• Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    Kings roster is pretty solid for next season. The only big question is Gaborik. By 2015 they need to resign several players, including Tofolli, Clifford, Stoll, and Williams, and the following season Kopitar and Lewis,

    Hard to see them not getting most of that done. Like the Hawks, they are built to contend for years.

    This season, the Hawks entered play with a couple of obvious holes in the lineup. Given what ALMOST happened this year, the future looks very bright.

    Rest of the league may have to resign themselves to chasing LA and Chicago.

    So yes, let’s have all the dynasty talk aimed at LA, thank you for putting that monkey on THEIR back this year.

    • HawkIPA

      I have a feeling this is just the start of a pretty amazing rivalry. We could have 2 or 3 more of these series. Great time to be a hockey fan in Chicago and LA.

    • YoAdrienne

      I like how you think. Yep. Enjoy your monkey, Kings. Personally, I think they overachieved this year, so that monkey will extra heavy. And, if Stan does a decent job of filling the holes the Hawks have, even the Kings will be chasing them right along with everyone else.

  • TitanTransistor

    Well, it looks like Vegas has finally wised up to the facts that A) the Penguins just aren’t that great, and B) that repeating as Stanley Cup champion is really fucking hard, so betting on the previous year’s SC winner isn’t a great bet.

    As far as the Kings dynasty, they’ve won 2 cups in 3 years and been to the WCF three years in a row. That’s probably as close to a dynasty as we’re ever going to see in the cap era (and scarily enough, they could improve it since they look like a good shot to make it to at least the WCF again next year). I have no problem calling them a dynasty, because demanding the same standards of the term that we used back when the rules for creating and maintaining a team were completely different is idiotic IMO.

    The Hawks almost beat a Kings team that is 4-lines deep with 2.5 lines and horrific goaltending from Crawford (who was great up til that series) so there’s plenty of reason to believe they are in a good position to contend with the Kings for the future…

    but I’m a bit pessimistic of late as to the chances that Bowman and Q intelligently address the holes in the roster this year. They had plenty of opportunity last year, and neither made particularly smart moves in that regard. It’s not entirely unlikely we see the exact same bullshit again next season, with Q benching younger players for their first minor mistake, while letting older, slower veterans get exploited repeatedly cause ‘experience’, and Stanbow not only allowing it, but scooping up more old toys for him to use instead of forcing him to push through the growing pains for the long-term benefit of the team.

    • The Other One

      Wow – you sure armchair quarterbacked the shit out of that, didn’t you? You do remember that the Cap went down at the beginning of this past year, right? So there went the depth…

      I think Stan and Q did what they could – the summer cuts we logical, the Versteeg pickup looked good until the miles added up on his rehabbing knee, and Morin proved himself pretty one-dimensional. So with that, what moves would you have made (for last year)?

      Finally – Q doesn’t reflexively bench younger players for their first mistake, just when they repeat them. And as proof, see Shaw, Saad and Smith as examples. Pirri, Morin, and Hayes (etc) just had fatal flaws for this system.

      • TitanTransistor

        Yes, Morin sure was fatally flawed compared to Versteeg, who was brought in at 2.2 million to take his place. Thank god we made THAT upgrade instead of focusing on addressing the clear issue with center depth and giving a young player enough rope to adjust and grow (like a certain LA team did with a player like Pearson – who’s AHL stats btw, are not far removed from Morin’s). Kane performed better with Pirri on his line than he ever did with Handzus… didn’t stop Q from continuing to try and jam that square peg in the round hole though.

        You claim the cap lowering was an issue, yet playing Morin, Pirri, etc would have been a cheaper option than resigning Handzus at 1 million and trading for Versteeg at 2.2 million. Cap management doesn’t work as a rationale when the alternative is CHEAPER.

        It gets even better when you consider that without the ridiculous Khabi contract, without the Versteeg contract, the Hawks could have kept Frolik, and we could have had a functional 4th line devoid of worthless Bollig (who’s continued use despite <5 minutes of ice time is indefensible).

