Posted by sportsmaven on September 16, 2009
At the beginning of the week, the Chicago Blackhawks opened their fall training camp with some new faces in key places. The most prominent new face is that of newly installed General Manager Stan Bowman. Behind the scenes, lurking in the shadows is the true architect and face of the organization, the stature of William Scott Bowman, or “Scotty” as he’s affectionately known. The senior Bowman was hired in July, 2008 as Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations for the Chicago Blackhawks. Since that day, owner Rocky Wirtz and team president John McDonough have wisely, but not always smoothly, turned the reins of the hockey operations over to the 9-time Stanley Cup champion coach.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America
The first big move was a somewhat awkward firing of then-Coach Denis Savard and subsequential hiring of current Coach Joel Quenneville just four games into the 2008-2009 season. It was a move that had to be made, but it certainly wasn’t made with grace nor good timing. The last move? The “re-assignment” of former GM Dale Tallon coupled with the promotion of Stan to General Manager on July 14th, another move that was a correct move to make, but another plagued with awkwardness and questionable timing. Bowman has molded this young Blackhawks team much in the same mold as his Stanley Cup winning teams in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Montreal. In his brief tenure in Chicago, the elder Bowman has displayed his biggest asset — being able to adapt to the needs of the game today and fit personnel and coaching to those needs.
With his replacement of Tallon with his son, Stan, Bowman has again brought in new wave thinking to an organization that is desperately trying to escape it’s tractor beam-like grip of the glory days of it’s past. The younger Bowman ushers in a new, modern era in Blackhawks lore, a man whose off-ice managmement, negotiating, and analytic skills more than make up for lack of hockey playing experience. Tallon’s apparent administrative miscues were the final nails in his coffin, closing his tenure as Blackhawks GM.
The elder Bowman has filled in the hockey part of the equation, engineering the signing of RW Marian Hossa to a 12-year free agent deal, as well as the signings of C Tomas Kopecky from the Detroit Red Wings and C John Madden from the New Jersey Devils. Bowman has worked to install his winning philosophy of big, skilled two-way players that can stretch the ice and play his aggressive, pounding style of play and infusing the talent base with Stanley Cup winning players to round out the up and coming Blackhawks team.
As the Blackhawks finish day 3 of training camp, the team carries the stamp and personal marks of Scotty Bowman, from top to bottom. Wirtz, McDonough and Bowman have shown that throughout the awkwardness of their moves, they are indeed dedicated and focused on bringing a Stanley Cup Championship to Chicago as soon as humanly possible. By hiring a 9-time Stanley Cup winning coach to architect that championship, the Blackhawks mean business. If Bowman is half as good an architect as he is a coach, the Chicago Blackhawks are in for a Stanley Cup type treat.
Posted in Chicago Blackhawks | Tagged: Chicago, Chicago Blackhawks, Dale Tallon, Denis Savard, Detroit, Detroit Red Wings, Joel Quenneville, John Madden, John McDonough, Marian Hossa, Montreal, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh, Rocky Wirtz, Scotty Bowman, Stan Bowman, Stanley Cup, Tomas Kopecky | 5 Comments »
Posted by sportsmaven on July 15, 2009
The actual move was shockingly abrupt. Not a hint was stirring for a mid-summer change. But then it happened, swiftly and decisively. The move left no doubt about who is in control of this Original Six franchise. But as alarmingly quickly the Dale Tallon “re-assignment” has happened, this move was in the works the day the Chicago Blackhawks hired Scotty Bowman as Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations. Bowman’s son, Stan has been an assistant to the GM for the Blackhawks for the past 3 years and seemed heir apparent to the Blackhawks GM job. With Scotty in the fold, it marked a changing of the guard on the hockey operations side of the business and it started the clock ticking on GM Dale Tallon’s tenure in the organizational hierarchy. Some believe the firing was undeserved. It may be a sign of how the Blackhawks will now conduct business in their focused quest for a Stanley Cup Championship.
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Whatever is thought of the Tallon replacement, it definitely came across as Blackhawks President John McDonough further stamping his imprint on the organization. McDonough certainly has earned the right to make the changes he felt necessary to continue the impressive ascent of an Original Six franchise that was in complete disarray prior to his arrival. McDonough skillfully danced around tough questions regarding the change in management, citing differing approaches and the botched contract paperwork for the 8 Blackhawk free-agents as impetus for the change. Like any other GM, Tallon did some good things and not so good things. Both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune point out Tallon’s good and bad moves as a means to evaluating his effectiveness as Blackhawks GM.
Did the Chicago Blackhawks give Dale Tallon a raw deal with his re-assignment? I don’t think the move was surprising, as the writing was on the wall for the past season when the senior Bowman entered the fold. Was the timing suspect? Potentially, it was, given the move was made in advance of the Chicago Blackhawks Fan Convention, which begins this Friday. That should give fans fuel to continue questioning the move for the remainder of the summer. The paperwork snafu was the final straw, providing the perfect opportunity to make that change now heading off a more potentially messy divorce closer to the beginning of the upcoming hockey season.
Along with the manner in which former Blackhawk great and coach Denis Savard was summarily dismissed at the beginning of last season, it seems that the Blackhawks may be perceived as insensitive. The fact that both Savard and Tallon were offered and accepted other positions within the organization softens the blows tremendously and proves that the organization has made inroads with keeping former key players in their fold in their quest to win a Stanley Cup.
