Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Hawks, better or just different?

Meet Vince Maranto, our Chicago Blackhawks blogger.

Vince is near my age and if he is not attending a Blackhawks game, he is watching it live or using a dvr to catch-up on what he missed.

I am sure he has witnessed both the good and the bad the Blackhawks have had to offer.

Enjoy his writings and word of warning Detroit fans, don’t heckle him.


I spent one summer helping a buddy of mine get his landscaping service started. When it came to the trimming and cutting of trees and shrubbery, he had a very simple approach, “It doesn’t have to look better, it just has to look different”,. As the off season moves for the Blackhawks seem to be about over, I am wondering if Stan Bowman has taken the same approach.

As for the trimming, dumping the $7 million contract of Brian Campbell wasn’t really much of a surprise. (The only REAL surprise was that he had a taker. Dale Tallon, who gave him the ridiculous contract in the first place, Two wrongs making a right??). I assumed freeing up this money was a move to be able to extend the contract (1 year left) of Patrick Sharp. Although this hasn’t been done as of this writing yet, I will give him the benefit of the doubt. Letting Troy Brouwer go, who led the team in hits, came as a surprise to me. He wasn’t really much of a “Cap” factor, and the big knock on the Hawks last season was their lack of a physical presence. Tomas Kopecky being let go wasn’t much of a surprise. He was virtually non existent at the end of the season and playoffs, rarely even dressing for games. Defense man Jordan Henry (out towards the end of the season with knee surgery) appears to be moving on also. Late season acquisition Chris Campoli, who I thought came in and immediately fit in, will not return. His style of defense, pinching in offensively, reminded me of Campbell. A less expensive version, for 2012, I wrongly assumed. Marty Turco and his 1 year &1.8 million dollar deal are gone, no shock there. The replacement for Cup winner Anti Niemi rarely played after the emergence of Corey Crawford. More on Corey in a moment.

Now let’s look at resignings. I could not believe that Viktor Stalberg was resigned. Although he possess great speed, his late season and playoff blunders, combined with his lack of offense, made him a sure goner Obviously,.Corey Crawford being handed the number one Goalie spot was a no brainer, earning him a new deal and shoring up the net minder for several seasons..  Michale Frolik, former first round pick, was a good signing, after performing well since coming to the team.

And now for the new guys. The signing of Dan Carcillo still intrigues me. My first thought was, well at least it wasn’t Pronger. We’ll se if the fans react to the addition of Carcillo, the same way the Bulls fans of the late ‘90’s did when Dennis Rodman was added.(He’s OK, as long as he’s on YOUR team).I am also reminded of a quote White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen once said about A.J. Pierzynski, “When he’s on the other team you hate him. When he’s on your team, you hate him a little less.”  I do not know a lot about the rest of the players signed, They’re ages (late 30’s) will hopefully add a veteran presence. Also, several of them have played for Coach Q in the past, knowing what the coach expects.

Heading into this season, the Hawks are definitely a little different. Better? Only time will tell..

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Vince Maranto, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Paul's avatar

Not a threat HTO, I used the word ‘heckle’ for a reason.  Google is your friend by the way.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/25/11 at 07:39 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Welcome to KK Vince.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 07/25/11 at 07:46 PM ET


Yup HTO, guess this is one to avoid…since I have read what Chicago fans have
written and they weren’t warned not to “heckle” Detroit fans…guess we just have to grin and bear it.

Posted by wingsluver4ever from TC on 07/25/11 at 07:57 PM ET

awould's avatar

Please amend the title of this post to reflect the real world options and their trajectory since they won it all in 2010:

Hawks, better, worse or just different?

Go Red Wings.

Posted by awould on 07/25/11 at 07:59 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Yup HTO, guess this is one to avoid…since I have read what Chicago fans have
written and they weren’t warned not to “heckle” Detroit fans…guess we just have to grin and bear it.