        • The Other One

          I give you that Khabi was a dubious move, but in his defense, Stan and Q wanted to go with someone they knew, rather than someone they didn’t (and he did have a decent season in Edmonton the year prior). I’m pretty sure that he went on LTIR before Versteeg was reacquired.

          As for Versteeg, he was reacquired out of versatility and familiarity. He would have been a solid pickup if he were 2010 Steeger, not 2013 rehabbing Steeger. He played at almost .5pts per game, which was better than Fro. When he was with the Hawks in 2010, he was on the PK, and this year, he wasn’t. He was a ghost of himself, but that wasn’t evident until late in the year (and if you think you had that pegged, you didn’t).

          As for Pirri and Morin – they got tryouts, but they didn’t work. One was traded and one probably will be. Kane didn’t perform better with Pirri – he performed well with him for a few games (maybe 5-7) and then they both disappeared, which helped Perri disappear for good. Pirri wasn’t the answer. The Hawks had gotten by on “plug a 2nd line center” and they were a bad bounce from getting by on it again.

          Finally, Bollig was going to play anyway, whether we wanted him to or not, and he’s going to play in 2014/2015. Q can’t live without him and hopefully he improves.

          • TitanTransistor

            “Finally, Bollig was going to play anyway, whether we wanted him to or not, and he’s going to play in 2014/2015. Q can’t live without him and hopefully he improves.”

            And with mindsets like this, you question why I might question this organizations willingness and ability to fill the holes in the roster that ultimately proved their undoing?

            “Yeah, this guy is terrible and we can’t count on him to play more than 5 minutes a game in the playoffs, but fuck it, we’re going to sign him to a 100% raise for 3 years and continue to play him instead of giving the slot to players with a higher ceiling.”

            Hardly seems like a winning strategy.

            So just to be clear regarding Pirri, he can dry up offensively for the span of a few weeks and be kicked down to rockford, while Handzus can be offensively dry for the entire year, but continue to get top line minutes? That doesn’t sound like a ridiculous double standard to you? I’m not even the biggest Pirri fan, but the notion that Handzus was a better option as a 2C for Kane doesn’t pass muster. At worst it’s a lateral move, and best case scenario he gets more comfortable and starts ascending towards the ceiling his talent affords.

            “As for Versteeg, he was reacquired out of versatility and familiarity. He would have been a solid pickup if he were 2010 Steeger, not 2013 rehabbing Steeger.”

            As far as the rehab goes, I’ll wait and see, but unless Versteeg’s brains are located in his knees, I don’t think it’s going to make a huge difference. Less, a lack of speed was apparent at times, but that wasn’t nearly as much of an issue as his brain-dead decisions with the puck. Repeated brain-dead decisions, and yet he continued to get ice-time throughout the season despite mistakes and plays far more egregious than anything Morin did in his time. Again, double standard.

            Frolik didn’t play in a top 6 or even top 9 role. He transformed himself into a defensive and PK specialist, so it makes sense his PPG would go down as a result. Given his role and the weaknesses that ended up sinking the Hawks, Frolik on the 4th line would have been a more noteable improvement to the roster than Versteeg on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd line.

            Picking up Versteeg for ‘familiarity’ speaks to my anxiety regarding this management team right now. It looks repeatedly like a coach refusing to give appropriate opportunities and rope for young players when he’s not absolutely forced to due to injury or extreme cap issues following 2010. And a GM that cow-tows to his whims, even if there are more obviously pressing issues.

            I don’t think anybody had Versteeg being terrible pegged, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was an unnecessary pick-up to shore up a position that the Hawks were already strong in. We have plenty of skilled wingers, Q just decided he wasn’t going to play them and let them grow and develop in the same way that LA did with Tofolli and Pearson. So instead of trying to shore up the 2C position, Stan cow-tows to Q, clogs up our cap with 2.2 million of extra winger, and then as a result the best we can afford at the deadline is Regin (who, Q refused to play despite the fact he outperformed expectations).

            The Hawks ended the 2013-2014 season with the exact same roster issues they began the season with. So yeah, I question whether or not they’ll finish in 2015 with the exact same issues they begin with.

          • The Other One

            You’re right, the sky is falling. This team is fucked. Every move should be second-guessed and we should give up on them because they didn’t win the Cup. What was a I thinking?

