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The Los Angeles Kings May Be The Better Team

from Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times,

We know the Hawks are capable of coming back, but right now you have to wonder how they would do it. Maybe it will take Crawford to do the old stand-on-his-head routine.

‘‘It wasn’t easy last year,’’ said winger Patrick Kane, who hasn’t scored a goal in the series. ‘‘This one’s not going to be easy.’’

The Kings are fast, tough and skilled. So are the Hawks.

A lot of folks think they’re the two best teams in hockey. Between them, they have won three of the last four Stanley Cups. If the survivor of this series wins the Cup this season, you could say that team is a budding dynasty.

It was thought no franchise could remain dominant in the salary-cap era. The good players would ask for too much money and leave. Some teams would overspend on a star or two and be hamstrung for years.

But it hasn’t happened with the Hawks and Kings. General managers Stan Bowman and Dean Lombardi have plans, and they’ve stuck to them without bankrupting themselves.

The only thing to wonder about, after the blueprint, is desire. Injuries can derail anything, of course. But what we’ve got now are two healthy teams, so what’s up with the Hawks?

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

Jaromir Blogger's avatar

The Hawks were bound to run out of gas at some point.

Posted by Jaromir Blogger on 05/27/14 at 10:27 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Hawks rallied in 2013 from being down 3-1 in the series, but the ‘14 Kings are much better than the ‘13 Wings.  Kings should not have a problem closing out this series. 

General managers Stan Bowman and Dean Lombardi have plans, and they’ve stuck to them without bankrupting themselves.

As for that quip, we’ll have to wait and see how Bowman handles the Toews and Kane contracts.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/27/14 at 10:35 AM ET

Avatar

As for that quip, we’ll have to wait and see how Bowman handles the Toews and Kane contracts.

He is easily set up to give each of them (and Oduya if he chooses) a $2 million cap hit raise each (to $8.3 million aav) and still be under the cap in 2015-16, assuming the Canadian dollar doesn’t drop to 80 cents.  Why would you think otherwise?  Do you think both of them want Ovechkin cap hits? I don’t.

Posted by jkm2011 on 05/27/14 at 12:06 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Why would you think otherwise?

I don’t think otherwise.  I said we’ll have to wait and see how he handles the contracts.  I, also, believe that they will “take one for the team” and take a lower salary for the better of the team, but I think it will be interesting to see how much of a raise Bowman will be able to negotiate with them.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/27/14 at 12:10 PM ET

awould's avatar

The Hawks were bound to run out of gas at some point.

Since the end of last years Conf Finals, when Chicago knocked out LA, Chicago has played 4 more games than LA. Since the start of these playoffs, LA has played 2 more games than Chicago, with less time off.

I think LA has more claim on the “exhausted” excuse. Watching the games, Chicago’s only excuse is that LA is a better team right now.

Posted by awould on 05/27/14 at 12:45 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

LAK also getting a boost from Mitchell’s return, looks like, cause their Dzone work has been stellar.

Posted by MoreShoot on 05/27/14 at 12:51 PM ET

Avatar

I expect it will be Getzlaf/Perry money.  Somewhere between $8.2 and $8.7.  And that will be considered a good deal for both sides.  If Bowman comes in lighter than that, it’s a huge win for the team.  The Hawks are set up to be contenders for at least 5 more years.  That’s great cap management.

Posted by jkm2011 on 05/27/14 at 12:55 PM ET

awould's avatar

As for that quip, we’ll have to wait and see how Bowman handles the Toews and Kane contracts.

2015-2016 will be a huge year for Staniel Bowman. Lot of contracts to get done. I would expect both Kane/Toews to take a discount, but pretty much all of their depth players are up for renewal too, and will have to account for whatever raise Duncan Keith expects to get the following year.

I think the bigger thing will be that it will shine a big light on how they’ve drafted/developed over the past four to five years. I know nothing of their prospect pool, but their AHL team is not good. If they lack good prospects and plan to keep their success going through trades and free agents, they’ll fail in the long run.

Posted by awould on 05/27/14 at 12:57 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I think the bigger thing will be that it will shine a big light on how they’ve drafted/developed over the past four to five years.

Indeed.  I have a good friend who is a Hawks friend and very well acquainted with the team and the Ice Hogs.  He says they haven’t been very good at drafting/developing over recent years.  Really though, a team can become a contender and have a solid 5-8 years, but it’s always intriguing to see how they come out of it and develop players when they don’t have top-10 pics each year.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/27/14 at 01:12 PM ET

awould's avatar

when they don’t have top-10 pics each year.

Exactly. The real star in the Chicago front office is the scout who picked Kane/Toews. But that could’ve been the janitor.

Posted by awould on 05/27/14 at 01:17 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

It will be fun to watch Chicago in the off-season. I think Towes will sign for whatever is offered, and that they will offer him a chunk. But I do think Kane will want big money and will make a play for a payday. That could be the wildcard that cascades free agent availability. But I’m probably pipe dreaming here.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/27/14 at 01:26 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I think Towes will sign for whatever is offered, and that they will offer him a chunk. But I do think Kane will want big money and will make a play for a payday.

Therein could lie some interesting turmoil behind closed doors.  If Toews agrees to a reasonable contract, but Kane holds out wanting more money (and eventually receiving it) I could see Toews not being happy about that.  Conveniently, Pat Brisson is the agent for both Toews and Kane, which could make things easier for Bowman to please both players.

I don’t see either of them leaving though.  If one were to leave, I’d imagine it be Kane, but I don’t think it will happen.  It’s just going to come down to how many dolla billzzz they get.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/27/14 at 01:52 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Lot of bluster about this dynamic duo, but at the moment I’d rather have Kopitar and Doughty.

Posted by MoreShoot on 05/27/14 at 06:53 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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