Misc Blackhawks news, notes and thoughts

25 Apr

Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman, seen here

Thinks Marion Hossa will be just fine with a full recovery in time for next season.

“We’ve had a lot of similar type injuries with players in the past,” Bowman said Wednesday. “It’s too hard to predict the recovery time on these things. There is no reason to think he’s any different than any other player that has that type of injury. We’re very optimistic that he’s going to be back.”

“We don’t approach that any differently than a different injury,” Bowman said. “We’re here in April and training camp doesn’t open until September. That’s a lot of time to be rested and prepared and training in the offseason.”

Bowman also concedes that the goaltending for the Blackhawks was not good enough.

“Our goaltending in general was not our strength,” Bowman said on Wednesday. “I don’t think it’s fair to lay the blame on one player. You win as a team, you lose as a team. I think we need to be stronger defensively and that includes our team commitment to defense, not simply the goaltending and not simply the defensemen.”

As far as looking for help on the free agent market:

“You don’t rule anything in or out,” he said. “We’re always trying to improve our team.”

Bowman also indicated that there would be no changes to the hawks “core” players.

Coach Joel Quenneville seems more open to some changes.

“You have a nice core here, a nice group of guys here,” he said after Bowman spoke to the media. “They give you a chance every year to win a championship. Whether it’s a tweak or you want to do more than that, but that’s something good to talk about.”

Here is where things get interesting.  Despite the fact that most hockey experts, the majority of Hawks fans and general NHL fans all agree that the Hawks need a 2nd line center…..Bowman doesn’t.  He seems to think that # 88 is a great fit.

“Our team’s best record, and it coincided with Patrick’s best performance, was when he was in the middle,” Bowman explained. “Patrick carried our team the last month or five weeks of the season. He kind of put us on his back and got us into the playoffs. He stepped up and was our No.1 center for all those weeks. … I think the notion that he can’t play center or isn’t good at center has been dispelled. Not only did our team play well when he was in the middle, he played well. He had his most productive time when he was there.”

Remember when he would talk about Patrick Sharp that way?  He would remind all of us that they won the cup with Sharp as a number 2 center.  Of course that was when our team was so deep it didn’t really matter.  We’re not that team anymore and now for some reason Kane has become the new Sharp.

When asked if he would look to the free agent market for a center Bowman said

“Kane in the middle is certainly better than any other center that’s available.”

TTS will explore free agents that are available in a later post.

What about the relationship between GM and Head Coach?  Plenty of eyebrows were raised when director of pro personnel Barry Smith was added to help the coaching staff for a while.  He was on the ice helping run drills.  Jobs normally done by the coaching staff.  He ran a lot of special teams drills too, an area that plagued the Hawks all season.  Barry used to be Scotty Bowman’s right hand man during his coaching days.

“We have great communication back and forth,” Bowman said. “We see things similarly in terms of things that need improvement. … Our relationship wasn’t strained at all. … Obviously there was a challenge when we had the long losing streak — if anything we came together as a unit.”

Coaching changes are up to Quenneville according to Bowman.  But he doesn’t sound happy concerning the special teams.

“The results speak for themselves,”  “They were a huge disappointment this year. It’s unacceptable to have the caliber of players we have and not have it work. Ultimately we have to improve that.”

They sure do.  How can that “core” be so poor at the power play?  If the Hawks were better than 1-19 in the first round against Phoenix then they would probably be playing in Nashville in round 2.

Expect Duncan Keith to play in the World Championships for Team Canada this spring.

“I’m really excited to go there and play,” Keith said. “I would have liked to have gone last year.”

I’m hoping that Bowman is using a poker face by not saying more about obtaining help for the goalie and center positions.  It wouldn’t be prudent to come out and say yeah we need them bad.  As a buyer, that would put him at a disadvantage.  However, he said Sharp was fine at center and that he wouldn’t get one and he didn’t.  He just put a different Patrick in the slot.  How many more Patrick’s are on this team to try at center?  Aren’t they running out of them?

Question:  How many Patrick’s does it take to fill in the 2nd line center slot for the Blackhawks?  If you know, let me know.

Back with more soon.

TTS

PS, quotes are from ESPN

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