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Category: Chicago-Blackhawks

The Cap Issues With The Chicago Blackhawks

from Barry Rozner of the Chicago Daily-Herald,

As for Artem Anisimov, why the rush to give him five years and $23 million a day after arriving in the Brandon Saad deal? The Hawks have not won a playoff series since he arrived, though it's hardly all on Anisimov.

Did the Hawks really need to give 30-year-old Brent Seabrook eight years and $55 million in the fall of 2015? Granted, it's easier to do when you've won three Stanley Cups in six seasons, but that was a shocker.

And then there's Marcus Kruger, who got three years and $9 million in March 2016, six months after signing for a year and $1.5 million, and having missed most of the first half of that season with a wrist injury.

Again, easy to look past the good deals and wonder why the bad ones occurred, but now Kruger is probably on his way out of town and it may cost the Hawks another player the way Teuvo Teravainen was sent to Carolina with Bickell's contract.

The talk in NHL circles is that the Hawks are trying to get Vegas to take Kruger's contract, but that the Hawks might have to give them another player in the process....

The Hawks are about $3 million over the cap for next season right now after signing Richard Panik for two years at $2.8 million annually, and Panik -- who would have been a restricted free agent July 1 -- was startled the Hawks came at him so hard.

"I was waiting for the first offer to come in and the first one they gave me was surprising, so there wasn't much thinking about if I was going to sign it," Panik said on a conference call with the media. "I was really happy to get the first offer."

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Carolina Acquires Scott Darling From Chicago

RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has acquired goaltender Scott Darling from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Ottawa’s 2017 third-round draft pick. The Hurricanes will have exclusive negotiating rights with Darling until July 1, when he could become an unrestricted free agent.

“Scott had a very successful season in Chicago and was a big part of the Blackhawks finishing with the best record in the Western Conference,” said Francis. “He played a critical role on Chicago’s 2015 championship team.”

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  Tags: scott+darling

Report- Joel Quenneville Not Happy With Dismissal Of Assistant Coach Mike Kitchen

from Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune,

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman promised change after the first-round playoff sweep at the hands of the Predators. The first part of that change came Monday, and it cut close to head coach Joel Quenneville.

The Hawks fired assistant coach and longtime Quenneville aide Mike Kitchen after seven seasons with the team in a move that threatens to re-open old wounds between Quenneville and the Hawks' front office....

The Hawks news release did not include a statement from Quenneville, who was close with Kitchen since the two were teammates in the NHL with Colorado and New Jersey from 1979-83. Multiple sources said Quenneville and Kitchen are "best friends."

Multiple league sources told the Tribune the decision to fire Kitchen did not originate with Quenneville and that Quenneville was upset and surprised by the move. Kitchen's firing is likely to re-ignite conflict between Quenneville and Bowman and the rest of the front office, conflict over coaching and personnel that existed before the Hawks won Cups in 2013 and 2015, two championships that helped maintain peace in the organization. 

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Small Or Big Changes For The Chicago Blackhawks?

from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times,

No one who has watched hockey for a significant amount of time can look me in the face and tell me that the same result would occur if the two teams played again in a best-of-seven series. Or could tell me that the Hawks wouldn’t win the series if a sequel were ordered.
Hockey is capricious. The NHL playoffs make capricious look like a conservative business suit.

The postseason isn’t a game of what-if, though, and the only thing that matters is that the Hawks lost and lost abysmally. Hence, the civic handwringing. If there were any more gnashing of teeth in Chicago, we’d all be down to our gums.

But there has been a fair amount of overreacting going on. I’m not talking about the people who, having watched the Hawks score a mere three goals in the series, immediately called for Corey Crawford’s ouster as goaltender. Those are the people on the edge of things, sanity being one of those things.

I’m talking about those of you who believe a large overhaul is needed. Bowman seemed to be nodding to that crowd when he hinted at definitive offseason action, though he was extremely light on specifics.

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Morning Line- Stan Bowman

via Mark Lazerus tweets,

"I'm completely disappointed. It's unacceptable to be where we are today. I'm frustrated, I'm angry. ... Complete failure."

 "We did not even come close to reaching the standard we have set. And that’s unacceptable. ... Not close to good enough."

"That starts with me. I need to be better. There's no doubt about it. I can promise you I will be better."

"Joel is our head coach. He will continue to be our head coach. And Joel and I will work together to make sure this never happens again"

added below at 10:54am, One more tweet from Lazerus....

added below at 11:09am, video of Stan Bowman statement,

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  Tags: stan+bowman

Change Needed In Chicago

from David Hough of the Chicago Tribune,

Had the Hawks been eliminated in Game 7, the immediate impact on the organization would be less jarring. Going down meekly in four straight games represented a mandate for change and rattled the Hawks enough to reassess everything. The powers-that-be can't be tone-deaf to what happened in the Music City.

Stop clinging to the Hawks winning 50 games and earning 109 points. Listen to coach Joel Quenneville, who acknowledged his team's postseason failure nullified its regular-season success. The Hawks "One Goal" isn't being the best team from October to April. It's beating four playoff opponents and hoisting the Stanley Cup in June, something the current roster was ill-equipped to do....

