Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog at the Chicago Tribune,
Chris Chelios won’t be back with the dreaded Detroit Red Wings after 10 years and two Stanley Cups.
So, it’s a gimme he’ll be back with the Blackhawks.
Question is, in which role?
First, would hockey guru Scotty Bowman approve the 47-year-old’s inclusion on the roster?
from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding at USA TODAY,
The issue the Chicago Blackhawks have in re-signing Martin Havlat is that the full horror of the salary cap world will be upon them in 12 months.
Probably the ’Hawks have room to pay Havlat full value for next season, but it would be salary cap-hurtful to give Havlat a full value deal that extends into the 2010-11 season.
In the summer of 2010, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith will all be restricted free agents looking for a big raise. Andrew Ladd’s contract also expires that season.
Quenneville sings at Wrigley!
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
The Atlanta Thrashers have raided the Chicago Blackhawks to bolster their front office. According to an NHL source, the Thrashers have hired Chicago assistant general manager Rick Dudley to be an associate general manager under executive vice president and current GM Don Waddell.
The source said Dudley wasn’t brought in to replace the longtime Thrashers GM and that it was a Waddell hire. Dudley has been with the Blackhawks since 2004 when he was hired as a hockey ops consultant and was named an assistant GM in July of 2006.
added 3:58pm, The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that Rick Dudley has resigned as assistant general manager, effective immediately.
“Rick has informed me that he has resigned from his position with the Blackhawks to pursue other opportunities,” General Manager Dale Tallon said. “I would like to extend my gratitude to him for his work with our organization and certainly wish him well in the future.”
Dudley served four years in the Blackhawks hockey operations, which includes each of the last three as the club’s assistant general manager.
From Al Cimaglia at ESPN Chicago:
Cam Barker is one Hawks defenseman who may not return next season. Barker has power play skill that would be desirable on the trade market. His Chicago future could be impacted because he is too similar to other players already on the Hawks defense.
Chicago general manger Dale Tallon may choose to trade Barker at the NHL entry draft for a pick and/or prospects. That would create approximately a $2.7 million salary cap savings.
We can’t forget about forwards Dave Bolland and Kris Versteeg, who are also due significant raises. Plus Marty Havlat’s new contract could be a factor. By dealing Barker, the Hawks could use the savings for different needs or can seek help in the free agent market.
It would be nice to believe the current roster will stay intact and lead the Hawks to the Stanley Cup. But that is not going to happen. There will be some difficult choices for Hawks management, and they will become apparent very soon.
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
..what do the Hawks do about Nikolai Khabibulin and Martin Havlat? They were two of the Hawks’ best players this season and the feeling on the team is that Khabibulin has to stay if the Hawks are to see themselves as serious Stanley Cup contenders. As for Havlat, once he got healthy, he became a major contributor to the Hawks’ cause and a fan favorite.
The Hawks want to keep both those players, but if they are to give themselves some wiggle room to handle Kane, Toews and Keith, they can’t do long-term deals. Yet that’s what both players want.
The answer? Who knows? That’s what they pay GMs for. But this much is certain: The NHL has hoped for decades that it could get a strong presence in Chicago. Now it has one, but the salary cap has put it in jeopardy.
more plus head-shots and Lecavalier talk…
From the CP via TSN:
On Friday, Tallon said he spoke with Allan Walsh, the agent for Martin Havlat, about retaining the forward who could become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
“Marty has stated that he wants to stay here and we want Marty back. We’ll just keep working at it and see if we can get it done,” [Dale] Tallon said.
“We’re going to address the free-agent situation here and put the best possible team on the ice again next,” he added.
more on Havlat and other potential free agents on the team
from Jeff Z. Klein of SlapShot at the NY Times,
Wednesday night’s telecast on Versus of Game 5 of the Red Wings-Blackhawks semifinal broke a record for the U.S. cable network, continuing a trend this N.H.L. post-season of high viewership not seen in America for more than a decade.
Versus’s coverage of the Wings-Hawks Game 5 earned a 2.1 household rating and averaged 2.32 million total viewers. That made it the most-watched telecast in the network’s history among households (1.55 million) and tied it with Lance Armstrong’s final ride (7/24/05) for the highest-rated program in network history.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
Tallon is well aware of the work that lies ahead keeping the core of the team together.
“You never know what can happen with this group,” Kane said. “If they can keep it together somehow or someway. We have a great group here.”
Toews, Kane and Keith all will need new contracts after next season, and negotiations could start at $6 million a year for each of them.
But first things first. The Hawks must decide quickly if they want to re-sign unrestricted free agents Martin Havlat, Sammy Pahlsson and Matt Walker before they hit the open market on July 1.
Tallon has said he wants Havlat back, and the injury the veteran winger suffered in Game 3 against Detroit on the hit from Niklas Kronwall shouldn’t change anything. It’s going to come down to how much money Havlat wants, and for how many years.
from Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times,
It was one of the most memorable seasons in Blackhawks history. Rest in Peace. It will be remembered more for the stunning, franchise-wide turnaround that spurred a hockey renaissance in Chicago than for the Red Wings celebrating before towel-waving fans.
That’s why if Wednesday night’s loss was a indeed a funeral than it should be New Orleans style, with a brass band and parasols and much singing and dancing.
Seasons that fall short of a Stanley Cup championship won’t always end this way. In fact, the Hawks can assume that no season will end this way in coming years. Winning raises expectations. Won’t anything but a triumph over these Red Wings in next year’s playoffs be a disappointment?
That’s because the team’s youth is no longer a story. The only story line that remains is: Can the Hawks beat Detroit?
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.
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