Take it easy, fellas.

I know things look different compared to our last shop, trust me. It’s been a whirlwind few days as Tim, Brandon and I moved here from Blackhawk Up. We refused to let the move get in the way of providing our random idiocy to the loyal followers, so here we – locked and loaded.

Unfortunately, the shift came as Stan Bowman decided to revamp the roster, leaving us out of the loop on the Web to providing our thoughts. Since you’ve heard most everyone else’s already, I’ll summarize mine best I can. The main thing I want to talk about is our new home, which I’ll get to here in a few minutes. Let’s get started:

Brian Campbell, Tomas Kopecky dealt to Florida; Troy Brouwer to Washington

I’m going to start with Campbell, because I’m pretty sad to see that full head of red hair head to The Land of White Shoes. There’s been plenty of talk for a couple years regarding Campbell’s cap hit and how the Blackhawks need to rid themselves of it. At one point, I felt the same way. Then I realized at the times he went down with injuries the ‘Hawks were most always worse without him. With Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and to a point Brent Seabrook taking major, major steps backward last season, Campbell often played as the Blackhawks’ best defenseman. When a guy who isn’t your overall best player but is being paid like he’s your best player, fans become uneasy.

The problem with Campbell’s contract is that he never stood a chance to live up to it – even if he did everything right. Granted, he didn’t. There were times we all wanted to hang him from the Michael Jordan statue with no remorse. Most of that animosity, though, was because of the cash. No one could look past it. I’m going to tell you right now, you’re going to want it back. I’m actually looking forward to the, “We need Campbell back!” comments that will roll in here.

Oh, and the locker room/continuity issue? There goes a veteran voice out the door – one of the only voices who spoke the truth, along with Jonathan Toews. While the rest of the ‘Hawks were saying versions of, “We’ll be fine, We know what we have to do,” Campbell was calling out the team. Not going to be easy to replace.

The man who signed Campbell to that contract, former ‘Hawks GM Dale Tallon, was dying to get him to the Panthers for a couple reasons. First, he obviously loves Campbell’s style of play. The all important second reason is because Florida has to add some payroll to reach the $48 million salary cap floor. That led to Bowman shipping the rights to Tomas Kopecky over to Tallon, who signed him and Marian Hossa on July 1, 2009.

Tallon proceeded to get even closer to the cap minimum by overpaying the living shit out of Kopecky to the tune of four years and $12 million – an amount of money not a single soul donning red would ever, ever come close to paying. There’s plenty of things Kopecky did for the ‘Hawks, but he did absolutely none of them extremely well. He cashed in by scoring a career high in points, largely due to an increase roll when the ‘Hawks were fumbling with injuries. Good riddance, in my opinion.

Where I’m a bit hesitant and shocked is the deal of Troy Brouwer to the Capitals for a first-round pick. Never did I think Bowman would snag a first-rounder for Brouw, and part of me really thought he’d be back. There was a lot of under-performing going in with Brouwer, and that made it hard for me to determine what type of contract he’d be getting. Apparently Bowman thought it would be too much to fit into his plans for free agency and shipped him off.

Brouwer made comments on “The Danny Mac Show” regarding some “frustration” coming from his former teammates. Can’t say I blame them. Here we thought the ‘Hawks would be doing more adding than subtracting after last season’s shit storm, but we’re right back to more new faces. Speaking of…

What will the Blackhawks do starting Friday?

Free agency begins, and the ‘Hawks have some extra cap room. I was able to save my heart attack for a later date when Vancouver re-signed Kevin Bieksa so the Bowman couldn’t pursue him. And if Tomas Kaberle is wearing an Indian head next season, I may kill myself.

Brooks Laich would have been nice, but he re-signed in Washington for the six years. An offer sheet to Andrew Ladd? I can’t see Winnipeg letting its captain walk before even donning the jersey. I’m dying for a play on Chris Drury, which many may not agree with. Drury is solid and cheap and can provide a hell of a presence on the fourth line.

With Campbell gone, Bowman will definitely sign a defenseman, and I’m all aboard the Steve Montador bandwagon. Ed Jovanovski will want too much dough, even coming off an injury-filled season. Montador can provide some toughness needed back there with Hjalmarsson and Chris Campoli wearing pink slippers a good chunk of the time. On top of that, Bowman won’t have to break the bank to get him.

It’s gonna be an interesting day/couple of days in the United Center offices.

UPDATE: I posted earlier about the ‘Hawks acquiring Montador’s negotiating rights, but I wrote this prior to that. You’ll be fine.

The Draft – Who did the ‘Hawks get?

I’m not going to pretend like I know anything about these guys because I don’t. I’ve never seen them play, and I’m going to start blowing smoke up your ass. All I can tell you is what I’ve read and what I’ve seen on YouTube highlights, and you can do all that yourselves. Mark McNeill was taken at No. 18, followed by Phillip Danault at No. 26 with Washington’s pick from the Brouwer deal.

What I do know is that Brandon Saad was slated to go in the Top 20 by many experts, but he slipped to the Blackhawks at No. 43. Sounds like the ‘Hawks got a steal, but we likely won’t know for a couple of years.

Welcome to Cheer The Anthem, our new home

The move from Blackhawk Up was one good both for ourselves and for FanSided, which runs a fantastic network. They’re looking for a new staff on the site, so be sure to head over there if you’re interested in taking over in our old digs. We were looking to go independent, and we parted ways on good terms as professionals.

We’re very proud of putting together Cheer The Anthem in such a short time. The name is obviously unique to the Blackhawks’ tradition before games, which fits in perfectly with what we wanted. There are no more random ads to worry about and the look is a little bit easier on the eyes, which we wanted.

On top of that, all of our content written at Blackhawk Up is here with us on Cheer The Anthem. My old “Boxing” posts, Tim’s “Tampon Twins” references and Spinner’s Daily Espo are all a search away.

Simply, expect nothing less than what we brought you at Blackhawk Up. We’re going to make you laugh, piss you off and ultimately entertain you as much as possible. If you’re not having at least some fun, neither are we. So be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, found to the right.

Also, you can comment by simply being logged into Facebook. It’s very simple, so have at it.

Time to get nuts, ‘Hawks fans. ‘Til Friday…