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 email@example.com.
Posts by Bartl
Rather than the standard previews of Central Division foes from an outsider’s point of view, I decided to take a different approach. This week, Behind Enemy Lines will take a look at our divisional rivals through the eyes of those invested in the team in one way or another. Today, it’s the Nashville Predators and Dirk Hoag, who runs the fantastic blog, On the Forecheck
Bartl: The major development surrounding the Predators quite obviously was the Shea Weber arbitration award, which set a new record. However, the situation dragged on for a good amount of time, with each side very far off on their requested salary. With no long-term contract, does this situation become a distraction for Weber or the team during the season?
Dirk: Absolutely, this will be a distraction hanging over the team until some long-term resolution is found. You can bet that media will ask about this situation in every NHL city the Preds visit, and the Canadian media in particular will speculate often about how their Olympic hero would look great playing north of the border. When the going gets tough during the season, Weber’s captaincy will naturally come into question – how does it look when your team leader couldn’t even agree on a one-year contract with the team? All those questions and more will be fair game.
Once upon a time, Patrick Sharp was a seldom-used center for the Ken Hitchcock-led Philadelphia Flyers, toiling to the tune of roughly eight minutes of ice time per night.
After 66 games, 10 goals and five different jersey numbers, then-general manager Bobby Clarke decided Sharp was expendable and started shopping the former third-round draft pick.
Philadelphia seemed set with 21-year-old Jeff Carter, veteran Peter Forsberg, R.J. Umberger, Mike Richards and Michal Handzus at the center position and were determined to add depth at the wing.
Little did Clarke know Sharp possessed enough skill at each position, and on Dec. 5, 2005, Dale Tallon pulled off a steal.
“Patrick is a natural center, not a wing, and we have too many centers,” Hitchcock said. “That’s all this is about. We had too many centers.”
WGN Radio and the big-boy credentialed guys on Twitter are reporting Patrick Sharp has signed a 5-year extension. No money has been thrown around, though Tim Sassone makes the point it likely won’t exceed the $6.3 million cap hit for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
We’ll have more details as the story progresses, but this is an early gift from Stan Bowman as we all pretty much figured this would happen during the season.
UPDATE (12:07 p.m.):
UPDATE (3:36 p.m.):
The press conference has sealed the deal, with Sharp getting a 5-year, $29.5 million contract – a bargain given his versatility and all-around game. There’s much talk about how amazing it is to have 17 players already signed for 2012-13 and one of the best cores in the game locked up for a long period of time, and I agree. However, looking that far ahead is pretty futile given things change at the drop of a hat at times. I will say that it sounds great, but lets get focused on the task at hand: 2011-12.
On the surface, a No. 8 seed and first-round playoff exit seems downright horrific following a Stanley Cup championship a year earlier.
Dig deeper, sift through the preseason overhaul due to cap constraints, and you’ll likely find the Blackhawks’ 2010-11 season most deemed a miscarriage may not be so terrible after all.
The 97 points are more than any No. 8 seed since the NHL did away with divisional playoffs and the Campbell and Prince of Wales conferences prior to the 1993-94 season. That stretch includes the shootout era which began after the 2004-05 lockout, guaranteeing one team will receive two points in every game on the league’s schedule.
That’s nothing to apologize for in my book, especially since a victory over Detroit on the regular season’s final day would have given the Blackhawks the No. 5 seed. If you want to talk numbers, then look at them all – One more win, and there may have been a lot less complaining from the fan base.
I honestly can’t believe this is my third year doing this. But alas, it will never get old quoting Seinfeld. With the Blackhawks making some significant moves to revamp the team and Patrick Kane being in the news once again, it’s time to let Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine take the reins.
Part I in 2009 featured quotes such as: “Well you know when you break up and say things you don’t mean? Well he says the mean things you don’t mean and he means them,” dedicated to Martin Havlat and his Twitter escapades.
Part II in 2010 brought you: “Have you ever been through an audit? It’s the financial equivalent of a complete rectal examination,” referencing the Capocolypse.
Let’s see what’s in store for Part III, with events in no particular order …
The main problem I’ve had during this offseason for the Blackhawks begins and ends with my four days spent in Boston two weekends ago, when for four days I witnessed Bruins fans with hats and t-shirts bearing their latest accomplishment.
That’s it. Everything else has been smooth, even with Patrick Kane having surgery to fix a broken bone in his wrist. Compared to the Capacolypse beginning mere days after the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory, Stan Bowman has given us a very a nice 2011 summer.
To clear my opinion quickly regarding Kane’s injury, calm the flying hell down. If anything, celebrate the fact it was caught at the perfect time to fit in the requisite surgery and recovery time. I broke my wrist in high school and was back on the basketball court at full strength less than a week after the cast was removed. He’s still a kid and recovers much quicker than if, say, Andrew Brunette would if he snapped his wrist. He’ll heal, and we won’t be thinking about this anymore after he’s a point-per-game forward again this season.
It’s the little drama we’ve experienced as fans during an offseason we should be thankful for heading into the season. After Kane’s offseason from hell in 2010, we should be extra thankful he discovered an injury while working out. The Blackhawks are a better team than when Game 7 ended, and that’s what everyone should be thinking about leading up to this quiet time until training camp.
The shift in leverage for Chris Campoliwith the Chicago Blackhawks has been pretty dramatic in a little more than a week.
When Stan Bowman dealt Brian Campbell to Florida on draft night, it seemed Campoli had the ‘Hawks by the babymaker. No other defensemen within the organization to promote worthy of a second-pairing spot and, hell, none seemingly even ready to make the jump to the big club. It looked as if Campoli would be able to demand a significant raise and get it, given the lack of NHL-ready defensive depth.
Then came July 1, followed by a salary abitration filing Tuesday. With plenty of defensive personnel now signed, what’s next for the man whose nuts are surprisingly still attached after committing The Turnover in Game 7?
When fan of the site Jennifer Ciepley contacted me back in April about her husband’s 92-year-old grandfather, I was touched with a wonderful story about a man who is the true definition of an American hero.
Before Game 6 against the Vancouver Canucks, World War II veteran Norval Nelson stood next to Anthem singer Jim Cornelison as the crowd cheered every word. Jennifer gave me the story behind Mr. Nelson, and I felt the need to write a post detailing his experiences as one of the few surviving U.S. Navy divers during the D-Day invasion June 6, 1944.
Jennifer informed me through email Mr. Nelson died Saturday, surrounded by his three daughters after passing away peacefully in his sleep.
Mr. Nelson’s family likely won’t forget the night he was able to be honored by the Chicago Blackhawks’ wonderful tradition, and Jennifer wrote of how much fun Mr. Nelson had that evening.
Here’s to a true American hero. Thank you for everything, Mr. Nelson.
Have a fun and safe 4th, everyone.
You’ve got to hand it to Stan Bowman if you’re a fan of a veteran presence.
After rolling through a disappointing season with an extremely young roster, Bowman added Jamal Mayers (36), Sean O’Donnell (39) and Andrew Brunette (37) to go along with Steve Montador (31).
It’s quite obvious the Blackhawks are trying to balance out the locker room by adding tough, no-nonsense veterans to a roster which didn’t seem to understand the magnitude of their failures last season.
While Duncan Keith admitted packing it in and most others continued with their versions of, “We’ll be fine,” the team pretty much fell apart and nearly missed the playoffs, which would have given Chicago an increased suicide rate.
Now, with a locker room full of guys who likely won’t take much shit, there aren’t many excuses.
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.