these guys are not ready
to come up play at where you project them to play, are you doing their
development a disservice by playing them in fourth line roles? In a lot
of cases I think you are. Also, there is the issue of burning off a
year of entry level contract just to take a risk and see if the kid can
produce. A lot of people don't care about starting the clock, but in a
cap world I'd rather see the kid come up when he's as ready as he's
going to be before starting that clock. Until prospects and pre season,
I don't think we are really going to have any idea what these kids look
like and that brings up the question of what to do in free agency.

Laich was the guy I was really kind of looking at and I thought he
would look good with Hossa but he reupped. Looking around at different
writers speculations and parsing SB quotes, it doesn't seem like the
Hawks are in the hunt for Richards and honestly, I'm kinda glad about
that. With his talent and experience, he should be looking at serious
money and a long term deal. If the Hawks really feel like they have
something in one or more of these kids, then I don't think you lock up
a long term guy unless it is someone like Laich who is still on this
side of 30. To me the question has started to become, Can the Hawks
find a decent center that perhaps is a little older but can do a decent
job for a year or two, or can they find a guy who is not currently
second line but that might fit with Hossa anyway? Some names below the
level of Richards include Marcel Goc, Madden, Jason Arnott, Tomas
Fleischman and some dude named Kopecky who won a couple of cups (I kid,
but he is listed on one site as a center). Without a qualifying offer,
Tyler Kennedy could be in the mix as well. Luckily, I'm not in SB's
shoes, but my thinking is to look for the guy who is reasonable for a
shorter deal  or look to trade for a center who might have a breakout
year with some good talent to play with like Hossa.

Admittedly, I tend to watch non Hawks games a little more passively
with respect to really knowing other players that aren't near the top
of their position, so I'll hang up and listen to your responses.

WARNING:  ALERT and LOOK OVER HERE!
At sometime tomorrow night, around 9 p.m or so, Chicagonow will be moving from the current format of Movable Type and into Wordpress.

What does this mean for you, the reader?
-First of all, the layout will be very different, resulting in an aesthetic change.
-The subscriber list will not move over which mean that you will not be getting alerts after our move and for the near future.
-User names will change. However, all user profile pages are being eliminated. You will have to recreate a few things, sorry. Note: for user pics you have 2 options. Either you can login to Facebook in which case your Profile Pic will attach to the account. OR, you can go to Gravatar.com and set up an account with the email address attached to their ChiNow account
-You will be getting an update from ChiNow shortly after the launch of Wordpress.

puckpow.jpg

Sorry for the inconvenience that this may have caused, but I do feel that the move will be a productive one.
And as always, thanks for reading.

Comments

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  • PPW, I appreciate all your deep thought here. But I'm a little worried about you.

    There's a bunch of character guys out there for the taking. Montador, Jovanovski, Yandle, Kaberle, Hamrlik, and good ole Wiz on D and I wouldn't mind seeing Brandon Dubinsky in a Hawks sweater. Might we see Sopel again? Could Andrew Ladd be enticed to come back for his 3rd Cup attempt? Not likely for Winnipeg anytime soon.

    And a helmet tip to Eddie Belfour for his induction to the Hall. Too bad Jeremy Roenick couldn't go in with him this year.

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    Oops, my apologies. Just realized it's Vegas as the author here. Still worried you've been in the desert sun?

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    106 here right now, little hot to be out in the sun. I'm getting tan just sitting inside!

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    This comment from Brouwer pissed me off and shows the selfish mindset of most overpaid athletes:

  • In reply to oneteam:

    Wow. I am a bit shocked at that. Brouwer always seemed so poised during interviews. Guess he isn't too happy about his getting traded.
    The Hawks had absolutely no cap space left to start the 2010-11 season. How could they have done anything else? Everyone knew what was coming and every move was expected.

    Im sure that Brouwer has some frustration over not exactly being put in the situation to play his "best " hockey which would have included more offense and less hitting I assume. He did what was asked of him and he was moved to another team anyway. But, at least he gets to play on a team which will be in contention for the Cup. These types of things are just the reality of being a pro athlete.