Posted by wingsluver4ever from TC on 07/25/11 at 06:57 PM ET

You guys are not getting what I was trying to get across, heckle is the key word and one I would not normally use when it comes to commenting in a blog post.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/25/11 at 07:59 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Welcome, Vince, as long as you don’t title your blog “Detroit Sucks.”


Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 07/25/11 at 08:05 PM ET

perfection's avatar

to those still not in on what Paul’s alluding to (which has nothing to do with ‘red wings fans’ and EVERYTHING to do with ‘heckling’)... try googling ‘Vince Maranto’ and see what you find

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 07/25/11 at 08:11 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Thank you perfection.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/25/11 at 08:16 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

So you’re saying we can’t make fun of his big shoulders, or his hockey team?

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 07/25/11 at 08:21 PM ET

Paul's avatar

I was trying to ad some fun, guess my humor is non-existent these days.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/25/11 at 08:27 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/25/11 at 07:27 PM ET

Eh, I wouldn’t say that. We’re apparently a little antsy…it’s not October yet.

What I meant-


Some nicknames are included in Carl Sandburg’s 1916 poem “Chicago”:

  “Hog butcher for the world,
  Tool maker, stacker of wheat,
  Player with railroads and the nation’s freight handler;
  Stormy, husky, brawling,
  City of the big shoulders.”

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 07/25/11 at 08:29 PM ET

awould's avatar

Can we make fun of how he spells Calendar?

Posted by awould on 07/25/11 at 08:30 PM ET


Welcome!  It’s nice to have a solid Hawks voice atounf here.  You’ll love Sean O’Donnell.  I also folow the Kings and a little of the Bruins -he’s been solid on every time and I hate to see him go, but glad to see him come to Chicago.  And regarding Carcillo….. at least it wasn’t Avery/.

Posted by sean_o_sean on 07/25/11 at 08:33 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Maybe we should have a summer KK bash at the compound.

OK, now back to the topic.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/25/11 at 08:35 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

I used to like the Blackhawks before fans came out and got cockier than all hell once they started winning.  It’s amazing how many clowns come out of the woodwork; claiming “your” team is a dynasty composed of the best players ever in the history of the game, guaranteeing that no team compares, and cups will rain from the hockey heavens every year for the next decade.

But Chicago nonetheless has a decent team, and even a red wings fan such as myself can relinquish that.  However, the recent topic of collusion brings to mind the Hawks.  Either Florida and Atlanta are completely dopes, or they just enjoy helping a former employer out.  Chicago may have lost some key parts when it had to dismantle the team last offseason but they certainly didn’t lose on any deal.  Why would the panthers take on an albatross in Brian Campbell for $7 million for virtually nothing in return?  Sure they had to get to the floor, but that didn’t mean this was how it had to be done.  Not to mention a competing club got off the cap hot stove.  Different conferences of course, yet Tallon essentially said, “Hey, would you guys like me to take this $7 million off your back so you build your team better?  O, yeah and it’s on the house.”  The same goes for Atlanta, who took two players Chicago could not afford to resign and instead of just sending inexpensive, short-term players back, traded prospects (likely a bust in Aliu for a stud in Morin).  It may be collusion or plain idiocy.

As for the team, this offseason’s signings make sense.  The hawks have a solid core signed for all their skill players and top-shelf talent.  What they lost due to salary and constraints were grit, leadership, physicality, speed, and depth.  That’s what the signings represent.  Brunette gives the net front presence DB provided.  Mayer adds some toughness and physicality.  Carcillo brings the role of agitator that eager once held.  Montador and O’Donnell provide leadership for the backend, with Lepisto adding depth.

Chicago remains a cup contender and one of the best teams in the Western Conference while it lasts

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 07/25/11 at 08:49 PM ET


Welcome aboard!

