Blackhawks

Tampering Week: Brooks Laich

The Blackhawks are poised to make some changes after a disappointing 2010-11 season, and with cap space to spare this offseason there’s potential for some quality moves. Blackhawk Up will take a look at who’s available for Stan Bowman to pursue over the next week. However, Bowman cannot negotiate before July 1 – or should he? On the docket today is Washington Capitals’ forward Brooks Laich.

Photo: HBO

CONTRACT STATUS: Unrestricted Free Agent; $2.067 million cap hit in 2010-11 ($2.4 million salary)

2010-11 STATS

: 82 GP; 16 G; 32 A; 46 PIM; plus-14; 3 GWG, 113 hits

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Tampering Week: Brandon Dubinsky

The Blackhawks are poised to make some changes after a disappointing 2010-11 season, and with cap space to spare this offseason there’s potential for some quality moves. Blackhawk Up will take a look at who’s available for Stan Bowman to pursue over the next week. However, Bowman cannot negotiate before July 1 – or should he? On the docket today is New York Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky.

Pucker up, buttercup. (Associated Press)

CONTRACT STATUS: Restricted Free Agent; $1.850 million cap hit in 2010-11

2010-11 STATS: 77 GP; 24 G; 30 A; 100 PIM; minus-3; 2 GWG

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The Greatest Moment I Didn’t Know Happened: Happy 1-year, ‘Hawks Fans

"Yeah, you can just engrave my name right .... here." (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

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…

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Tim Calls It: What Does 2011-12 Look Like?

Photo: Chicago Breaking Sports

The Blackhawks’ off-season has begun, sooner than any of us would want, to be sure. But this is when us erstwhile robo-pundits take off our pants and open up the spreadsheets. Who is coming back? Who is being let go? Who is getting a qualifying offer, and who isn’t? Which free agents are available? Who is trade bait? And which of the farm team wanna-be’s are going to be part of the rookie class of 2011-12?

All of it makes for a worn-out keyboard, angry spouses, and sore… umm, hands…

Fortunately the news for the Chicago Blackhawks is not nearly as apocalyptic as it was last season. We were all still hung over from the Stanley Cup Championship parties when, almost without us noticing, five of our middle-tier players were shipped out of town. We’re not facing that kind of purge this year.

In fact, the real questions coming out of the Blackhawks’ camp have more to do with free agents being re-signed. We’ll get to that very soon. Let’s start with the easy stuff…

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‘Hawks sign Crawford to 3-year deal

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.

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Season Review: Channeling The Captain, Jonathan Toews

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.

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Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should

Most folks are looking at this latest Patrick Kane incident the wrong way. I’ll try to summarize. Should he be able to live his life? Should he be able to chase every bit of tail in Chicago? Should he be able to drink himself to the ER, get into fights, stiff the cabbie, or strip naked in a limo?

It doesn’t matter. That’s not the point. And as long as he’s an NHL superstar, the point is this: he’s being a fucking idiot and putting his CAREER at risk by doing this shit. Furthermore, he’s risking disappointing Blackhawks fans who expect him to be with the team for another 4 years. Let me explain.

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Raising The Bar: Norris Winner Keith Stumbles After Award

Photo: Comcast SportsNet

The Chicago Blackhawks’ defensive “crisis” in the off-season centered around Niklas Hjalmarsson, and the offer sheet dropped on his lap by traitor scum-bag shit-hole Doug Wilson, now GM of the San Jose Sharks. (You’re going to pay, Dougie — Logan Couture’s contract will expire at some point…) But once that was resolved, Blackhawks’ fans settled into the knowledge that they had arguably the best top-four defensive corps in the league, anchored by Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith.

Oh, how quickly things can change.

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A Pleasant Surprise: Corey Crawford Responds with Stellar Season

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.

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The Lesson Learned: See Ya, Marty

Photo: CBS Chicago

So you ask your girlfriend to prom, and she hems and haws for a while until right before the dance, then her dad tells you she’ll only go with you if you pay her $2.75 million dollars. So you break up with her right then and there, and she goes off to prom with some other guy, even though he only paid her $2 million and you’re the reigning Prom King. But by this time all of the hot girls are either already have dates or are going to prom at some Russian school. Your previous girlfriend was too much hassle, and you wouldn’t want to go with her anyhow — and besides, her family is moving to Switzerland.

Now what?

Well, your friend from Dallas just broke up with his girlfriend: will she go with you? And more importantly, will she put out?

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