The Talent (and heat) is Too Damn High!

The Talent (and heat) is Too Damn High!

And I'm bored. Sooo whatta we got? Well, at the party of free agency, the Hawks noodled with some big names who ultimately went home with other partners. It happens. Then, in an effort to make his home team jealous and to ensure he got a cut of what Parise left behind, Broduer apparently flirted openly with the Hawks before kissing and making up with the Devils. Mission accomplished Marty. Now, after several strike outs, the Hawks are apparently trying to convince themselves that Doan is the type of guy they wanted all along and that he will most help the team. As a guy who has been both the pathetic loser and horrified onlooker of some other tool endlessly striking out while looking for a hookup, I am suggesting to SB that it's time to leave the party before doing something he regrets. At the least, I think it's time to stop begging  and focus on the plan that is luckily, in my opinion, becoming the path of least resistance. That path is sitting back and waiting to make a trade.

While I appreciate the skill of the players the Hawks were pursuing, I did not believe that any one of them was a game changer for the Hawks. This team is stocked with enormous top end talent. It's like bringing sand to the beach or hiring more guys to work on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. While it may have helped here and there, the problems with integrating even more talent into Q's nebulous system of using only 12 players on any given night would have filled columns here for weeks. Since that particular problem likely wasn't solved, I kinda wonder what SB was trying to do and who was pushing for each particular player. In Minnesota, Parise and Suter will be the pieces that team is built around. Arguably, that situation already exists on the Hawks with the core. However, SB has yet to really bring in complementary players and Q has yet to come up with a system that puts them in positions to succeed. So what's next? I've said this in various ways before, but the sum of this team is not better then it's parts. One solution would be to fire Q and bring in a new coach. I like parts of that solution, but it doesn't address what I think is the bigger problem which is that THIS year is the year that SB needs to do something to re-balance this team.

Much has been said about Stan holding on to his "prized picks" and admittedly, he's made some nice ones so far. Still, with a growing pile of players with projected "big upside", it's not like the Hawks are drafting to fill third and fourth line roles. Which is where they seem to have some enormous need for solid and reliable players. Arguably, I would say they need that kind of balance up top as well and a second line center would be nice. But, if SB really wants to move forward this year and even set up the team for beyond what is probably Q's last year, I say the time is now to break loose with some talent to get better depth in return. While Stan has been chided for being tight fisted with his picks, I feel a need to chide meat heads who believe we can package Bickell, Stalberg and Montador and get back Plekanec and Suban in return. What I think needs to happen but that will be protested with outrage is to trade what seems like higher value in return for the kind of low line solid players who will truly give Q the ability to run four lines like he was able to in the cup run. While, I'm chiding meat heads, just a reminder, Toews, Kane, Sharp, Keith, Seabrook, Oduya and Montador all have some form of no move contracts. That doesn't make them untouchable for trades, it just makes it tougher.

Right now, I think the Hawks have made themselves look a bit desperate in a summer when there are several teams who should rightly be showing more desperation then the Hawks are. The Wild have become a playoff team, the Kings will basically re ice the same team that won the cup, but looking around the Western Conference, I see several teams who will not be better next season and one or two teams (cough, Preds, cough Wings) who have some real work to do. Considering Stan has stood pat and/or been rejected, I think it's time to step back and focus on what he has in house. I'm not hoping for another wasted season while prospects develop, but for now, I think it's time to let the season start and let other teams start to assess what they need, especially teams that have some legitimate, established players who will come in know their role.  This isn't rocket science, but til now, SB has tried to get this done in free agency. And failed. It would be nice to see a trade before the season starts, but for now it doesn't seem like teams are putting much out there...if blog rumors are to be believed anyway. Right now, everything is Too Damn High!

 

 

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  • Who is that dude and why is he wearing gloves?

    Great analysis, Vegas, and in my books, one that is bang on.

    When dealing from a feeling of despair or disappointment at a season gone wrong it is easy to fall victim to the line of thinking that says one player will make a big difference. I didn't hold out a lot of hope for Parise and Suter, and I don't for Nash or Doan. The problem here— as you allude to— is there are already too many premier players in the core group. These FAs aren't chasing money, that's a given. They're chasing the opportunity to be go-to guys and impact players. On the 'hawks there is not enough ice to go around with such a top-heavy roster. Every athlete want's to make a difference. No room for that in ChiTown.

    In truth though, there's an organizational failure that's reflected on the ice and I suppose this can probably be said about any team that struggles. SBs inability—and I'm not saying he didn't try—to identify key role players who were not past their best before date, and Qs stubborn insistence on showing SB that he failed by overplaying the top 10 players game in and out. Q also has stuck by his system—and I'm told that is a puck possession system—which may have worked post-lockout, but seems to be "noodling" now that the rules are slipping back to the pre-lockout dead puck era. So you're bang on, the team was out of sync for most of last year. If anything, I think SB should now realize that role players are not simply plug 'n' play bargain bin budget players. That they are, in a sense, the roots of the tree, the foundation of a well-built house.

