Archive for the ‘Patrick Kane’ Category

As the Blackhawks turn OR The Young and the Reckless OR Don’t call them the Chicago Cabs

August 9, 2009
VS
I know that was the predictable photo to run, but c’mon.

Let me ask everyone: has any NHL team EVER had a crazier off-season than the Chicago Blackhawks?

Hearing the details of Patrick Kane‘s bizarre, alleged assault of a cab driver, it was hard to believe it wasn’t a joke at first. (It’s not a joke, is it?) The event as an alleged incident brings up plenty of questions:

Is there ANY way booze was not involved? What is pocket change to a guy who will earn more than $3 million in the 2009-10 season? Does EA boot him off the cover, like they did with Dany Heatley?*

Well, at least hockey players didn’t electrify dogs

* – Obviously, Heatley’s incident was way worse. But is getting arrested the EA NHL series’ answer to the Madden curse? Heatley, Eric Staal and now Kane. Just sayin’.

ANYWAY, it’s truly been a crazy summer for the Chicago Blackhawks franchise. Let’s look at the biggest stories/snafus/angry Tweets in chrono-illogical (like what I did there?) order.

  • A lot of people liked the Hossa signing, but who could defend Fax-gate? By not properly sending Kris Versteeg and Cam Barker qualifying offers, the cracks in the ‘Hawks foundation were starting to become undeniable.
  • Dale Tallon, the butt of many CLS jokes, gets fired. Fax-gate is more or less an excuse to promote Scotty Bowman’s son. I find out that maybe Tallon wasn’t the only one behind the BRILLIANT resurgence of the Blackhawks. (Sorry, Dale, I should have spread the snark)
Chicago’s omelette of sadness
  • In a watershed moment for social media, Martin Havlat badmouths the Blackhawks on Twitter. Apparently, the team owed more to a guy who earned his contract for exactly one season. The Blackhawks franchise now has enough egg on its face to make an omelette.
  • Hey, you know that already questionable Hossa signing? It gets better. Apparently, Hossa needed off-season shoulder surgery. He could miss up to 30 games in the very regular season they are risking everything for. Rumor has it, the team didn’t even require Hossa to take a physical. Notice a pattern yet?
  • And now the face of EA Sports’ hockey game … a guy who will represent USA Hockey … a #1 draft pick Patrick Kane is now in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

And there is still a solid amount of summer to go. What do the ‘Hawks have left for us?

I, for one, cannot wait to find out what happens next.

Advertisements

Losing one (or more) of Kane, Toews, Keith: a crushing inevitability for the Blackhawks

July 7, 2009

Editor’s note: This post runs really long and might have some inexact math. The major point, though, is that the Blackhawks have painted themselves into an astonishing corner. It is legitimately difficult to imagine them holding onto two of Kane, Toews and Keith.

If they do keep all three, it will require the Hawks to deal with a stunning lack of depth.

Feel free to prove us wrong and point out mistakes. We expect this post to be a crucial part of how we look at this scenario.

And, obviously, we hope you find it interesting.

***

The Chicago Blackhawks horror show salary cap situation keeps dominating our thoughts as the story of the free agency week. Quite a few share our “WTF are they thinking?” train of thought, but many others have voiced their disagreements with our apparent Chicken Little outlooks.

With all that in mind, we decided to break this situation down in various ways. We think you’ll eventually acknowledge the obvious: this is one mind bogglingly screwed up salary cap situation.

First, we’ll look at the Chicago Blackhawks cap commitments in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Keep in mind these will be CURRENT, without any TALLON MAGIC. (Sorry, We’ll try to limit our sarcasm).

Then we’ll list players by their trade-ability. After all, Tallon will have to make moves if he’d like to keep … you know, the two kids who turned his franchise around.

Finally, we’ll look at a few hypothetical situations. Since we’re laying out everything but the Blackhawks’ prospect contracts, feel free to assemble your own panic soaked Chicago Blackhawks roster!

