The post-mortem on Stan’s 2013 trade deadline has come in and some may see his performance as a premeditated attempt to an early exit in the playoffs. The reality was there were too many teams still in the race, creating a more stagnant deadline “frenzy”. After watching GMs overpay for role players and Bowman’s unwillingness to move younger prospects not named Beach, the outcome shouldn’t be surprising. This team is also better than past 2 years and appears to have good thing going.
Sure, adding some physicality into the lineup would have been nice but with addition comes subtraction so who do you remove from this 31-4-5 team? They just clinched the Central Division and have their sights on the Presidents’ Trophy. For the record, Victor Stalberg would have been my choice as he will command more money than Stan will want to pay this off-season.
There were a lot of rumours out there as the Hawks appeared to have the likes of Jagr and Streit on the radar. Michal Handzus was the only roster player that Bowman added. A player like “Zeus” is exactly what the doctor ordered and luckily it didn’t cost the Hawks Kyle Calder like it did in 2006 when the Hawks acquired the big Slovak the first time. Handzus has shown his worth so far with the Hawks, winning faceoffs and filling in nicely in a bottom 6/pk role. The question will be, is he enough?
Many players traded places leading up to and on deadline day and this blogger apparently traded places with Bill Cosby from Ghost Dad. You haven’t been able to see me but I’ve been here as I have been mentally preparing for this impending playoff run the Hawks embark on.
Speaking of trading places, not since the 2010 team have Hawks fans been this optimistic. Will this team be able to mentally trade places with successful the Stanley Cup team? That will be up to the core players who have been there to lead that charge. I know there’s no comparison as that was a special team and there’s no doubt that I’ve been vocal about the holes on this 2013 team, even during their impressive streak. Remember that streak the Hawks had once upon a time ago?
This Hawks team is shaping up for the playoffs however, and although there is room for an uneasy stomach envisioning playing a big, physical team like the Ducks, Kings or dare I say Bruins, there is still a lot to like:
- Bryan Bickell – even if he is throwing himself into the boards with a missed hit, it’s great to see him amping up the physical play. It’s this type of play that will become infectious in the playoffs!
- Nick Leddy – moved up into a top 4 role (while Oduya hides beside the hulking Czech Rozsival on the bottom pairing) and it’s evident young Nick has become a man in terms of strength.
- Ray Emery – I still think he has major limitations in movement but he has to have etched himself into Coach Q’s mind as a legitimate option if Crawford falters in the playoffs
- Powerplay – … oh wait… that’s still awful, BUT, keep in mind Kompon somehow won a Cup with LA running their PP. Plus the PK is looking sharp.
Quenneville will continue to search to find the best combos going into the post season however he should also be thinking of decreasing the playing time of some of his big guns.
Bowman threw another wrench (albeit a nice shiny gold one) into Q’s current roster by signing Hobey Baker Award winner Drew LeBlanc. It’s interesting when people say winning franchises lure top talent to town. I haven’t exactly witnessed this and feared it was due to the “Chili Cook-off” in the front office (that was my witty attempt to say there’s too many cooks in the kitchen). Therefore I was a little surprised hearing the news of LeBlanc landing with the Hawks. I would be lying to you if I said I knew anything about him, so I’ll just saying I’m excited to see how Q utilizing him this year but I’m more optimistic on how he plays into 2013-14 plans.
~ Bowman also made a couple of minor deals sending Rockford and personal fave Rob Flick to Boston for former 2nd rounder Max Sauve. He also sent Philippe Paradis for a player out of Cornell University, Kirill Gotovets (what a name!). Good thing I’m not a betting man because I figured Flick and Paradis to factor in as future 4th liners with the Blackhawks
~ The most important tidbit today is the Hawks put the final touches on a Detroit Red Wings sweep. The first time in a season series for the first time since 1976-77. Oh how sweet it is! Will it be the end of an era or will these teams see each other in the playoffs one last time as Western Conference foes?
~ I knew Patrick Sharp would not see time at Centre anytime soon or it would have happened when the Hawks were riddled with injuries down the middle the last couple of years. What I do like is platooning Sharp and Kruger at the dot as Sharp has been a beast. Kruger can play the position very well on the defensive side so this strategy by Q is a great option.
~ Drew LeBlanc will wear #14, somewhere Sergei Samsonov is upset. The Minnesota native might have a tough time walking into the dressing room with only a handful of games remaining in the season. I’m confident this team has some great chemistry but will play nice in the sandbox with Drew whatever his role may be.
Ty Cam out!
Filed Under: Chicago Blackhawks
About the Author: I am a rare Chicago Blackhawks fan from Canada, one might describe me as a hockey connoisseur and a solid checking line centre to your local rec hockey team. I once lived in a town of 500 people and now work in the hockey mecca that is Toronto. I work for the Score Television Network so I couldn't get away from sports if I tried. These opinions are one of my own and not of Score Media Inc. - don't get it twisted.