Checking in on the Blackhawks and the NHL.

Checking in on the Blackhawks and the NHL.

Just checking in to make sure everyone is still awake and around. Not much has been happening in the world of hockey, but there is always something to talk about, or an old topic to beat into the ground over and over again. Let's see, there has been some talk about Leddy and future contract negotiations, there is the ever exciting conversations taking place between the NHL and Player's Association, PK Subban might be up for grabs, and Viktor Stalberg has become close buds with Hjalmer.

On Leddy: Many have made the argument that the Hawks should jump first by making an early offer to him before this season starts. Leddy will be up for contract negotiations less than a year from now and it would seem that many believe he should be in Chicago for an extended length of time.

There are two thoughts that occur to me here; one, that while I too saw great things in Leddy when he first arrived in Chicago, he has also produced some fairly awful results more recently, which has me guessing if the Hawks tainted his future or not. Two, offering him a deal now would be a gamble, but might also save a ton of cash if Leddy has the kind of year many want him to.

My opinion would be to make him a low end offer and see if he bites. If not, then let him prove his worth this year. No harm, no fowl.

The news surrounding the negotiations between the NHL and Players Association is filled with some optimism, but mainly sour thoughts. This is probably a product of our wonderfully exaggerated media, trying to cause drama when there really is none. I am on the optimistic side for this one. The fact, is that the NHL cannot withstand any kind of strike or failed start to the season. Hockey needs this deal to happen, and everyone knows it. There is still ample time to get the deal done, even though some are reporting the lack of a counter-offer from the union.

Besides seeing hockey resume as planned in the coming months, there are a few other things I would like to see happen. I am a fan of the talk around ending these ridiculous contracts. The length and dollar amount on some of these recent deals is going to hurt hockey if continued. I have always found satisfaction in knowing that the NHL had players who played for the love and not the money. I also have some fairly extreme views on what Pro Sports should do with all of the money it generates, which involves more giving back than giving to player's pockets, but I don't want to get into that right now, and it is not hockey's job to save the world (or is it?).

Speaking of ridiculousness and contracts, PK Subban has reportedly declined a first offer from the Habs. Like everyone else in Chicago, I started salivating at the news, until reality set in. I read a great article at Sports Illustrated , which offered some strong thoughts on the matter. The best points of this article state that the Habs will not let Subban go, and that RFA offer sheets suck in the first place. I agree on both points.

Absolutely, Subban is exactly what the doctor ordered in Chicago, but he is also crucial to the Canadiens game, and they know it. Some have even stated that rumor of the declining offer is just not true, saying that no official offer has been made. I would put more money on Luongo playing in an Indian Head sweater this year, but if it comes at the cost of Bolland I might start following Wolves hockey again.

Lastly, there is news that Stalberg has been enjoying his time off. And when there is little news, this is what makes it. In a recent interview, Viktor talked about taking time off in his home country with fellow Hawk Niklas Hjalmarsson. Viktor has stayed off of the ice for much of the time, and he plans to work mostly on his shot upon returning to it. What I like about this news is that it speaks to friendship within the team, which might be an overlooked factor, and it might be what the doctor ordered for both players. Both are players that can use an added dose of confidence, but have different things to prove. These are also 2 names that I anticipate big seasons from, and whom might have a large impact on the overall results of the club. Stalberg, and Hjalmer, along with Frolik of course are the players to watch closely from the start. Not just there personal play, but how well Q uses them too. They all have more than just the possibility of great production, and have all been mentioned in trade talk this off-season. They are the biggest wildcards in my opinion.


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  • Glad you posted this HH. I had actually started a piece on some thoughts of the CBA and stopped as it is hard for me to not stray into drawing parallels between the NHL and the real world. In short, I look at the owners and I really have no sympathy for them and in fact feel contempt. Because of the lockout, they got every stinking demand they wanted. And now, just a short time later, they are all pissed off because the same freaking teams who have a lot of money circumvent the cap with long term deals because they want to win. Hey, it worked for the Hawks right?

    So now, because the stupid owners and GM's have gone right back to creating stupid, expensive contracts, they AGAIN want the players to eat the cheese and give back more. And of course, the owners are crying poor mouth at EXACTLY the time that Bettman is raving about how much revenues are up and how well the league is doing. It's F'ing ridiculous. As in the real world, I see this problem in one way, the richest owners who are raking in the most cash want to use that cash to bury every other team out there. When they still fail, they then want a clawback from players so that they can go right back out there and do it all over again.

    As for the offer sheets, I think they are a punk move. While I may not like the sandbag, defensive styles of teams like Nashville and Phoenix, I heartily applaud them for working their ass off to both draft well and extract enormous effort from their players. To put out an offer sheet, in my opinion, is to say that you suck as a GM and want to buy what you can't create or make them too expensive for a small market team to keep them. I have some thoughts on Leddy, but that's enough rant for now.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    I hope that most of what we hear about is just smoke, because it is disenchanting and could spell disaster for the NHL. Greed is a terrible, terrible disease.

    I would love to here more of your perspective on the matter, especially given your history in the financial sector.

    With respect to Leddy, I see an interesting situation developing among the defensive side of the roster. We all know Crawford is a gamble. But, the Hawks currently have too many D-men buying for spots, and Leddy could very well find himself in the 6th spot or even watching from the bench. I personally believe in Hjalmer and expect him to find his groove again. With Brookbank added to the group, that would most likely make Leddy the 6th man in. Plus, there is Olsen and a few prospects showing promise in camp. Nothing can really be said until we see what training camp yields.

    The Hawks are a huge wild card this year. I see total failure, and huge success as reasonable futures, based on many different elements, including but not limited to coaching moves. This will most likely be the topic of a future post.

  • On Leddy, I believe they moved him along too quickly. This kid was 20 years old last year. In context, I think he did a great job. But, he is small, he got manhandled and his numbers reflect that. It's probably not going to sit well with people, but I just don't believe the team is going to say they were wrong and that Leddy is really a 6th defenseman. I said near the start of the last season that he is the poor man's Brian Campbell, and I still believe that, for the most part. Believe it or not, I think they should trade him.

    With the addition of Oduya, you now have essentially the same thing you already had in Hammer. Playing Hammer with Leddy didn't work that well and playing Leddy with Oduya was only a moderate improvement. But does it really make sense to have a Hammer Oduya line and then drop Leddy back 5-6 role with ten minutes or less of ice time a game? I just don't see it happening. Support for Leddy is not going to come until he has a bang up year, but after the team committed so heavily to him last year, I'm hard pressed to come up with a reason why it makes sense to punish him with reduced ice time that probably isn't going to make him a better player. To start the year at least, i tend to believe will be right where he was, for better or for worse.

    As for my views on the financial stuff HH, I feel it's near impossible to say what I feel without it coming across extremely political. This is probably self evident, but my experience in dealing with a fair amount of very wealthy people is that they truly believe they should not be held to any rule that interferes with what they want to do. But even better, they frequently have this attitude that since they are richer then everyone else, they are obviously smarter and therefore should be allowed to set the rules that everyone else lives by.

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