One down, two to go.
It's no secret around the NHL that the Blackhawks have been trying to trick someone into taking Robert Lang, Martin Havlat and Nikolai Khabibulin, so kudos to GM Dale Tallon for moving Lang and even getting a draft pick in return.
Hang on to your kudos there, buddy, you might need them. Though Lang could be a headache at times, 20 goals and 60 points is nothing to dismiss, especially when he's one of exactly two veteran, scoring forwards that you have. He also chipped in some pretty big goals, and if he kept Havlat somewhat content, that's something too. His departure leaves us with ONE forward on our Top-6 with more than a year of experience, and he's made of butterflies and dreams.
Lang was no small headache for coach Denis Savard, as Lang, Havlat and David Koci - the group known as the Czech Republic - were often seen partitioned in the dressing room, speaking in their native tongue.
Koci was around for all of 10 games, but it's nice to see people bond so well so quickly, isn't it? And this was before Obama brought us all together!
If the Hawks are stuck with Havlat, at least without Lang - another veteran who didn't care to play in his own end of the ice - Havlat may have to be part of the team this year.
Yes, generally when you're stuck with something, you have make it a part of your team or self. For instance, if I'm stuck with a rash, then that rash is a part of me. I still have to explain it away to whatever blonde I'm flirting with at the bar. "Oh, it's uh, from uh, power sander cleaner. I was trying to get answers from a mob informant. Exactly, just like Weeds! Don't you just love that show?" Just like we're all stuck with you, Barry.
So that's a good start.
What is? The fact that the Hawks are now even more inexperienced at forward? Or now Havlat, who you just called lazy and a malcontent, is here to stay?
It's also, by the way, no secret in NHL circles that Anaheim GM Brian Burke wanted to leave for Toronto this summer and may still have his eye on that situation.
But if that option is gone at the end of the 2008-09 season, when Burke's contract is finished in Anaheim, don't be shocked if the Hawks make a play.
This isn't actually that ridiculous a statement. I know, I was shocked too. The Hawks do not have a hockey operations guy above Tallon, though one has to wonder if this isn't exactly what Scotty Bowman was brought in to do, without the fancy title.
New boss John McDonough probably didn't know Burke when he took the job, but we're told he knows him now and is fully aware that an extraordinary opportunity may await with Burke's contract about to run out.
More people coming together!
It would be quite a change on the West Side, as Burke is not about making friends and kissing babies. He's about physical play, standing up in your own building, and winning.
He's just the kind of front man hockey people respect and, better yet, some dislike.
"Some" dislike? No one can stand this fucker. That tends to happen when your vagina bleeds on everyone's feet when another GM, perfectly within his rights mind you, makes an offer sheet to one of your players. They're still crying about Dustin Penner! Oh, and that's after they were able to pretty much fleece the Oilers for Pronger because the missus didn't like being cold and held Kevin Lowe hostage. Good times.
The Hawks remain one of the softest and smallest teams in the league, and Burke would solve that problem instantly.
How? Turn Patrick Kane into The Incredibule Hulk? Send him to Barry Bonds's trainer? "You wouldn't like Kaner when he's angry. You get the soda."
Oh, you mean by trading prospects we no longer value for hulking forwards who can't score, the Ducks downfall last season. Todd Bertuzzi, come on down!!!
The Hawks are one of the youngest teams in the NHL, severely lacking veteran character, and Burke would alter the chemistry before his nameplate was glued on the door.
Didn't you just say that trading Lang, a veteran was a good idea? Didn't you want to put Havlat, a veteran, in his carry-on? Granted, they're not exactly "character" guys, but they actually have TALENT. Let Kevyn Adams be "character" and find me experience on HOW TO SCORE. Generally, that's how the NHL decides who won or lost a game, but how many goals you score. I'm sure Bettman would love to decide games by market size, but he hasn't gotten there yet.
Despite the awkward, summer-long victory parade down Michigan Avenue, the team hasn't sniffed the playoffs since 2002 and has participated in the postseason once since 1997.
Trumpeting last season's improvement as a grand achievement and reason for ticker tape is an odd way of teaching young players what genuine success is in the NHL, a perpetration of a sham Burke would never allow.
Did I miss something? Was there a parade? Floats? Smiling models waving? The only things I've ever seen Hawks fans, and any writer who knows anything, get excited about was that A) The Hawks were a bona-fide organization again and B) They had a team much better than anything in years and with the potential to get much better. Nowhere did anyone think this was a satisfactory finish or feel as if we accomplished anything. The excitment is in reference to the idea that maybe this team COULD accomplish something. Maybe Barry had his own parade. And ask Johathan Toews if he think last year was a success, or Kane or Sharp or Keith, and see if their first sentence isn't, "Well, we didn't make the playoffs."
Now, based on how good they've repeatedly told us they are, we fully expect the Hawks to win a minimum of two playoff series next spring. So with progression like that, no one need fear for their jobs even if Burke comes aboard.
Is that the Royal We, Mr. Rozner? Who has said that, anywhere? Most predictions I've seen have the Hawks between the 6-8th seed. Most fans think that's about right, too. And where is this organizational trumpeting? All they've said is they've gotten better, and it's hard to argue with the addition of Campbell and Huet. You might expect that, Sir Rozner, but you're an idiot.
Playoffs or not, Burke could only benefit an organization that is nearing a half-century without a Stanley Cup.
He won his 15 months ago.
Ah yes, the championship-justifies-all argument. That Cup he won 15 months ago? Almost had nothing to do with Burke. No, really, it didn't. Getzlaf, Giguere, Perry, Kunitz, Penner, Pahlsson, all were drafted or acquired by someone else. Selanne wouldn't sign anywhere else. Neidermayer only came because his brother was there, as pointed out by a post on the 300 Level. We'll give you Pronger, but again, wife. And letting Niedermayer and Selanne on vacation last year forced him to swap McDonald for Doug Weight. Let us know how that looks in two years.
What's exciting about the Hawks is they have a chance for a sustained term as a contender. Burke would almost assuredly forfeit that for a one-time run. If that worked, great. If not, you're fucked. Without any of the customary fun. We'd never argue Tallon is a genious, and new GM and/or president may be necessary very soon. But if Rozner's championing his cause, then scratch him off the list.