Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
Another huge concern is the team’s goaltending. With Nikolai Khabibulin departed for Edmonton, the starter’s job falls to Cristobal Huet. Yikes! Huet has enjoyed a certain level of success in his five-year NHL career with Los Angeles, Montreal, Washington and now the Blackhawks, but he has done absolutely nothing to suggest he can be the No. 1 goaltender on a winning team.
Finally, the Hawks got more bad news this week when it was announced agitating winger Adam Burish would be lost to the club for six months after blowing out his knee. His loss will most certainly be felt.
There is every chance in the world the Blackhawks will be a very competitive team this season and they could challenge for another berth in the Western Conference final. But it would be foolhardy to ignore an unhealthy number of concerns facing this team.
The following statement was issued today by Chicago Blackhawks Head Team Physician Dr. Michael Terry:
“Adam Burish went into the boards on Sunday night in Minnesota and injured his right knee. When a player like him leaves the ice it is always concerning, and unfortunately he suffered an ACL tear. He will undergo a reconstruction as soon as possible and we anticipate a complete recovery. His return will take approximately six months.”
Patrick Kane held an online Q & A with the fans today at ESPN,
Patrick, most of the nation has high hopes for this Blackhawk team considering you guys exceed all expectations last season. How has this team responded in the locker room, and can you guys channel that into a long run at the Stanley Cup?Go Hawks and have a great season!
Patrick Kane: I think it’s the same group. The same atmosphere. I think last year was one of those years that you didn’t want to end. Unfortunately it did end. This year, we’re a year older and we added a guy like Hossa who will help us out a lot. Really, it will propel us to the next level. WE want to bring home the cup. It hasn’t happened in a while. We don’t want to leave this year to chance.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
“At the end of the year in the playoffs, I thought I had a really good run so that’s something I’m going to draw off of. That’s the way I can play and know how to play. There were ups and downs, but I did a lot of good things, too. Was it my best year? No, I wouldn’t say that, but it’s a learning experience as well.”
Being more consistent, especially in his own end, starts with skating for Campbell.
“I wasn’t moving my feet at some times last year and that just makes the biggest difference for me,” Campbell said. “I’ve always wanted to be a consistent player and felt I did that in the past. There were a few too many peaks and valleys.”
Campbell found himself trying to do too much on occasion last season to live up to his contract, which is no longer the biggest on the Hawks. Marian Hossa’s 12-year, $62.8 million deal now sits at No. 1.
from Lacy J. Banks of the Chicago Sun-Times,
As a restricted free agent, Versteeg would have been given a 10 percent raise on his $490,000 salary from last season. But when the offers weren’t received in time—which eventually led to the ouster of former general manager Dale Tallon—Versteeg was paid millions more. He signed a three-year deal worth $9.25 million, meaning he’ll earn more than Patrick Kane ($875,000), captain Jonathan Toews ($850,000) and defenseman Duncan Keith ($1.9 million) this season.
‘‘I still took less money,’’ Versteeg said. ‘‘If I had gone onto the open market, I could have gotten much more. But I signed for less money to stay with the Hawks because I love the Hawks, I love my teammates, my fans and the city of Chicago.
‘‘But I don’t see myself not working harder and taking this season serious just because I got more money. I’m here to win, and I want to win really bad. That’s why I’m going to continue to work as hard as I can.’‘
from Brian Compton of NHL.com,
Just three years after drafting Jonathan Toews with the third pick and less than 48 months following the No. 1 selection of Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks found themselves in the Western Conference Finals. As they enter the 2009-10 season, the word “rebuild’ isn’t even a part of the Hawks’ vocabulary. These days, Kane believes only two words should be used.
“It’s probably (Stanley) Cup or bust this year, and that’s what we want,” Kane told NHL.com. “I think you’ve got to play for those expectations. The better you get, the more the expectations are going to grow. Expectations are probably to the ceiling, but that’s the way it should be. That’s the way we want it.”
from Mike Kiley of Blackhawks Confidential at ChicagoNow,
Patrick Kane just made his first preseason slip-up. It’s time for the Blackhawks bosses who want him to grow up and take responsibility for his actions to tell him for his own good to shut up and stop playing the victim.
One more attempt by Kane to feel sorry for himself will be one too many.
“Actually, this is probably the hardest summer that I’ve ever worked out in my life and people are going to say because of one night that I didn’t work out this summer,” Kane told ESPN.com.
Whaa, whaa, whaa, Charlie Brown. No word yet on whether Kane had opened his ever-useful tear ducts for more sympathy when he said those words.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
Coach Joel Quenneville’s primary goal is to win the Central Division, which won’t be easy despite the losses of Marian Hossa, Mikael Samuelsson, Jiri Hudler and Tomas Kopecky in Detroit.
The Red Wings have won eight straight division titles and still are loaded with Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Lidstrom, Johan Franzen and Dan Cleary. The Wing certainly need some kids to come through, however.
Will this be the year age catches up to Lidstrom, who is 39? And goalie Chris Osgood turns 37 in November.
The Hawks haven’t won a division title since capturing the Norris Division in 1992-93.
more Blackhawks topics…
from Ross McKeon of Yahoo,
It’s hard not to get sucked into the hype, but it’s really hard to be considered a top-flight Cup contender without a more proven goalie so that’s where the Hawks fall short. Chicago will finish second in the division again, slip to between fifth or sixth in the conference and won’t last long in the postseason.
more on Chicago….
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The Toronto Maple Leafs today re-acquired their own much-travelled 2010 second-round pick from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Toronto’s third-round pick in 2011 and a 2011 second-round pick that was previously acquired by Toronto from Calgary.
Why would the Leafs effectively pay a net price of a third-round pick to get a second-round pick in the 2010 draft instead of the 2011 draft?
Well, the move now gives Toronto their own first, second and third-round picks in the next NHL entry draft, which is the prerequisite for any team that would want to submit an offer sheet on a top restricted free agent player this summer.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org