Kukla's Korner Hockey
Chicago GM Stan Bowman discusses the acquisition of Kim Johnsson.
via Craig Custance of The Sporting News,
While the Hurricanes and Panthers have clearly established themselves as the sellers as the trade freeze countdown continues (3 p.m. today), the Chicago Blackhawks have been busy trying to make an addition for the stretch run.
An NHL source tells SportingNews.com that the Blackhawks have had “lots of conversations” today in an attempt to bolster their lineup for a long playoff run. None of the discussions have centered around a goalie.
added 1:57pm, via Bob McKenzie tweet,
Hearing about a lot of chatter between Minnesota and Chicago. Interesting to see if they get something done before 3 pm eastern
added 2:57pm, Another McKenzie tweet,
If Chi-Min deal goes down, I believe Kim Johnsson ends up in Chicago and Cam Barker goes to Minny but it may be bigger and it isn’t done yet
added 3:14pm, Bob McKenzie tweeted the deal got done, will have info shortly.
added 3:19pm, via Darren Dreger tweet,
as per tsn. The Minnesota Wild have traded D Kim Johnsson and 2009 first round pick Nick Leddy to Chicago for D Cam Barker.
from Mike Kiley of Blackhawks Confidential,
Are you ready, Chicago? Are you ready, world? Kane appeals to all ages, gossipy old nags that like sniffing the scandal sheets and bright-eyed girls and boys who can relate to a fella that’s part Huckleberry Finn, part Eminem, part Joe Namath, part Denis Savard, and pretty much three-quarters Bobby Hull, except for the hair. All live wire.
Kid Galahad could be the belle of this ball, because he so enjoys scrambling those letters to read KID HAD-A-GAL or simply KID GALA, a rollicking roustabout coming straight to your stage and the wide, wide world of sports (I know, I’m mixing networks) from Al Capone’s rootin’-tootin’ hometown, which is still how much of the world identifies Chicago….
Team USA’s Olympic opener is a 12 p. m. puck drop in Vancouver, so Kane still has time to gather the girl scout troop for a Monday night reprise in the party limo, get John Madden and Kris Versteeg on the laptop webcam, try reverse-role playing and have the gals be the ones that take off their shirts this time round for the paparazzi shoot, roast them a few marshmallows, drown them with Jagermeister shooters for the international spirit, park at Lover’s Leap in Stanley Park for belated Valentine canoodling under the moonlight and hit the hay without the need of a police escort to help him say his evening prayers.
from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog at the Chicago Tribune,
Well, they have a couple goalies, just not one you’d stake your Stanley Cup life on right now. I realize that the Blues beat the Hawks on deflected shots, so I’m not hanging that specific loss on Cristobal Huet. But that position remains the biggest question because Huet has never won a playoff series and Niemi has never played so much as a postseason minute in the NHL.
And now, Huet can’t handle a small workload. The Hawks’ game of keepaway means their goalies see fewer shots than other netminders, but the quality of the chances against them might be just as high. The last few times that Huet has faced 20 shots or so, he has not given anyone confidence that he can be trusted in the heat of spring. Anyone in the Hawks organ-I-zation, I mean.
Maybe that changes soon. Maybe one of these two guys—- nobody cares which, at this point—- gets it together before April. It appears one of them will have to because this isn’t your father’s NHL trading deadline, where 100 bodies change teams. Nope, this is a salary-cap era that is hamstringing the Hawks—thank you, Billfold Wirtz—- so Huet or Niemi will need to be Roy or Brodeur.
via Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
Are the Blackhawks stepping up their efforts to acquire a defenseman for the stretch run?
There were plenty of rumors Monday pointing in that direction.
There were eyebrows raised in Pittsburgh on Monday night when defenseman Jay McKee was a healthy scratch against Buffalo. Could McKee be headed to the Hawks?
from Ross McKeon of Yahoo,
Don’t make too much out of the recently completed season series between the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks if you’re trying to project what might happen if the two teams meet in the playoffs, likely to represent the West in the Stanley Cup Finals.
San Jose and Chicago may have figured out ways to, in the least, mask fatal flaws – defensive personnel for the Sharks and goaltending for the Blackhawks.
In the Blackhawks’ 4-3 overtime victory on Thursday, the Sharks’ defensive corps featured their shortcomings. There was a 40-year-old who is basically a power-play specialist when he’s not skating a step behind, or taking that annoying hook or hold at a critical time. Sorry, Rob Blake(notes). Yes, you’re a future Hall-of-Famer, but a No. 1 defenseman no longer fits….
On the flip side, the Blackhawks can’t feel good about putting all their Stanley Cup hopes on Cristobal Huet(notes) – and don’t try to float the idea of turning to the untested Antti Niemi(notes)....
Just the same, is anyone else concerned about the way Huet seems perfectly content to just bat pucks aside, rebounds be damned? He’s not a goalie who has the reputation of controlling things in his end. It’s more like someone battling and hoping his team just outscores the opposition.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
In a season that passes in a blur thanks to the Olympic break, these games pass by all too quickly: a clash of the two best teams in the Western Conference, and arguably—with all due respect to the Washington Capitals—the two best teams in the NHL.
But talk to players from the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks and they’ll tell you Thursday’s game is important on a number of levels, but remains about keeping things in perspective; another day at the office.
With a win, the Sharks could open a four-point lead in the West. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, could pull into a tie in points and jump ahead by two victories if they can steal another game in San Jose in the final of four meetings between the two conference powers.
from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Most of us can tell the difference between a professional hockey player and a choirboy. I don’t actually know any choirboys, but I’m guessing the vast majority of them are in possession of all of their teeth and many of their brain cells.
Along those same lines, lots of us cling to the idea that hockey players should not look as if they’ve been imagined and packaged by a boy-band manager.
Am I offended by the Internet photos showing some shirtless Blackhawks in a limousine—a limo that also carries several fully dressed women?
No, I’m offended that the players look like members of ‘N Sync or Backstreet Boys in the photos.
Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times digs a little deeper into the pictures. And yes, KK received the photos too, I tossed them in the garbage.
“Our goaltending is not a concern for our group at all. We’re second in the league in goals against (2.23 before Tuesday) so it’s tough to make an argument our goaltenders haven’t played well.’‘
“There’s nothing I can say that will change people’s minds because they’re going to think what they think. But if you look objectively at the way our goaltenders have performed, they’ve been dynamite this year.”
-Chicago GM Stan Bowman. More on the Blackhawks from David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.
from Mike Kiley of Blackhawks Confidential,
Either Niemi or Huet should beat Edmonton. But the bigger point is what statement Q makes in picking who wins, since both guys know they are likely to a notch an easy W if Q just lays the finger of fate on them rather than giving one guy the finger.
Maybe it’s true the Hawks are blessed to have two dependable goalies. Maybe it’s also true a team without a clear-cut No. 1 goalie won’t win the Stanley Cup, as Jeremy Roenick contended recently.
Q has to start cutting through the haze of what ifs with his goalies and decide what now and what will be. I know he isn’t likely to name his Stanley Cup championship starter today. But Tuesday would be a hell of a time to start parting the fog so we can see clearly.
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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