    Has SB experienced satori though? Based on their reported FA activity to date, I say no. Brookbank is a small piece for sure, but many others who could have made a difference (IMO) have put pen to paper elsewhere. While there are a few FAs still out there who could contribute with the 'hawks, one has to deduce that SB is working out specifics for trades and is not going to spend much time scouring the bargain bins. This is ok with me so long as he carries it through and does pull the trigger. No single move of any consequence by SB will instantly make this team a contender again if Q does not alter his game plan. It will have to be a collective effort to improve the outlook for 2012/2013.

    On Doan and Luongo. While there's a lot of speculation that the 'hawks are in BIG on Doan, I'll believe it when I see it. Doan will sign elsewhere, or stay in Phoenix if the yotes do. Luongo would be a big help to this team, and I think the 'hawks have the best shot here. They just can't overpay.

    If Kane is to be the number 2 center then they need a body like Doan to enable him to succeed. I still think they need more weight on the back-end too.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    On this puck-possession system thing. There is merit here, but it requires more than just saying "puck-possession."

    Obviously, a team that has the puck more than the other team has a better chance of winning, and also, getting more shots on net.

    I would like to extend that idea of a "system" by saying that the Hawks need to be (based on their current roster) a team that wins games in the neutral zone, which will begin with a strong transition game. The Hawks had a bad transition through much of last season, which was caused by bad positioning, defensive coverage by both the forwards and D, and lack of communication.

    I believe, that many games are won or lost in the middle of the ice, and I know have some stats to back it up, thanks to a writer on the internet who is statistic happy. I also believe, that the Hawks can be dominant over other teams in this area. It is all about how you enter and leave the center of the ice. More on this later.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    In the cup year the 'hawks had a lot of puck possession because they were hard on the puck in all three zones with all four lines. For me, a good offense starts with strong offensive zone forecheck and for much, if not all, of last year they did not play dump and chase hockey. When you're hard on the puck you win the battles, and you have the puck more. SB has dismantled the "forecheck" on this team by necessity and has not come close to getting that back. This is where change is needed for the 'hawks to move on in the playoffs. The role players …

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    This is true, and just another reason why trading Stalberg would be a bad idea.

  • That dude is Jimmy McMillan, founder of The Rent Is Too Damn High party in New York. Why he's wearing gloves, I'm not sure.

    You make a great point about the steady shuffle back to dead puck era hockey. And for teams that don't draft well or can't pay up for talent, this is the way to go. And it certainly trips up teams where the Talent Is Too Damn High. With the investment in talent across the league, I believe it will stop before reaching true dead puck proportions. Still, if you are a team like the Hawks, you've got to do something to try and get back in synch.

    There might still be a find or two in free agency, but if what you suggested is true between Q and SB, I'm afraid that more rental players will only bolster Q to keep overplaying the core. I've been more inclined to give SB the benefit of the doubt over the last two seasons but I really think he's got to pull the trigger this year. For as much as Q over relies on his core, I think the core players rely a little too much on themselves as well. If Q keeps forcing the issue by only playing ten guys and SB can't fire Q, then I think his only choice left is to take away another one of Q's toys and try to get at least two solid but lower line players who are not, as you say, past their use by date.

    I wouldn't lose my mind if Doan or Luongo came here, but I'm hoping it doesn't go that way.

  • Agree, I wasn't saying rental players per se but now that I look at it that's pretty much what's left out there after Doan and Semin.

    There's a great risk involved in signing Doan and the 'hawks would have to eat a lot of salary if something goes awry. Doan is over 35 so any contract he signs will be on the books no matter what the outcome, injury or early retirement. See also: Pronger, Chris

    If the 'hawks are in BIG on Shane they'll have to be in really BIG and that includes term. Otherwise he stays out west. So, for me, Luongo is a better option, except they'll have to part with more than the usual gaggle of under-performers who get mentioned in trade discussions. Luongo will retire after 5 or 6 years and his cap hit will dissolve away with him. In the end, both are players that make the team around them better.

    I'd like to see—no matter what his roster— Q roll the lines consistently and shy away from the line matchups, but that is a longshot at best. At the very least, he needs to co-operate with his roster this year and play everybody.

  • I love this post, and was going to say very similar things. There will be an add-on to what was said in a bit, which will touch on Doan (much of what FF commented on), Crawford (and Luongo as a result), and a little more.