(We used CapGeek.com for calculations and NHLSCAP.com to double check RFA/UFA statuses)

Chicago Blackhawks 2009-10 Roster/Cap Commitments

Forwards

Marian Hossa: $5,233,333
Patrick Sharp: $3,900,000
Dave Bolland: $3,375,000
Dustin Byfuglien: $3,000,000
John Madden: $2,750,000
Andrew Ladd: $1,550,000
Tomas Kopecky: $1,200,000
Troy Brouwer: $1,025,000
Ben Eager: $965,000
Patrick Kane: $875,000
Jonathan Toews: $850,000
Jack Skille: $850,000
Adam Burish: $712,500
Colin Fraser: $700,000

Defense

Brian Campbell: $7,142,875
Brent Seabrook: $3,500,000
Cam Barker: $3,083,333
Brent Sopel: $2,333,333
Duncan Keith: $1,475,000
Niklas Hjalmarsson: $643,333

Goalies

Cristobal Huet: $5,625,000
Antti Niemi: $892,500

Numbers

ROSTER SIZE: 22
SALARY CAP: $56,800,000
PAYROLL (without bonuses): $52,137,207
CAP ROOM: $4,662,793

Salary Cap Commitments for 2010-11

Forwards

Marian Hossa: $5,233,333
Patrick Sharp: $3,900,000
Dave Bolland: $3,375,000
Dustin Byfuglien: $3,000,000
Tomas Kopecky: $1,200,000

Defense

Brian Campbell: $7,142,875
Brent Seabrook: $3,500,000
Cam Barker: $3,083,333
Brent Sopel: $2,333,333

Goalie

Cristobal Huet: $5,625,000

Numbers

ROSTER SIZE: 10
SALARY CAP: $56,800,000
PAYROLL: $38,848,874
CAP ROOM: $17,951,126

OK, now let’s look at the guys Chicago would likely TRY to move (with snarky category titles!)

Highly movable:

Sharp ($3.9 million)
Byfuglien ($3 million)
Seabrook ($3.5 million)

You JUST SIGNED him!

Bolland ($3.375 million)
Barker ($3.08 million)

Gainey-bait:

Huet ($5.625 million)
Sopel ($2.33 million)
Campbell ($7.1 million)

***

OK, so there’s hypothetical situation #1: The Blackhawks don’t move salary, but manage to sign Kane, Toews and Keith for a dream scenario $13.5 million. Oh, and the Salary Cap doesn’t drop at all (snickers).

Forwards: Hossa – Kane – Toews – Fugly – Sharp – Bolland – Kopecky – 5 minimum wage forwards

Defense: Keith – Campbell – Barker – Sopel – Seabrook – minimum wage defenseman

Goalies: Huet – Minimum wage netminder

Numbers:

ROSTER SIZE: 13
SALARY CAP: $56,800,000
PAYROLL: $52,348,874
CAP ROOM: $4,451,126
CAP ROOM PER OPEN SPOT: $445,113

(Note: the Blackhawks would probably still have to find a way to get rid of Sopel to make that work)

Hypothetical situation #2: The Cap drops to $50 million. Kane-Toews-Keith agree to a combined $13.5 million out of the bottoms of their bottomless hearts.

a) They would start over a $50 million cap to begin with, so they banish Brent Sopel to Salary Cap hell. (Again)

b) The NHL’s minimum salary will be about $500,000. That number could be very important to Mr. Tallon around July 2010.

c) We would assume the Blackhawks would need to keep/wouldn’t be able to trade:

Hossa, Kane, Bolland, Toews, Seabrook, Keith, Barker. For the sake of sanity, they’d probably keep Kopecky to make Hossa happy or some dopey shit.

d) So, if the Blackhawks lived in a dream world in which they could rid themselves of Brian Campbell, Cristobal Huet, Dustin Byfuglien and Patrick Sharp …

… while signing Kane, Toews AND Keith to trio of bargain contracts …

They would have five forwards and three defensemen for $30 million. This would give them $20 million to fill (at the minimum) seven forward spots, three defensemen and two goalies. To ice a hockey team, they would have approximately $1.67 million per roster spot.

