Teravinian, or is it Taravanien, I think Teravainen, and Hjalmarsson.

Teravinian, or is it Taravanien, I think Teravainen, and Hjalmarsson.

The Chicago Blackhawks picked up a not so large winger who doesn't mind playing center with great hands and vision, surprise. They are also shopping Hjalmer along with his buddy Montador. Here are some thoughts on the recent news surrounding the Blackhawks roster.

With the news that Jordan Staal just turned down a 10 year offer from the Pens, and boy isn't he exactly the player for the Hawks right now, possible trades are starting to buzz around the NHL. Unfortunately for the Hawks, Staal seems interested in only going to a few places and in big money contracts.

It wasn't too long ago that Hjalmarsson was a part of building a better future for the Hawks, but it would seem that he and fellow defensemen Steve Montador are being shopped. Much as we speculated after the news about Oduya's signing, SB has deemed Hjalmer no longer useful to the Hawks future and system, whatever that is. It also says that the Hawks are backing Leddy and believe he has more to offer us next year.

While I understand the reasoning, I think it is a shame. The Hawks might be making the wrong move, and that would not surprise me a bit if it is. It seems as though the Hawks are getting pretty good at that lately. My personal opinion is that Leddy was really bad last year, and If I had to choose, Hjalmer is the guy I would be backing. Unfortunately, like so many other Hawks post Cup, Hjalmer has had 2 less than pleasing seasons, but so has Kaner, and a bunch of other players.

When on his game during the run for the Cup, I saw a great stay at home defenseman whom the Hawks were in great need of. It looked as though he might even have the stuff to make a run at being the top defensive player on the team. This still might be in him. And, the idea of having Seabrook, Oduya, Keith, and Hjalmer make up the top 4 is not a bad thing, if everyone plays to their abilities, and knows their expectations.

Hjalmer is a very positioned player, and he takes up a lot of the ice with his skating style and active stick. His slump after the Cup could, and should be justified by the price Hjalmer often pays to make a play, which was pretty often when Campbell was unwilling to do the same. But, Campbell's puck moving ability also allowed for Hjalmer to play his game. Leddy never came into his own, and Hjalmer was hung out to dry by bad positioning and team play this past season. Plus, a bad hit seemed to curb his physical presence until late in the season, which is a shame, because he might be the hardest hitting player when he gives himself to that part of his game.

Essentially, I see a player who has much more to offer, as I do with many other names on the team. Bad team play has left him out to dry, followed by inconsistent coaching. Why Hjalmer is the one being shopped even though the Hawks defense is hurting so much, has me second guessing the whole idea. Quite frankly, the Hawks will be in terrible need of a shot blocker, because he is one of the best in the league, and our goaltending doesn't exactly boast a great save percentage currently.

On Montador: it would surprise me that another team would be willing to take Montador when his health has so many questions around it. If he is healthy, which is the only way anyone would take him, why aren't the Hawks giving him more of a clear look? He is aggressive, can move the puck well, and has a good shot. Sounds like what the Hawks are in some need of. Again, I am more sold on him than I am on Leddy currently.

Unless the Hawks are getting ready to make a large play for a big named defenseman, it all seems a little scary. And then, the Hawks will most likely end up with a lot of money being tied up in one D-man, which is Campbell all over again.

No need to fear though, because as the heading makes mention to, the Hawks picked up another Patrick Kane, and we all know how well that is going right now. Or, maybe he is Kane's replacement? Patrick better take notice. Actually, in all fairness, picking Teranainen up, and so late in the draft was a pretty great thing. He is young, but shows a lot of promise, and at only 17 years of age, might grow an inch or 2, which could make him a highly sought after player in a couple of years, which will most likely be about how long it takes to see him in a Hawks sweater.

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  • I'm all for a trade if it addresses some of the deficiencies surrounding this roster. That's not to say that Hjalmer should be the one but, his price point is attractive and he will probably fetch a decent return. I don't think he'll be traded unless they have another D man lined up through (the) trade or through FA.

    Hjamler has been Q'd. He has not been the same player since Q got hold of him, and I might go out on a limb here and say he's another example of Q ruining a player. There's theories out there that ever since his suspension he's softened his game— a typical Q outcome. He also got a new contract after the cup win and now he's lost his partner in Campbell.

    In the larger picture, is Keith the same without Seabrook, Suter without Weber, Bolland without Havlat? Chemistry has something to do with it and I think Hjalmer has not found that with Leddy or any other partner on the roster. With the signing of Oduya there's a lot of cash tied up in 4-5-6 D men. Something's gonna give. Leddy is not going anywhere and they may be looking for someone to play with him. Keeping the six D they currently have does nothing to address the lack of physical play in front of their net. Same D equals same results. No thanks.

