Well, that's that

So, it looks like Kruger is signed and at what looks like a pretty good number to me. 1.325 for each of the next two years which leaves a cap space of 1.18 going into the season. Now that the Kruger contract is out of the way, I can't imagine there is anything left to do but wait and see which of the kids makes it up from Rockford to start the season. There may be a chance for more Bowman slobbering down the road, but I"m going to put some out there now. Much has been written about how little power Stan has, about how everything allegedly must go through a McD/Bowman Sr. vortex and how the dysfunction is so thick in the Madison front office that it's a miracle the lights are even on for games. I wonder how many teams wish they had the Hawks dysfunction this summer.

Admittedly, I don't have any connections and I don't have any idea what goes on behind the scenes in the Hawks front office. What I do know is that for the two seasons between the cups, there has been a lot of bitching and prognosticating by fans and bloggers who claim to have connections deep in the organization. Even as the past season unfolded, there was bitching that Stan was in fantasy land and was way overvaluing the talent he had on hand when he said, "These guys have earned the right to see it out". Not surprisingly to me, the prognosticators got it wrong. Luck, as always, plays a part and several moons lined up that may not have stayed lined up if we had a full season. Regardless, the Hawks were ready to play this past season and were the dominant team of the league. I still don't have any connections in the organization, but I'm going to assume that Stan gets to wear big boy pants and is allowed to be a GM like other GM's. With that in mind, I think he deserves enormous credit.

After the first cup, he was stuck with blowing up that team and dealing with bonuses earned by Toews and Kane, which totaled 5 million. All in all, I thought he did extremely well. I give Tallon all the credit in the world for building that team and for making Chicago a destination market after years of brutal futility wherein the Hawks were a pathetic organization. Tallon made a lot of good moves and it's undeniable that some of his moves are still paying dividends. Still, while some claim that Bowman has had the team "gift wrapped" for him, I think it's worth remembering how badly the Hawks sucked and how sucking so badly, and getting some enormous luck, allowed them to snag both Kane and Toews. On that score, Tallon was no less lucky then Bowman was subsequently. Still, while Tallon undeniably built the team that won, he also left behind a huge cap mess and here is where I start to give Bowman a lot of credit.

No one is happy, of course, with two first round exits and I will give some credence to Al Cimaglia's claim that the west was there for the taking in 11/12 and the Hawks may have had a chance to go deep if they went after a big name in free agency. I can't say I believe Bowman was visionary enough there to predict the team would be where it is today, but I do believe Bowman did have a plan and over two seasons and off seasons, he got rid of bad contracts, drafted well, developed some players and ultimately put his team in a position where they could win a cup and not be in a virtual cap hell that they were before. I think it is also worth noting that he is able to keep together the valuable pieces WHILE losing cap space. I can understand why people have bitched about him not getting big name free agents, but in light of the saga unfolding in NJ, I'm quite happy with what he's done. Cap management aside, I think it is also worth talking about chemistry. The players on this team fit well together and keep finding ways to win when everyone is convinced the opposing team has their number.

Not every decision is applauded and only time will tell If keeping Handzus and Kruger at the expense of letting Frolik go was a worthwhile call. Another decision that will definitely draw ire, if it happens, will be extending Q who is every bit as enigmatic and maddening as the Q of Star Trek. Still, rather then dissect Stan on a move by move basis, I'll wait to see the end result. Two cups in four years and first team to repeat in a cap world. Stan deserves a lot of credit.

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  • Frolik was a forth line player. Although we'll miss him on the PK, that's why you draft and develop his replacement(s) the way SB is doing. Not too concerned about letting Stalberg go either. Although he my well be one of the fastest skaters in the NHL, his production was basically non-existent. Overall I think SB deserves much credit for his moves over the last three years. Looking forward to seeing the Pirri, Smith, and Morin crew compete for jobs, as well as LeBlanc, Danault, and McNeill. Next season should prove interesting, if not entertaining.

  • First off, I am so happy that you made a reference to Q from Star Trek, perfect.

    Second, I am also a fan of Bowman, but thank you for giving the nod to Tallon.

    We all know how I feel about Q, but 2 Stanley Cups is hard to argue with, and understandable that he goes nowhere. Although, answering for the power-play is long overdue.

    I think the Frolik move was the wrong move. Frolik wasn't just good in the playoffs, and I am curious to see what happens to Kruger without Fro there. Plus, Frolik was destined to move up to at least the 3rd line this year. Like you said, just more prospects to look at.

    Pirri will get his shot at 2nd line center between Sharp and Hossa. I hope to see Q switch Saad and Hossa every once and a while.

    Danault is definitely the name to watch for though. He will most likely make an appearance at training camp, and what he does there could earn him some looks during the season.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    I honestly hadn't made that Q link in my head before, but the more I think about it, the more it kinda fits. You never know what he's gonna pull next. LOL

    I will be curious to see how Frolik does up in the peg and to see if he can re find his offensive game. I don't want to get all starry eyed yet into thinking the Hawks have become like the Wings in having the ability to recast and recycle players about to be thrown on a scrap heap, but I've seen some impressive things so far. Looking back at articles from the Skille for Frolik trade, SB was pretty vocal in hoping he would be a center for the Hawks. When that didn't pan out, they found something else for him to do and he embraced it. I don't believe Q is the reclamation project guy, but I am starting to believe that somewhere in the organization are people who are making it happen and that they are also responsible for helping a guy like Shaw find the success he has.

    I wish Frolik well and I really hope that the guys like Pirri are ready to go not only with skills but with the right attitude. As for your hope to see Q switch Saad and Hossa once in a while, this is Q we are talking about LOL. Those two will play at least one shift with every player by mid season. What I am going to start to be very curious about this year is when Q tries the move you and both want to see which is Hossa playing a third line shut down role. He still has second line skills IMO, but after this past cup run, this might be the year to at least start considering it.

  • Kyle Beach signed for a year. Put up or shut up season for the high draft pick. North Vancouver boy so I am pulling for him to get past the injury and get his head around whatever role he may be offered. Bollig with hands ?

    I was sorry to see Carcillo go as injuries kept getting in his way. Dumb penalties were down and was cheap grit with an upside. Kane and Toews could make a toilet plunger look good but I thought Carcillo was several levels past that. Wish him well in LA.

    Love the fact the Hawks are going to be younger and with competition for the open spots. I can see Bowman picking up another veteran centre, if the price and fit are right. Full season coming up.

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