Finding a silver lining in the 2016-17 season contradicts everything the Hawks always have espoused. Where was the championship pedigree? Their quest ended abruptly, as Quenneville put it, because the Hawks couldn't find "the all-out button.'' Translation: The Preds showed more heart. Depending on the shift, the Predators alternately made the Hawks look old and slow or young and lost. The pushback everybody expected never came, the response muted by a more relentless bunch. Something was missing from the Hawks and that indicted everybody on the bloated payroll.

Oversimplifying it, the Hawks always appeared too comfortable. What we interpreted as confidence, in retrospect, could have been complacency that often is the residue of continuity. Kane hinted as much in postgame comments to reporters.

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Sweet Sweep In Nashville

from Joe Rexrode of The Tennessean,

“SWEEP! SWEEP! SWEEP!” the Predators fans chanted in the final stages of a 4-1 win in Game 4 Thursday at Bridgestone Arena. And that’s what they got, thanks to that Sissons goal, two from Roman Josi, an Arvidsson empty netter for emphasis and yet another masterpiece from goaltender Pekka Rinne – and despite an appropriately desperate performance from the Stanley Cup favorite Blackhawks.

“It’s a great feeling, 2010 and 2015 we lost to these guys in the first round; we had a chance to kind of redeem ourselves, a little payback,” Rinne said of the Blackhawks. “But it’s a great feeling, and I think organization-wise too, it goes pretty high up there.”

Now it’s on the Predators to capitalize on this achievement, their No. 1 to date, and knock it down the list before the spring ends. It’s on these players to shake more hands of people who are gritting their teeth in disappointment while the Predators say nice things and temporarily contain their exuberance.

“We’ve been in this situation, and in my career too I’ve been in this situation (three times) now,” Rinne said of first-round wins in 2011, 2012 and 2016. “It really is nothing. It’s a great feeling and it’s really hard to get to the second round, but at the same time, you’ve got to keep your foot on the gas. Stay focused, stay hungry. We haven’t done anything yet.”

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Below, watch Peter Laviolette post-game...

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The Chicago Blackhawks Were Swept Out Of The Playoffs

from Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times,

Welcome to the new reality, Blackhawks.

After years in a different realm as the gold standard of NHL excellence in the salary-cap era, the Hawks’ stunning demise against the eighth-seeded Predators — a four-game sweep after a 4-1 loss Thursday at Bridgestone Arena — likely signaled the end of an era as Stanley Cup favorites.

The Hawks still will be contenders in future postseasons — though the demise of the once-mighty Kings remains a cautionary tale — but the days of “flipping the switch,” forcing good teams to play poorly and willing their way to victory appear to be over. Against the Predators, the Hawks were just another playoff team at the mercy of NHL parity and the hockey gods. Neither was kind to the Hawks this postseason.

“It was a major disappointment across the board,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “They raised their level of play in the playoffs, and I don’t think we got to where we had to be.”

continued

Game highlights and handshakes are below...

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One More Win For Nashville Or Just A Win For Chicago

from Joe Rexrode of The Tennessean,

Nashville’s 3-0 lead is a shocker in the hockey world, at the expense of a Chicago team favored by Las Vegas oddsmakers to win the Stanley Cup and picked by just about everyone else to win this first-round series. If the Predators can get one more win, it will be the most significant achievement in their 19-year history – beating an elite team that has won three of the past seven Stanley Cups, and setting themselves up to make a serious run at one of their own.

That’s why Lower Broadway is wilder than normal these days, and why this team’s TV ratings are surging, and why Monday night in Bridgestone was one of the best scenes at a sporting event you’re going to find anywhere. From Carrie Underwood’s surprise, soaring national anthem to the euphoric celebration after Predators forward Kevin Fiala scored the winning goal in overtime, it was epic.

“Awesome,” Laviolette said. “The rink was unbelievable, the fans were absolutely incredible. … From an organizational standpoint it’s huge, to watch the growth of it. It’s hard not to mention or acknowledge the impact they had on the game (Monday).”

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from Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times,

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Can The Blackhawks Flip The Switch One More Time?

from Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times,

For years, the Hawks seemed to have a Patriots-like knack for making an opponent play stupid or tighten its own noose as a series turned in the Hawks’ favor. One moment you’re playing fast and free on the ice and joking around in the off-day press conference with a series lead. The next thing you know, your goalie is running into your best defenseman to set up the Hawks for the key goal in the series.

Forcing a good team to play poorly and scared is the Hawks’ only hope at this point. But they seem to have lost that touch.

“It’s not easy,” Toews said. “[The Predators] are a good team and they want it. They’re pushing themselves to the limit. But we have no choice. We’ve got to find a way to put pressure on them. We’ve got to make them realize that winning that fourth game is the toughest for any team in any series.

“We can be that team to try and frustrate them and put pressure on them, especially in their own building. You never know what can happen. So we’ll just focus on winning the next one.”

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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