This flap over the terms of Marian Hossa's contract smacks of jealousy on the part of some other NHL teams. Should retirement have been discussed in the Hawks-Hossa negotations? Why not? That's part of signing a star player to a long-term deal. He won't have to change teams in the twi-light of his career. That's a plus to the player as well as the team and giving a front-loaded contract (like Hossa has) isn't a way to CIRCUMVENT the salary cap; it's a way to WORK with it.
July 2009 Archives
Tony Amonte was the Hawks' captain when I made my debut on the Blackhawks' beat. His career was on the downside then, in 2001, and he later moved on to Phoenix and then finished up at Calgary. While Amonte had 900 points in 1,174 games over 15 NHL seasons, it's best to remember him for his national team play. He was on two U.S. Olympic teams, including the silver medalists in 2002, and had 33 points wearing the U.S. uniform. No question Amonte's selection to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame was no surprise. Congratulations, Tony.
It's all well after the fact now, but the New York Post claims the Hawks had a deal with the Caps set up a month into last season -- Michal Nylander for Nikolai Khabibulin -- but that McDonough nixed it. Well, the Hawks were interested in Nylander but his salary was a stumbling block. At that time, though, the deal might have made sense. As things turned out, it's good that deal (if in fact there was one) fell through -- for whatever reason. There's also an Internet mention that Steve Yzerman wanted the Hawks' GM job. Don't know what to make of that one, but makes for good discussion.
Yes, Dale Tallon is a good guy and the Hawks improved with him as the general manager. Should he have been demoted? I don't know, but I was more passionately against the decision to dismiss Denis Savard as head coach only four games into last season. I'm still not so sure the Hawks wouldn't have had just as good a season with Savard in charge as they did with Quenneville. But, of course, we'll never know. I do think the Hawks, and especially John McDonough, did a good job of downplaying the Tallon issue at their fan convention. It shouldn't be a distraction in what promises to be another exciting, successful season. Allowing the Tallon issue to fester wouldn't be a good thing.
I like Marty Havlat, but I'm surprised by his suddenly outspoken style regarding his days with the Hawks. While here he didn't say much. Now that he's with Minnesota on a nice new contract he's suggesting shady behind-the-scenes activity in the Hawks' front office. He paints John McDonough as the villain, and I can't see it. This is a player who wanted to remain a Hawk but couldn't. His feelings were hurt and he's having trouble moving on. Hossa will be a more-than-adequate replacement for him.
Here's how I size up the Blackhawks' latest front-ice move:
Should Tallon have been fired? It would have happened sooner or later, since Tallon was more a part of the old regime, and last week's fiasco involving the contracts of eight restricted free agents was a good reason. It probably cost the club several million dollars to straighten that mess out.
Is Stan the man for the job? Well, he's certainly paid his dues and he comes from good stock. When it comes to knowing hockey I'd never second-guess Scotty Bowman. Hopefully father has passed on that wisdom to his son.
Kyle Beach is healthy at this Hawks' prospects camp, and he seems to be maturing. The key now is his skating, and the Hawks are sending him to Boston for most of the summer to train under skating coach Paul Vincent. Could this make him NHL-ready just two years after he was the first-round draft pick (11th overall) in 2008? The Hawks have a tough lineup to crack now, but Beach has a chance.