  • In reply to oneteam:

    Indeed, for a few dollars less, but the entire quote is here:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/hockey/blackhawks/chi-exhawk-brouwer-sad-to-see-cup-champs-dismantled-20110628,0,3787380.story

    Clearely he was frustrated by the way he was coached and clearly he admits it affected his game. Regardless, the jury's still out on what becomes of this move. How much he signs for, and who SB replaces him with

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Like I said, Im a bit surprised by Brouwer's statement, but not by his trade or the fact that him and the team have had frustrations with Q's line-juggling.

    In all my years of hockey, I have never been on a team that benefitted from constant changes. This sport is a lot about chemistry and I hope we have seen the end of that card being played. I have never been quiet about my distaste for many of Q's on ice decisions.

    To Brouwer, it sucks, but you knew it was coming and you have to take some responsibility for not scoring in your last 20 games. I also think you will find success in Washington so heres to that happening. These moves are often not personal yet often about money.

    Im a fan of SB's moves so far and I also think they benefit everyone in the end, well except for the Kopecky move. Im still not seeing the point in that one. Maybe it was a favor to Dale for taking Campbell.

  • Well, I finally got over here to the new digs. Like the old one better but won't stand in the way of progress. Be nice if you could edit too. Not complaining—yes, I am.

    Anyway, so the 'hawks trade for the rights and then sign Montador for 4 years at 11 mil. 2.75cap hit. What do you think this means for Campoli?

    Montador is a solid defender with some grit and edge to him. Good signing.

  • What it means for Campoli is that the leverage he thought he had with Campbell leaving has just gone down considerably. Interestingly, Montador's numbers look a lot like Campbell's from last year. I still believe we have no way to rate this until the season starts. The guy I now wonder about is Leddy. Is third pair really in his best interest? 4 years is a little longer then I would like to see, but I guess that's not too horrible as long as he stays healthy. Overall, I'm ambivalent to this trade right now. I see good and bad with it. People wanted to see a little size and grit on the back end and it looks like Stan found some.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    Well, we can look at it as we have two warm bodies, one of which we know for certain can play—Montador—for less than what Campbell was costing us. I agree, Vegas, no way to judge until the games begin. So now we have replaced Kopecky and Campbell and gotten bigger in and grittier in the process. That's ok with me so far. Now, to replace TB …

    As for Campoli, well I guess they sit back and wait for an Offer sheet—if one materializes—or they can accept the QO. I'm not sure how this works but can he take them to arbitration?

  • Report: Blackhawks sign defenseman Montador

    The Blackhawks reportedly have signed Steve Montador to a four-year, $11 million contract, beating a Friday deadline that would have made the defenseman an unrestricted free agent.

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    I just saw the poll on the side of this page. Rather than getting "I can't believe we lost his energy for a bag of pucks" we got a veteran 2nd line defenseman who plays the PP and PK. Now Campoli.

    Can't wait to see what happens tomorrow. Maybe the Hawks get Selanne! Ha ha ha. Now that my #1 prediction came through here's my next one. Tomorrow SB locks up Dubinsky.

  • I know, I know. Change is good and is my friend.

    Seems like half the blog page is now ads for stuff on chicagonow. Just wonderful. Question for anyone in the know; is there a way to change the order of comment posting? i.e. To "oldest first" from "latest first"

    BW

  • Looking at the wiki breakdown, I get the impression Campoli could file for arbitration. However, once he starts that process he is not able to sign an offer sheet. I'd like to see the Hawks come out of tomorrow with a center at a reasonable price (wouldn't every team right?) But by the same token, I don't think it's a good thing if the Hawks are at the cap by the start of the season.

    I'm going to be obsessed at work tomorrow trying to scam news. time to go suit up for the mighty Thursday night Black Team which has made a surprising jump from outhouse to second place this quarter. Local fans are complaining VHF is not playing up to his full ability.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    LOL, too much time spent writing blogs and responding to anonymous posters on some blog which originates 1000 or so mile away eats up those valuable carbs. Carbs you need in order to reach peak performance. HH, needs to bench you for a bit or demote you. A stint in the minors will often work wonders. Have a good game.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Why do you think I have a picture of skates for an avatar instead of my rounder physique. I have no shortage of stored carbs. LOL

  • Well, work was overstaffed today so I get an extra day off

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