Posted in Chicago Blackhawks | Tagged: Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Blackhawks Fan Convention, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Dale Tallon, Denis Savard, John McDonough, Original Six franchise, Scotty Bowman, Stan Bowman, Stanley Cup | Leave a Comment »
Posted by sportsmaven on February 12, 2007
The Chicago Blackhawks were on national television today, believe it or not. So were their opponents, the Columbus Blue Jackets. How this game got on national television, i’m not sure. Both these teams entered today with losing records. So this is what the NHL wants to showcase in a limited national television opportunity? I’m not sure what the NHL braintrust (or maybe it was the networks, who knows these days?) was thinking on this one, but the Hawks game out smoking in the first period with 3 goals and hung on for a 5-4 victory in Columbus, Ohio.
(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Martin Havlat led the Hawks with 3 points on a goal and two assists. Nikolai Khabibulin back between the pipes made some key saves down the stretch to preserve this victory. The Hawks are 4-2 on the seven game roadtrip with their last game on Wed. in Pittsburgh against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Martin Havlat clearly sets the pace for this Blackhawks team. When he plays well, the team tends to play well and it shows on the scoreboard and the standings. The Hawks stuggled mightily when he missed 19 games with a high ankle injury earlier this season. The Hawks are now at .500 (15-15-5) under Denis Savard since he took over for Trent Yawney as head coach.
The goals should be simple now, get back to .500 as soon as possible and then make a push for that 8th spot in the playoffs. Currently the Hawks are 15 points out of that last spot, a longshot, but anything could happen.
Posted in Chicago Blackhawks | Tagged: Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Denis Savard, MartinHavlat, NHL, Nikolai Khabibulin, Sidney Crosby, Trent Yawney | Leave a Comment »
Posted by sportsmaven on February 8, 2007
The Chicago Blackhawks roadshow sets down in Vancouver tonight, playing the Vancouver Canucks. G Patrick Lalime makes his Blackhawks debut tonight, after 3 months on the injured list after back surgery. Lalime wastes no time making a splash by logging a shutout, joining G Brian Boucher as the only Blackhawks goalies to log shutouts this season (oh, Nikolai, Nikolai, where are you, Nikolai??) The Blackhawks have won 4 of their last 5 games after breaking a 10 game losing streak on Jan. 28th against the Calgary Flames and the United Center.
The only other shocking attribute of this game is that the Blackhawks scored 3 goals, although the last 2 goals were empty netters with under a minute left in the game. Of course, the Blackhawks power play was non-existent again tonight, going 0-3 in that department. The Blackhawks are 21-26-7 after tonight’s game and have two strong wins against Calgary and Vancouver in their road trip bank.
The Blackhawks move past the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight into 13th place in the conference, 13 pts. out of the 8th and final playoff spot with 28 games left in the season. If the Blackhawks have a run in them, it has to start now. I believe Lalime has earned another start, as Nikolai Khabibulin wasn’t even the backup tonight and has been struggling of late. It’s nice to log 2 wins in a row….would be even nicer if Coach Denis Savard can coax some consistency out of this crew…..
(Photos courtesy of AP/ESPN)
Posted in Chicago Blackhawks | Tagged: Brian Boucher, Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Denis Savard, Nikolai Khabibulin, Patrick Lalime, United Center, Vancouver Canucks | Leave a Comment »
Posted by sportsmaven on February 2, 2007
Don’t look now, but the surging Chicago Blackhawks have won two games in a row. The Blackhawks started a 7 game road trip of their own with a 3-2 win over the equally hapless Los Angeles Kings tonight in a battle of the Western Conference cellar dwellers. The Blackhawks moved 5 points ahead of the Kings in the battle for last place in the conference…..how pathetic is that?
The Hawks power play struggled yet again tonight, getting 7 power play opportunities before cashing in on their 8th power play of the game with a Jeff Hamilton goal. Martin Havlat also scored (shock) and Lasse Kukkonen scored the winning goal in OT.
I like Denis Savard as the Blackhawks coach. I believe he is a guy the Blackhawk players can relate to and he is a strong fundamental coach. He has put his time in as an assistant and knows the game well. The Blackhawks lack consistent scoring punch, with Martin Havlat as the only real threat to score at any time. Having the worst power play in the league is indicitive of the scoring problems, but this problem has got to be fixed for next season. Do whatever it takes to find another good goal scorer. Bringing in a Peter Bondra doesn’t cut it. He would be a great addition if you had some other goal scorers, but obviously Bondra’s best days as a scorer are behind him.
The Hawks also need to work on finding good defensive pairings in front of G Nikolai Khabibulin. Too many turnovers in front of the goal, uncontested shots, and what seems to be lacksidasical play in front of the goal have really killed the Blackhawks.
GM Dale Tallon is really on the hook at this point……
Posted in Chicago Blackhawks | Tagged: Chicago Blackhawks, Dale Tallon, Denis Savard, Jeff Hamilton, Lasse Kukkonen, Los Angeles Kings, Martin Havlat, Nikolai Khabibulin, Peter Bondra, Western Conference | Leave a Comment »