Bowman must make a deal sooner than later

Bowman must make a deal sooner than later

Even with the Blackhawks' nine game losing streak over, thanks to a 4-2 win in Madison Square Garden over the Rangers Thursday and a 6-1 win in Columbus Saturday, General Manager Stan Bowman would be wise to make a deal sooner than later.

The NHL's trade deadline is Monday, February 27th, but Friday, some of the chips began to fall.

It's no mystery that the Blackhawks need to add at least one quality defenseman, and one top six forward...preferably a center.

Available defensemen have already started to fall. The Philadelphia Flyers acquired Nicklas Grossman from Dallas on Friday, and all signs point to them acquiring Pavel Kubina from Tampa Bay tonight. Closer to home, the Nashville Predators bolstered their already excellent defense with the addition of Montreal's Hal Gill.

A high ranking source inside the Blackhawks told me last week that, "The GM needs balls to make (a) move". Bowman seems to be getting a reputation as a little gun shy. Well, he can't afford to be here. While the recent "streak" of wins takes some of the immediate pressure off of Bowman, the longer he waits, the more available defensemen join other teams.

That can't happen, especially with their next four games against St. Louis, Detroit, Dallas and Los Angeles. This stretch is where the season can be won or lost. Lose two or three of those games, and the Hawks could be in big trouble.

Bowman better not let two little wins ease his mind. The Blackhawks still need help...a lot of it. The rest of the Western Conference may not be as patient.

Hot Stove Notes:

On tonight's edition of Hockey Night in Canada, CBC's panel of Eric Francis, Glenn Healy, and Elliotte Friedman discussed Patrick Kane's future with the Blackhawks. Every panelist agreed that Kane will not be traded. Healy said it would be a huge mistake to let the winger go. He's happy in Chicago, and the Hawks are happy with him. Forget those Ryan Miller trade rumors you've heard. Kane is going nowhere, and the experts agree.

As for Rick Nash, the Blue Jackets are asking for a package of an impact player that can help them now, two top prospects and a first round pick. The Flyers seem to be the front runners, but if Columbus sticks to their guns, a deal may not happen until the offseason.

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