    One of things you mentioned Vegas, and happens to be driving me crazy, is all those around the internet calling for the trading of Stalberg. There just isn't enough ways to say what a dumb idea it is. Personally, I would much sooner see Kane get traded and for a great many reasons.

    I agree with some of the sentiment that Doan could really make Kane a solid #2 center. Plus, Doan is a solid 2-way player with grit. But, as mentioned, overpaying could tie SB's hands behind his back. Which I believe would lead to the eventual trader of Kane anyway, and it would come after a more productive year from Kane.

    I completely agree Vegas, the Hawks dodged a bullet by missing out on the Parise deal, and for the same reasons you gave. However, it was still exciting to think about, and it sounds like we were really close to having it happen.

    I can't believe that I am reading articles right now that talk about how much the Hawks are trying to bring Luongo over here, when the next one talks about how much the organization believes in Crawford. This could be trouble folks. I feel like the hole is being dug even deeper in both directions.

    The fact still remains, as pointed out over and over, that until Q either makes an overnight brain switch, or we find a new coach, the bulk of the problems we had will still be here come October.

    I would love to see Hjalmer have a career year though. Whether or not he is a Hawk at that time.

  • I really think the odds of landing Doan are slim to none. I do understand why management would be interested. But here's the thing with Doan. He's a cowboy first and foremost. He's a family man who has a spread in AZ. He loves horses. He also happens to be a wealthy hockey player, a good one, and a loyal one at that. It also happens that he part-owns the WHL's Kamloops Blazers along with Tom Gaglardi the owner of the Dallas Stars. He runs a charity golf tourney here every year. His wife is from Kamloops and he is currently building a huge house on an acreage nearby Kamloops. He also has a summer home at a lake less than hour from here. You don't build a house that size with the intention of living in it for 2 months of the year. There's no doubt he'll retire here. If the yotes don't stay in Phoenix my bet is he's headed to Vancouver, or to LA. Both are an hour away from home so to speak. Frankly, I don't think money means squat. At this stage of his career he wants to win it all and not upset his family. Fat chance of winning it all in Phoenix, but if they stay in the desert he will too. The 'hawks may be big bidders but I don't think it'll sway him. He stays in the west. Just my opinion …

    Luongo, gets a bad rap. He didn't lose the series' to the 'hawks or the Kings this year. Sure the guy has had a few meltdowns in big games but he's a definite upgrade to what we have and I'm always a believer in change of scenery being good for some players. I, in the minority to be sure, actually think there's better odds of getting Luongo than Doan. Gillis is asking too much right now but that price will come down soon enough.

    In the end, neither is likely to happen which, as I said above, leads me to think that SB is not going to sign FAs on the cheap this year and is not going to sign a player on the downside of his career. (Doan excepted). To me that means there's some trades coming, or it's going to be another long season of yo-yo hockey with little changing.

  • I'm betting that down the road, SB is going to look like less of the idiot he is accused of being. Looking at some of the contracts handed out this summer, Oduya does not look bad at all and for that matter, he was probably a guy on Detroit's plan B list. Compared to a lot of teams, the Hawks are a team that has nice assets that do not fit together the best. There's no player I want to see traded because I see them as a problem, but I feel like with very few exceptions, you have to be wiling to hear what other teams can offer for a guy.

    This is going to sound strange, but I think losing Carcillo early last year was a fairly big loss. His skill was not missed. His stupid penalties were not missed. But he was a role player whose role was not replaced. Could he have pushed a guy like Bickell? Could he have been a stabilizing force for Kane on the ice? I dunno. But I do remember that without him out there, Toews was getting worked over a lot, especially by teams like the Yotes and the Sharks. And Kane went quiet.

    Looking at the money dished out this summer, I am not overly disappointed in what SB has done. HH, you going to prospects camp?

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    I agree.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    Most likely not going to make it to camp. Too much else going on these days. It never ends.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    I will agree with SB not coming off as some sort of dolt for not rushing out and signing a bunch of mediocrity. He was smart in the sense that he went out a locked up his roster well before FA started. At least if he was going to make trades he knew what he had and prospective trade partners know what they are getting.

    The line about ChiHawk assets that do not fit together is a correct notion as well. There are underperformers to be sure, but to other teams they may well be significant additions. It's hard to tell what happens to some players like Frolik and Bickell once Q designates them as doghousers. The effect are visible when they play under his "system" but that's not to say they won't excel in another.

    Injuries are always the x-factor and I agree too that Carcillo going down was a roster spot that wasn't addressed. They went with Hayes, and Shaw, and now Shaw is likely to stick with the team. Hayes is a year or so away. Shaw was good but he's not Carcillo.

    When you look at who is coming up through the ranks, who is on the roster, what improvements need to be made, how much money you have to spend, what signings or trades you have to make, etc, it is easy to see that a GMs job is not an easy task.

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