    Nobody (in their right mind) will take Montador and if he's healthy I suspect he's your 5-6 D man. Maybe they send him to Rockford for conditioning and bring up Olesz in a swap of wasted dollars.

    As for the first round draft pick, the 'hawks were lucky Teuvo Teravainen was still available. One has to wonder why he was though? I don't expect you'll see him in North America for 2 or 3 years at least. He's just a growing lad and this team will look a lot different when he does arrive. New coach and new GM for sure.

  • It seems like our hawks are trending pint size. Sorry, not fair. I see hammer as worthy of bringing someone decent in a trade, unlike Leddy, who is getting the kid gloves treatment after one disastrous defensive season. I like Monty. The guy is a beast, a component they desperately need, and is worth another season if he recovers from the head shot Zetterberg tagged him with.

    This will be an interesting few weeks. HH, if montador and hammer are gone, I truly cannot see where the hawks are going. A bunch of skating little guys. Q can't coach that kind of team and who the hell wants to watch 'em.

  • TT was a great grab. This kid is playing with boys much older and larger than he is now. Another year in that league, and then a year with the ice hogs and he might be ready in 2 years and most likely adds some inches and weight to his frame.

    I'm not sold on letting Hjalmer go, but I can see why they are. I have less faith in Leddy right now, but can see him as a 5-6 guy.

    I too liked some of what we saw from Monty after his early mistakes most likely do to being the new guy on the block.

    Again, as I have alluded to in previous posts, I get the feeling SB wants to go shopping for a goaltender, and gaining some cap room allows for it.

  • The classic John Coltrane Quartet recorded A Love Supreme in 1964. Less then a year later the same group, with some additions, recorded Om and I've never met anyone who said they actually liked that album. Though I will always consider the classic quartet to encompass what I thought was Trane's best work, I believe there was a clear peak within that period that declined as quickly as it rose. Nothing lasts forever, especially something that good.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    In 1977, the legendary jazz trumpeter Chet Baker recorded composer/arranger Don Sebesky's tune titled, "You can't go home again".

    In 1982, Donna Summer (yes, that Donna Summer) recorded the Billy Strayhorn classic jazz standard "Lush Life".

    Indeed, time for the 'hawks to move on …

  • What's going to dominate a lot of discussion prior to the season is the lack of trades that SB will make this summer, especially big ones. I can see an argument that SB should be willing to give away anything year after year to keep going all in. Looking at Philly, there is a GM who seems willing to take that approach and keep taking gambles each year. SB so far has shown that's clearly not his way of doing things.

    Overall, I think you need to keep evolving every year. This past season's team WAS better then the team the year before, but the result was the same. I don't watch a lot of other sports anymore to compare to, but in hockey, it now seems like teams adapt to other teams in weeks. Dominant as the Yotes turned out to be the playoffs, I believe teams will have an answer for that quickly this season. Going back to the Hawks of course, this takes us to Q who has shown an utter lack of willingness to change his approach on the fly. He changes his lines, as do all coaches, but otherwise, the Hawks have been very predictable.

    This isn't saying much by itself, but I believe the Hawks will have a better line up this season then last. But as we've seen for two years now, talent is not enough. Even if SB pulls a big trade, I'm not sure it accomplishes much if Q is not able to put that talent in a position to succeed. The ONLY thing I am really hoping for at this point is that Q truly believes he needs to do things differently. But in a similar vein, it's also on the core to come up with something different in the off season. For the most part, all of those guys have become very predictable in their approach to the game. Q can change what lines they play on, but if they keep dragging the same moves along with them, it's not going to do much.

    I'll always be optimistic at the start of the season, but for now, I kinda feel like not much of what I predict to happen for the rest of the summer will not likely change my mind one way or the other. We won't know what this team has until about two months into the season. Not that that's any deep insight.

  • Agreed, taking chances is not Bowman's way of doing things. His is more in line to the "a bird in hand" mantra. Problem as I see it, and I've said this many, many, times before is change is required because there is an organizational sense of complacency with having won the cup. This includes the players.

    Change for change sake can be a good thing unless it is taking two steps forward and one backward. Look at the youthful exuberance guys like Shaw and Hayes brought with them when they came up. You'd hope, and maybe it did for awhile, some of that would inspire the vets. Change is required because no matter how it is spun, Q will be the same coach as he ever was, and with each passing year his message is falling more and more on deaf ears. There needs to be a new sense of enthusiasm with the on-ice product and if that means a coaching change, I'm all for it, if it means a trade to improve the likelihood of that enthusiasm happening, I'm all for it. If it improves the team in any way, I'm all for it. If it means trading a core player, I'm all for it.

