Hockey is back folks, for sale and I’m sorry I have been MIA the last few weeks. In between my worldly travels and FTJ (Full Time Job) I have dropped the puck on our beloved Hawks. Don’t worry; I am back and ready to get after another exciting season and run for Lord Stanley’s Cup with the Hawks.
This year, health besides the traditional game previews and recaps, we’re going to dive a bit deeper and bring you some kick ass op-ed’s, profiles, etc. more to come on that, later this season.
I am not sure about you, but I attended my first Hawks game of the year last week versus the Calgary Flames and what stared back at me was frightening.
Brandon Bollig in a Flames jersey, WTF…
It got me thinking. We have some newcomers loaded with talent. We have had to say some painful goodbyes to some fan favorites, with big personalities. And finally we have locked up our bread and butter (Toews & Kane) for many more years to come.
Here is our list of roster shake ups this year for our beloved Blackhawks.
I can’t really say “newbies” because both of these guys have been in the league a long time and one boomeranged back to Chicago. However, it’s my article so let’s just go with it.
Brad Richards: This was the Hawks BIG catch this off season. It’s been a while since the Hawks had another quality center. Richards isn’t the same high point scorer he was with the Lightning or Stars, but he has retained most of the skills that made him one of the league’s best centers in the past. Originally slated to be the second line center, Richards is currently leading the third line with Bryan Bickell and Ben Smith. Results still need to come and patience is a virtue. Hopefully he can add some life to the always “subpar” power play. When he hits his stride with the Hawks, look out Chicago he will become a fan favorite fast. #fingerscrossed
Dan “CarBomb” Carcillo: CarBomb never really hit his stride with the Hawks his first time around during the 11-12 season. The injury bug hit him early and he was never able to show Chicago what he had. Last season he spent most of the season on IR with the Rangers and Kings. However healthier and stronger, CarBomb is looking to provide energy and instigate each night. If he scores, just consider that icing on the cake. The Hawks brought him back to provide grit and toughness. He has a long litany of fines and suspensions throughout his eight-plus seasons in the league. Look for him to keep that in check this season. I for one am excited to see what he can do when he is healthy.
The Ones That Got Away:
Nick Leddy: The Blackhawks had to free up salary cap space and fast or they were going
to get hit with some major NHL penalties. Unfortunately, Nick Leddy got the shitty end of the stick. Earlier this month Leddy was traded to the New York Islanders for defensemen Ville Pokka and T.J. Brennan and the rights to goaltender Anders Nilsson. Leddy, was a great fit for the Blackhawks’ third defensemen pairing and power play. He had 20 goals, 73 assists and was a plus-10 in 258 regular-season games. He also played in 54 playoff games and contributed greatly to the Hawks 2013 Stanley Cup Championship.
Brandon Bollig: This one hurt… and maybe that is because I was blindsided by this. If you have read any of my articles you know I have always had a soft spot for what Bollig brought to the table. Yes, he wasn’t the most skilled. However, he did what was asked and I had fun watching him do it. Bollig was traded to the Calgary Flames for a third-round pick on draft day in June, seeing him in a Flames jersey last week hurt. However, working in sports I know it is a hard core business and sometimes tough decisions need to be made. For whatever reason Stan the Man pulled the trigger. I guess I have to accept the fact that after winning two Stanley Cups, he may know what he is doing. I will miss how approachable and willing Bollig always was to talk to us and we here at SDI wish him the best.
Toews & Kane: I like to call them Chicago’s new Jordan & Pippen. Their vital significance to the Blackhawks was made loud and clear when the two veterans were locked up with long-term deals this summer, signing matching eight-year, $84 million deals that start next season and, will earn them the highest annual average salary ($10.5 million) of any player in the NHL.
Next Round is on them, eh?
Make no mistake Toews and Kane are no longer young guns, they are the leaders of this club and it makes you excited on what can potentially be the new Chicago Dynasty.
Remember change is good. The roster may be a bit different, but the goal is still the same. WIN THE CUP. Let’s embrace this and buckle up, it’s going to be one incredible season once again! Go Hawks!