First thing I noticed was a pretty sane and cogent recap of Stan Bowman’s off-season work.  I do find it interesting how many people who think they know hockey were thrilled to see Brian Campbell go to the Hawks.  The guy is a total mess on the ice.  He seems to have no hockey sense whatsoever.  Talon is welcome to him.

Dan Carcillo is a guy who puzzles me.  When he first came up in Phoenix, he looked like he might be a player.  His play has deteriorated into pure goon.  He was a perfect fit for Philthydelphia, but they let him leave without a wimper, which tells me he is worthless.  We will see what we will see. 

My take is he weakens whatever team he is on and that can only be good for my beloved Red Wings.


Posted by DocF from Reidsville, NC on 07/25/11 at 09:05 PM ET


Sure they had to get to the floor, but that didn’t mean this was how it had to be done.

You can’t just discount this.  It’s not as if Florida didn’t make a bunch of moves just to get to the cap floor.

And why is it so crazy that they guy who signed Campbell to the contract actually wants Campbell on his team?  If Tallon liked him enough to overpay him, why not enough to trade for him?

Again, look at the signings Tallon made.  They were ALL overpayments because he had to get to the cap floor.

As for Atlanta, sure Chicago had to get under the cap last year, but they were dumping off pretty solid young talent in order to do it, so you have to think there would be other teams looking to pick that talent up, thus driving the price artifically higher than it should have been.

Posted by Garth on 07/25/11 at 09:35 PM ET


Tallon coudl’ve made th cap floor signing an offer sheet on Stamkos or Doughty, not like he didn’t stack the cupboard in the draft already.

You’re assuming Stamkos or Doughty would’ve signed the offer sheet in the first place.

Trading for a guy you want and getting him from a team who has been trying to get rid of him for a while is a lot easier than trying to convince a couple of the best young players in the league to leave their teams unceremoniously and join your shitty team.

I could understand if it was something like Yzerman taking a shitty contract off Ken Holland’s hand, but this is Dale Tallon helping out the team that shitcanned him.  Why would anyone want to collude with the guy who replaced him?

Posted by Garth on 07/25/11 at 09:56 PM ET

perfection's avatar

don’t you know how offer sheets work? they would have had to offer him $10mil a year for LA to MAYBE not match it. that’s why NOT ONE team has put in an offer sheet for a star player because it either gets matched and you’ve accomplished nothing while other teams get better around you or you have to drastically drastically (beyond even the Cambell contract) overpay. just because Florida is struggling to reach the cap floor doesn’t mean they’re simply going through the motions signing whoever for whatever. I assume Tallon actually believes he’s building a squad with a shot. when you start throwing out absurd contracts like it would take to land a star with an offer sheet, you just end up paralyzing yourself (you know, kind of like Tallon did to the Hawks)

just to be clear, I’m not justifying the Cambell trade as it totally bailed out the Hawks and it was a horrendous contract in the first place… one that probably helped cost Tallon his job in Chicago. I’m just pointing out that an offer sheet for a superstar really wasn’t a realistic option.

also, the problem isn’t just that Florida had to reach the cap floor, they also have to overpay just to get people to play there at all. most players want to play on teams who have a shot at winning and a decent fanbase. Florida doesn’t really have either for the time being. the only thing they got going is no state income tax, beaches, and bloated contracts.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 07/25/11 at 10:40 PM ET


you can’t tell me Doughty wouldn’t have taken 7.8 to play in FL, you never know if you don’t ask.  That’s what blows my mind, why not make the offer and let the player decide?

Of course I can say that.  How can you unequivocally say that he would?  And anyways, as perfection says, you’re not going to get Doughty or Stamkos away from their respective teams by offering $7.8M.  You’d have to offer way more than that to get their teams to even consider not matching (ie. $7M a year for Vanek, and even then the Sabres matched it).  And the player’s team needs to be really close to the cap in order to not match it.  Even at $10M a year there’s a good chance the Kings and Lightning would’ve matched and then what do you have?  You lose out on the players that you offer-sheeted and you incur the ire of the rest of the league who watched you try and steal away a good young talent.