    Right you are about not knowing until the season starts how any changes will pan out—we were all guffawing over the changes last summer and look where that got the team. So like the draft, it is a crapshoot regarding finding the right mix, but if the recipe you have isn't working, change the ingredients.

    Just look at SJ and how they are slowly, very slowly, regressing. Half a step at a time that team is becoming older slower and less of a contender. My biggest fear if that the potential of the 'hawks' "core" will be wasted in a similar manner, so SB should maximize his opportunities today because there might not be a tomorrow.

  • I have been and am still without internet at home, which is wearing on my with every passing day.

    I have been wanting to mention the Luongo trade rumors for some time now, but since he is not waiving his trade clause to come here, or go to Toronto, the whole point is no longer meaningful.

    I had a feeling that SB was setting up to make a play for a new goaltender, but find it pretty amusing that Luongo was his first choice. It seems desperate and lets us know the truth about how the administration feels about their goaltenders. Luongo's talent and ability aside, bringing him here would most likely have been a bad idea, and thankfully, he felt the same way.

    I still think a new goaltender will be calling Chicago home by season's start.

  • HH, I listen to a Vancouver sportstalk show every night and last week just before the draft Lawrence Gilman the asst. gm was on and said that Luongo had not provided any list to the canucksand they hadn't asked him for one. So, I wouldn't rule it out of the question just yet. There's so much phooey out there it sets your head spinning.

    What is going on with Luongo is that Gillis will try to sign Schneider before trading him. I doubt he would be dealt to Chicago in any event. Just too much water under that bridge.

    As for grabbing a goaltender, maybe. Ottawa has three and Lehner or the behemoth Ben Bishop are available. I think it would be good for CC to have some serious competition at camp and we know Emery can't do it everyday.

  • Ah, Chicago, the new Montreal of goalie slash and burn. Should we just sign every goalie to a one year deal and get rid of them every year until we find goalie who goes a whole season giving up only 50 goals? I'm not sure what MASSIVE upside exists in getting rid of Crawford, especially if we have to give something up.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    Well, as we saw in the first round, a goalie can win a series. Crawford has had two kicks already at that can. Fail!

  • My take on the hawks goaltending is that finding a new one is a good course of action. CC is a player/goaltender that I have little faith in. He just doesn't have what other goaltenders have in this league. He can do it, but I have lots of doubt.

  • Smith won the series for the Yotes? I think the Kings made it very clear just how dependent he is on his defense. As an honest question, what do you think CC's numbers would have been with the Yotes in front of him? Personally, I enjoyed seeing Huet skate the cup around. If the team in front of CC decides to actually play some defense this year, I will be happy if he gets the chance as well. Since Niemi has left Chicago, he has been so bad at times that he actually earned a public call out from his coach.

    I will grant you guys this, if the Hawks remain a team that allows players to walk in an harass CC all night long, then yes, we need a better goaltender. Otherwise, I don't believe the major problems this team faces are on CC' shoulders. Further, without some commitment in front of him, changing goalies will be equivalent to turning up the radio to drown out a broken muffler.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    Yes, Smith won the series for the Yotes. The 'hawks peppered him game in and out. Quality shots, meh, but they put the biscuit on the net.

    The Kings did things differently. They pounded Smith physically and got in his face and eventually he wore down and so did the Yotes.

    Agree, no change in the D play this year equals no change in outcome. My personal opinion is Crawford is a guesser. Just a drop 'n' stop goalie who happens to get hit with the puck alot. All four of the goalies in the semis and finals were athletic. I much prefer that style of goaltending and I wouldn't shed a tear if CC were dealt. Not happening with this regime, me thinks.

  • I can admit my bias, I think Smith is very overrated. That doesn't make Crawford, by default, better in comparison. Smith is an angry child who loses his shit when the team in front of him lets people get close to him. You said it all, the Kings did things differently and were the only team PHX faced that was willing to pay the price to drill through the Yotes sandbag approach to defense and get in Smith's grill. As for the Hawks getting shots on net, I would agree, Meh. They teed up a ton of crap that Smith saw from miles away. Even Crawford will stop enough of those kinds of shot to win the game. Mind you, he will still let in some weak ones, but he will stop enough to keep you in the game.

    I certainly would not be distraught if Crawford were traded, but I just don't have faith it's the big thing holding the team back. Do we want to take that risk of buying another five million dollar goalie? On being athletic, that's a point that's hard to dispute and on some podcasts, I've heard it suggested it's the Hawks coaching that's pulled him away from playing that way. I honestly don't know.

  • Yup, Smith lives in glass houses. I agree he's totally overrated, just got hot at the right time. That's why he's changed addresses a few times.

    It wouldn't surprise me if CC was coached to play drop 'n' stop. It would be in line with the way the team plays. Never sacrifice positioning to make a play or a hit, or in his case a save.

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