            One question for you – why do you keep changing your screen names and avatars?

          • TitanTransistor

            I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

            I never said the sky was falling and everything is fucked. Do you only deal in extremes and black and white? Get ahold of yourself.

            I said I question the ability for this coach/management team to fill the holes on this roster given their moves the last season. Given that the only response you could muster was a snarky strawman, I take you don’t have much substance to argue with.

            We’ll have to agree to disagree I guess.

          • The Other One

            You can’t hear yourself, can you – which is why everyone on the board took umbrage with what you were saying in your opening post. You want to rip “what wasn’t”, rather than appreciate “what was”. Do I wish they would have won? Hell yes! Would I have done anything different? Most likely, yes. But I’m just a fan, so my ideas don’t really count.

            My point is… I trust in Stan and Q. Is every move they make going to be a hit? No, but this team isn’t a one-hit wonder. They’ll be back.

            That’s the crux of our disagreement.

    • pepe_silvia

      I don’t know what series you watched, but Crawford’s goaltending wasn’t even close to “horrific”.

      • TitanTransistor

        Agree to disagree. IMO there was pretty much at least one soft goal per game, and his rebound control was apocalyptically bad.

        Doesn’t mean I hate Crawford or think he’s a bad goalie. He just had a bad series. It happens.

        Quick was pretty much just as bad though.

      • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

        Crow was our MVP through the first two rounds. Most of the goals he gave up against LA came with a King (or two) parked right in his crease with seeming immunity.

    • Oldfarthawkfan

      Horrific goaltending by Crawford? He didn’t always stand on his head, but go back and look at all the goals that were scored. I would say bad defensive play more than horrific goaltending. If he was so horrific, this series wouldn’t of gone 5 games let alone 7.

      • TitanTransistor

        Why can’t it be both? The defense was bad and so was Crawford.

        That doesn’t mean Crawford is a bad goalie, it means he had a bad series. And the Hawks still came close to winning by virtue of their top-end offensive talent.

    • HawkIPA

      This is pretty damn fatalistic.This year’s roster could have been managed a lot better, but let’s keep some perspective here–even this 3 line team was a bounce away from another Cup. Stan and Q also put together the 2013 juggernaut and they’re not that far off from putting the right pieces in place for another run. I expect that the Hawks will have a stronger, faster roster and will meet the Kings again in the WCF. Nothing is fucked here, dude.

      • TitanTransistor

        I never said things were fucked. I said that considering how well the Hawks did playing essentially 2.5 NHL-caliber lines, there’s plenty to be optimistic about.

        I just question whether or not the holes that will take them from contender to dominant will be addressed by the coach and management. I hope they are.

    • To Saad be the glory

      Horrific goaltending?? It was the Hawks D that was horrific blowing lead after lead. Actually the goalie that was “horrific” hoisted the cup this year. If LA fans want to think that Quick is the one to keep carrying them to the promised land year after year,thats fine with me. Im happy with Crow.

      • TitanTransistor

        Both goalies were bad in the series. Crawford’s rebound control was particularly terrible though. A lot of LA’s ‘fortunate bounces’ came as a direct result of him kicking pucks out into the slot like pinball machine.

        I have no problem with Crow going forward. I think he’s better than he played in that one series.

        And yes, the defense was bad. But the defense on the Hawks was rather inconsistent and passive the entire year – they gave up leads very frequently, not just in the playoffs. …just another issue that the coaching staff failed to address that came back to bit them.

  • Oldfarthawkfan

    Q’s bankey is not going to be back. Handzus told is not returning

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      He’s still got Bollig to keep the boogie man in the closet.

  • JB from PA

    I’m thinking sign Raanta for multiple years and send him down to Rockvegas. Sign Cam Ward as a more than competent back-up/insurance policy. Sign Brian Boyle for 2C and PK. No idea how all that fits into the cap or any of that stuff but that’s how I’m gonna play it on the PS3 until the dust settles on the new roster. LOL

    • guesthouse

      I think that will have to stay on the PS3

    • MySpoonIsTooBig

      1) I’m on board with signing Raanta for multiple years and sending him down to start in Rockvegas, I’m of the opinion that a season (at least) of starting in the A would be infinitely better for his development than backing up and only playing 1 game out of every 9 or 10 in the NHL.

