Editor/founder of Cheer the Anthem, season ticket holder in Section 326 and full-time sports writer who lists June 9, 2010, as one of the greatest days of his life. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posts by Bartl
Last offseason became one of expected loss as Stan Bowman faced the daunting task of keeping the Blackhawks salary-cap compliant. With that and a disappointing 2010-11 season behind us, it’s time to enter another offseason of change – this one hopefully for the better.
With July 1 approaching and the ‘Hawks possessing some wiggle room under the cap, we’re going to take a look at who they may be able to afford when the time comes. However, Bowman isn’t allowed to speak to potential free agents until the clock officially strikes midnight.
That’s where Tim and I come in. We’ll be breaking down free agents over the next week (maybe longer) to determine who Bowman should risk the fine for to get a jump on other teams, and who he should leave alone until it’s legal – or at all.
Of course, we all know the Blackhawks would never dream of breaking NHL rules and couldn’t possibly ever even think of tampering with a potential free agent. However, for the sake of having some fun, let’s play along.
The posts will start shortly, but we wanted to give you the opportunity to tell us your suggestions for who the Blackhawks may pursue. Make a case and we’ll put together a post.
Fire away, ya’ll.
*Thanks to our friends at Nets are Scorching for help with the idea.
With the next goal determining either a long-awaited championship or an anything-can-happen Game 7, the last thing I ever wanted to experience was confusion.
At 10:06 p.m. on June 9, 2010, those who packed into the tiny J&M at Augusta Blvd. and Oakley were just as bewildered as I. The puck was gone, the Philadelphia Flyers looked stunned and Patrick Kane was undressing faster than a slut on prom night.
It must’ve gone in. Did it go in? I think it went in…
Breaking news via every Blackhawks beat writer on Twitter: Goaltender Corey Crawford has signed a three-year deal. A conference call is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. central time, when more details should be shared on the situation.
After the debacle with Antti Niemi following last season, it’s nice to get this done early to save for any stress. I’ll be on to update things as they come along, including the dollar amount.
UPDATE: Multiple reports say Crow’s deal is for $8 million, making his cap hit $2.6 million per season. Crawford is now making more money than Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick and Detroit’s Jimmy Howard.
Overall, this is fantastic news for the Blackhawks for a couple of reasons. First, there’s no more wondering who is going to be the starting goaltender, meaning for the first time in four seasons the ‘Hawks will enter training camp without any sort of goaltending questions. Secondly, the dollar amount is slightly more than we may have expected, but it’s not by much.
Between getting Crawford locked up and being able to do it for this price, the Blackhawks did very well on this one.
For those of you familiar with the Boxing feature here at Blackhawk Up, you’re well aware I have the extreme privilege of channeling the mind of ‘Hawks captain Jonathan Toews. Despite the fact the Blackhawks are currently making tee times, I was once again able to get into the mind of the fearless leader and read his thoughts on his individual season.
It was very difficult, I might add. Toews doesn’t much care for singling out players, including himself. If you remember when Toews skated back toward his teammates holding the Conn Smythe Trophy after the ‘Hawks won the Stanley Cup, he clearly reinforced the team accomplishment by stating, “This is for you guys.”
He’s the clear definition of the consummate team player – unselfish, willing to be the voice when needed and perfectly able to lead when asked. And, more importantly, capable of putting an entire team on his back to win for them, not just him.
That Selke Trophy nomination? Great. I’m sure he’d like to add more hardware to an already impressive collection. But it’ll never mean as much to Toews as that big silver chalice or gold medal, simply because it represents team.
Here’s a look at his season stats, followed by Toews’ season review of himself and my grade, since he’s too humble to possibly grade himself.
No time soon will Blackhawks fans forget Antti Niemi and his contributions during the Stanely Cup run last season. What many may not remember is Niemi and Corey Crawford were viewed equally for the backup goaltending job behind Cristobal Huet prior to 2009-10.
With Niemi out of AHL options and Crawford’s contract still at two-way status, Niemi may have won that job simply based off default and not talent. Rather than collecting a Stanley Cup ring, Crawford toiled in Rockford for another season and didn’t give up hope his time would come.
