CHICAGO (FOX Chicago News) -
On July 1, 2008 The Blackhawks made a huge splash in the hockey world and signed free agentdefenseman Brian Campbell. The cost for Campbellwas steep, an eight year contract with an approximate $7.1 million salary cap hit per season. This was a bold move and was done for a couple of reasons.
The Hawks were becoming arelevant sports story again in 2008 and the resurgence was due in part tomarketing guru John McDonough who was hired in November of 2007. Shortly after McDonough arrived there were rumblings the Blackhawks would pursue Campbell.
Back then the word goingaround indicated two main reasons the Hawks desired to sign Campbell.
First they wanted to make abig splash to let fans and players around the league know the Blackhawks wanted to be serious Stanley Cup contenders. Up until then free agents often shunned Chicago and when they didsign here a bad team premium had to be paid. Campbell was in the right place at the right time in a soft free agent market and GM Dale Tallon had a fat check book.
Campbell was also viewed as avaluable on ice commodity as he fit into the fast paced, transition game theHawks sought. No doubt Campbell was overpaid but he became animportant member of the Stanley Cup winning squad. What may have begun as amore of marketing/media splash worked out on the ice as well.
Now rumor has it the Hawksare very interested in upcoming UFA defenseman Ryan Suter. This sounds very similar to the Campbell whispers aroundin late 2007 and the summer of 2008. Rumblings indicate the Hawks want to makeanother big splash and blow away some of the stink that has surrounded thefranchise this summer.
There is bad optics toovercome, starting with Patrick Kane’s shenanigans and a front office mentioned to be in disarray on Canadian TV. So farthis must be a spring from hell for McDonough who has to be concerned with preserving the image of his resurrected Blackhawks.
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