Photo: AP

The Chicago Blackhawks’ activity level on Day 2 of free agency was even more depressing than it was on Day 1, if you can believe that. Not one signing was announced, one possible target signed elsewhere, and another perpetrated the troll of the summer on the hockey media and those following along via the Twitterscape.

And unfortunately, none of the big names did anything either, further clogging the pipes in the already stopped up basement toilet that is the 2012 free agent signing period.

The day started off with a whimper, as Hall of Fame netminder Martin Brodeur announced he was re-signing with New Jersey, the team that he has played for every game of his career. The Blackhawks were rumored to be a front-runner in that horse race, but it now appears that the entire exercise was contrived merely to coax a 2-year deal out of Devils GM Lou Lamoriello where previously he was only willing to offer a 1-year contract.

So the Blackhawks goaltending situation is not better, and is arguably worse now that Corey Crawford knows the club was willing to shift him to a backup role — or give him the boot — for a 40-year-old. This story is far from over, watch for more goaltender drama later in the summer.

The rest of the day passed quietly, at least from the Blackhawks perspective: there were no deals announced from the club. That’s most likely due to the “domino effect” caused by the two primary free agent targets, Devils C/LW Zach Parise and Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter. Nearly every team in the league has their lines cast in those ponds, and nobody is willing to sign any other major names until they know if they are going to land one of the big fish.

And so far, those fish haven’t been biting.

We had what we thought were nibbles today, which turned into what will likely go down as the biggest practical joke in NHL free agent history. The speculation on Parise was that he had narrowed his search down to just two teams. Who those teams were depended on whether you were getting your information from sources in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Philadelphia, Minnesota, or Chicago. Everyone seemed to believe they were inches away from having this mackerel in the boat.

Then, late afternoon, a breakthrough! Parise’s agent let it be known that the kid would be talking to the press in 5 minutes! QUICK! Everybody scramble, get into position, man the phones, get the cameras ready…

5 minutes turned to 10, then to 15, then the whole pow-wow was moved to the top of the hour. Then finally, Parise appeared and announced…

…that he hadn’t made up his mind yet.

So he disappeared behind the curtain, no doubt to giggle uncontrollably with his agent while re-signing with New Jersey just to piss off everyone in the hockey media. And no doubt he’ll make us all wait like that again tomorrow. But I’m going to repeat what I brought to your attention yesterday.

Parise is asking for between $20-$25 million in signing bonus money, due in the first 366 days of the contract. Does anyone see the Blackhawks plunking down that kind of coin up front? Additionally, the Blackhawks don’t get into bidding wars — PERIOD. That’s what this has turned into, with Detroit and Pittsburgh apparently pulling out all the stops to lure Parise in their direction, and Minnesota also apparently determined to make a strong push for the young forward.

Both of these facts mean the reports about Chicago being a front-runner in this race are likely hogwash. My thought is that the entire story has been concocted by insiders at the Blackhawks to make it look like the team is trying to answer fans’ demands for top-shelf free agent acquisitions to put the team back in contention. The reality is, the Blackhawks are unlikely to spend that kind of money on one player with so much cash committed to their “core of young players” already. It’s just not realistic to think anything else.

If I’m wrong, so much the better; but seriously, don’t get your hopes up, even a little. This simply isn’t happening.

And so, we wait. Parise will sign somewhere, Suter will follow shortly thereafter, and then it’s Katie bar the door. We’ll have more updates tomorrow as they happen, you’ll get the latest by following us on Twitter and “liking” us on Facebook.

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