      2) Cam Ward is not a free agent. Carolina is shopping him (though he holds a full NTC and can veto any trade) but I highly doubt ownership is even entertaining the idea of buying him out. He’s got 2 more years at a $6.3M cap hit, even if Carolina eats half of his salary in a trade (the max allowable, which I don’t think they’ll do anyways) that’d be $3.15M and have the ‘Hawks with over $9M locked up in goaltending. No thank you. IF he were bought out (which he won’t be) and IF he were willing to take under $2M to be a backup (which he won’t) then I’d be all for it. But if you believe there’s any chance of that happening then I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d love to sell you.

      3) Brian Boyle as 2C? Fuck no. Boyle was a 3rd/4th liner and PK specialist on the Rangers, and that’s what he maxes out as. He’s about as marginal an upgrade over Handzus at 2C as imaginable.

  • MikeMaloney

    I ain’t got no dog in this hunt but here’s my two cents: The Kings and the ‘Hawks are the two best teams and Lundquist is the best goalie in the NHL.

    There was a lot of talk about “puck luck” in the playoffs this year and I’m reminded of the old saw: “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”. Nothing epitomized that more than the chi-lak series. All those goals off of weird bounces were because of players clogging up the shooting lanes.

    I’m looking forward to many more epic battles between the Kings and the Blackhawks.

    • YoAdrienne

      Roadrunners, eh? I lived in Phoenix for a little while back when they were in the old WHA. I got to see them play the Houston Aeros, with all three Howes playing. I loved them. They were my surrogate Blackhawks.

      • MikeMaloney

        I had season tix ’72-’75 . Saw Willie O’Ree Gary Simmons, Cowboy Howie Young, Robbie Ftorek was Capt. in ’73 (?) during the WHL days, then the WHA brought the Aeros as you mentioned. Those were great times.

        • YoAdrienne

          I saw them in ’76. Went back to Chicago not long after that. Just in time to see Bobby Orr play as a Blackhawks. It was great to see Ftorek play in the NHL. I just wish he’d come to the Hawks, rather than with the Rangers.

  • Andrew Heitman

    Day dream- Capitals are looking to get aggressive to upgrade their blue line.

    Nik Backstrom for Seabrook. Picks to compensate one way or the other….thoughts?

    • MySpoonIsTooBig

      Backstrom in a ‘Hawks jersey would be a sight to behold, though I’d rather it didn’t cost the ‘Hawks Seabrook. Realistically though there’s no way that happens. The Caps don’t even know who their 2C is going to be since they haven’t been able to re-sign Grabovski yet and are currently talking about any one of Laich, Kuznetsov, or Johannson filling that role if they can’t / don’t re-sign Grabo. There’s simply no way they deal their 1C – even for help on the back end, which is sorely needed – when they don’t even have a 2C lined up to go yet. The only player on that roster who’s probably more un-touchable than Backstrom is Ovechkin

  • jordyhawk

    Jets taking Frolik to arbitration. Have to say it; we really missed that guy.

    • TitanTransistor

      Yep. Just think – no Versteeg and no Khabi, and we could have kept him.

      Frolik-Kruger-Smith would be a pretty good 4th line, no?

      • The Nutbrown Hare

        “Frolik-Kruger-Smith would be a pretty good 4th line, no?”
        Definitely, but I have a sneaking suspicion Bollig would still find his way into the lineup more often than he deserved to be.

    • YoAdrienne

      I don’t get that one. It looks like they wouldn’t mind hanging onto him, but not enough that they want to pay him what he’s getting now.

      I miss Fro, too. It’s too much to hope that the Hawks would bring him back, however.

    • Andrew Heitman

      And no need to ice Zus as much this past year…

    • merkinmuffy

      Great forechecker!

  • merkinmuffy

    Did you know that Corey Crawford had a better Goals Against Average and a better Saves Percentage than Jonathan Quick in this year’s playoffs?