He got his shot this season, and what a hell of an impression he made.
Patrick Kane hasn’t always been the model citizen during his tenure with the Blackhawks. Between cabbie incidents, limo parties and random drunken photos, Kaner has put himself in positions fans – and the ‘Hawks themselves – have frowned upon.
But for all the tomfoolery, I’m stunned at the amount of discussion regarding Kane being shipped out of town. Remember, most of that partying wouldn’t have been possible without his Stanley Cup-clinching goal which sent us fans into many nights of inebriation.
His numbers speak pretty highly of his value. Kane has amassed 303 points in 317 career regular-season games, and another 48 points in 45 playoff contests. Did expectations rise among fans after the cabbie incident? After the limo party? Sure, and he responded with the most famous goal in franchise history.
I’d say those standards were met, and then some. Here’s a look at Kane’s 2010-11 numbers:
There’s no question Patrick Sharp is a very handsome man. His numbers this season were awfully attractive as well.
With secondary scoring taking a hit due to departures during the offseason, Sharp provided the Blackhawks with a boost through to his unfortunate injury toward the end of the regular season. It was evident how valuable his presence was during the stretch run, when the ‘Hawks had to fight to the final day for a playoff spot.
Here’s what Sharp did this season:
For all the deficiencies of the Blackhawks’ defense – which Tim will get to tomorrow – the offense actually played pretty well. Scoring didn’t seem to be the issue, as the ‘Hawks finished fourth in the NHL with 252 goals – just six behind league-leading Vancouver.
Jonathan Toews (76), Patrick Kane (73) and Patrick Sharp (71) each put up a good amount of points, but neither of those three will be on today’s list. The three who made up the top line for a good part of the season – plus Marian Hossa - will be reviewed on their own in the coming week.
Here’s a look at the rest, with a 4-Indian Head grade being the best.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ defense of the Stanley Cup ended a bit more prematurely than we wanted, but the wild ride had to come to an end at some point. Fortunately for you, loyal reader, the site must go on. And us idiots aren’t done yet.
Tim and I have put together a schedule of what’s to come over the next week as we review each player through different types of posts. That means we will be forcing our opinions on you for the next week – like it or not.
The forwards and defensemen will be handled with separate posts including our grades. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Corey Crawford and Marty Turco will be featured in separate, in-depth reviews.
Here’s the upcoming schedule for reviews over the next week for you to keep track:
Thursday: Sharp (morning), Seabrook (evening)
Friday: Kane (morning), Hossa (evening)
Saturday: Turco (morning), Crawford (evening)
Sunday: Off day
Monday: Keith (morning), Toews (evening)
As you have all season, hopefully you continue to check in with us idiots as we break everything down and spark some discussion amongst you folk. Also, if anyone is interested in live chats on the site for those of you following those day’s games as the playoffs continue, let me know. I’ll also post a feeler on the Facebook fan page.
Thanks again for everyone who made this such a great season by following along with us. We’re not done yet.
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When Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman decided to let Antti Niemi walk rather than match his arbitration award, the fanbase held its breath collectively.
How could Bowman not lock up the only Blackhawks goaltender in 49 years to lead the franchise to a Stanley Cup and turn to a netminder past his prime? Forget the salary-cap constraints, fans said, Niemi is the backbone the ‘Hawks needed to make another run.
Bowman instead signed Marty Turco to take Niemi’s spot in goal, though Bowman’s decision wasn’t as black and white as the critics made it seem. He didn’t choose Turco over Niemi, he chose Corey Crawford – and rightfully so.
Supposedly hamstrung after matching San Jose’s four-year, $14 million offer sheet for Niklas Hjalmarsson, Bowman simply couldn’t afford the $2.75 million salary due Niemi following the hearing. Bowman insisted he made multi-year offers to Niemi and his agent following the Cup run, but Niemi’s camp never bit and took the Blackhawks all the way to the end.
And that may have been Bowman’s plan all along.