Besides, why would a solid young talent with a good team being built around him sign an offer sheet to go to a shitty team that has to overpay mediocre talent just to reach the cap floor?  How is that enticing to someone like Doughty or Stamkos?

Posted by Garth on 07/25/11 at 10:52 PM ET



The Hawks will be better this year, the cup distractions are over, they are tougher, if not dumber with Carcillo, loss of Campbell will affect their ability to move the puck up, but his erratic play will not be missed. Keith will have a better season and the younger players will mature and provide better support. I predict they will have 10 more points than last season.

I find it interesting those who feel the need to snark at Paul over his well reasoned admonishment.  Based on the reaction it was a good thing or the free for all would have been ugly.

Posted by timbits on 07/25/11 at 11:07 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Wait, didn’t we just see that one of the other bloggers recently added is/was also a stand-up comedian?  Man the economy IS tough…  giving up stand-up to blog is like giving up being a squire to be a normal peasant.  wink

I don’t personally see the offseason changes as “better”.  Just “different”. 

I find it interesting those who feel the need to snark at Paul over his well reasoned admonishment.  Based on the reaction it was a good thing or the free for all would have been ugly.

Posted by timbits on 07/25/11 at 10:07 PM ET

Some people apparently didn’t read the rest of the thread… try again.

Posted by Primis on 07/25/11 at 11:21 PM ET


knock yourself out… if you can establish kumbaya out of that god bless you!

Posted by timbits on 07/26/11 at 12:51 AM ET

shazam88's avatar

Wait, didn’t we just see that one of the other bloggers recently added is/was also a stand-up comedian?
Posted by Primis on 07/25/11 at 10:21 PM ET

Hey, don’t leave out PSH…he’s been rocking that routine for years.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 07/26/11 at 01:02 AM ET


I love how you refuse to see any other advantage to making your competitors pay more for an asset as being a waste of time in the cap world

How do you not understand that it’s an exercise in futility?  Florida was trying to reach the cap floor, not to screw other teams, and they -as well as everyone else in the world besides you, apparently- understand that with Stamkos and Doughty there is almost no way that you were going to get them to sign an offer sheet and NOT have the team match it.  IMMEDIATELY.

Why was I crazy to suggest doughty being offered 7.8 if they really want one of if not the best young defenseman?

Reading comprehension.

You’re not crazy for saying Doughty is worth $7.8M, you’re OUT of your g*ddamn MIND if you think LA wouldn’t match that in a NANOSECOND.  OR that Doughty himself would even consider signing it.  If Florida wanted Doughty they’d have to sign him to an offer sheet of at LEAST $10M, if not the LEAGUE MAX to get him away from LA.

Id gladly GM. Against you two.. this is chess not checkers

If I were LA’s GM I would kiss Dale Tallon on the mouthWITH TONGUE.  For somehow convincing Drew Doughty to sign an offer sheet for only $7.8M a year and allowing me to end this protracted negotiation with him by simply matching an offer sheet.

Seriously, if you think that Doughty could be had -and could be taken away from LA- for only $7.8M, then I would seriously BEG to GM against you.

Any RFA I’m having a hard tim re-signing you could give him a way-too-low offer sheet and I could match it like nothing, then send you flowers afterward.

Posted by Garth on 07/26/11 at 01:32 PM ET

JoeyMrk's avatar

I used to see Vince all the time at Zanies opening for another comedian I used to see all the time (Mike Lukas). Here’s my proof in the form of punchlines and catchphrases:“Are you like me?” “Is that fresh fagioli?” “The MacGuyver of cooking…” I still steal one of his jokes from time to time. It was about an Amish guy arrested for murder who was subsequently sentenced to the wood-burning chair. Vince told it better, of course.

Posted by JoeyMrk on 07/26/11 at 11:30 PM ET

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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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