Without a goalie. Without even two full lines of forwards or defense.

This is if the Blackhawks unload a murderer’s row of idiotic contracts.

Even if this situation played out with the current cap, they’d have $2.16 million per open spot.

And this the DREAM scenario.

We don’t know what else can convince you. Go play around at CapGeek.com and see if you can find a way to explain how the Blackhawks aren’t mortgaging their future. Seriously, we’ll gladly eat crow if it means that there is some order restored to the universe.

***

Every team pushing the cap this year will have some serious headaches if the salary cap drops. Especially if it drops by $6 million. The Chicago Blackhawks, however, are mavericks.

They insist on struggling even if the cap DOESN’T drop.

Time for us to get some Advil.

Marian Hossa to Chicago was a great signing … and Michael Jackson died with his original nose

July 4, 2009

What a strange week-plus it’s been. First, the world mourned a pop star while somehow glossing over his priest-besting “alleged” past of molesting children … acting as if the man wasn’t ignored for a decade and a half of irrelevant music making.

At least that wasn’t unprecedented, though, because we were alive at a time when the world somehow felt epic sadness about Anna Nicole Smith too.

Yet, the most shocking moment might have been the eventual approval of Chicago’s random, short-sighted signing of Marian Hossa. We love Puck Daddy, but … come ON!

“Chicago Blackhawks: We’ve said our piece on the Marian Hossa signing for 12 years and $62.8 million. They get a major pass for it in this report card because any quibbles about the deal are going to come down the line. Right now, from a hockey perspective, it’s the move of the Frenzy.

Goaltending, future cap considerations and Tallon’s propensity to overpay aside, if the test is whether a team is closer to a Stanley Cup after its deadline moves, the answer for the Blackhawks is an unequivocal “yes.” Conditions could change next summer; but for now, it’s a solid GRADE: A-“

Puck Daddy’s “Free Agent Frenzy Report Card

Stunning.

“Has the world gone CRAZY? Does no one give a shit about the (salary cap)?”

If you look at the move from a Havlat-for-Hossa point of view then yes, of course, the Blackhawks made a good decision. Yet, even if Havlat might have been their most productive forward this season, is there ANYONE who attributes Chicago’s resurgence to the Gaborik-in-Sheep’s clothing?

No, really, raise your hand. We want to catalog the crazies in our midst.

It boggles our mind that people can look at the signing WITHOUT acknowledging the fact that the Blackhawks painted themselves into a serious corner with this move. Tallon reminds us of friends who would buy a Wii, PS3 and X-Box 360 on their birthday and then realize they had no money left for games.

Sorry, but the move cannot be examined without looking past the 2009-10 season. By that logic, the Dallas Stars harbor no regrets about trading away Jarome Iginla since they won one Cup with Joe Nieuwendyk.

We asked how in the world the Hawks would keep Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith before they added Marian Hossa and gave Dave Bolland a surprisingly rich deal for a guy with such a light resume. When you factor in Hossa, Bolland and Kopecky‘s deals, the Hawks will have $10 million less to sign those big three next year. And that’s without factoring in the possible signing of Kris Versteeg and/or Cam Barker.

And as Joe at Sacrifice the Body pointed out, having about $20 million for 10 players is tough enough until you realize the VERY real possibility of the cap falling significantly.

In a DREAM scenario, the Hawks would sign Toews and Kane to dual $5 million per year contracts and somehow hypnotize stud defenseman Keith to a $4 million per year deal. They’d then have to find a way to fill out a roster with abysmal half-million dollar players and rookies.

Future collector’s item?

The only option we could see is trading to make space, but even THAT will be costly.

Brian Campbell‘s enormous* Gomez-esque contract makes a trade pretty damn hard to imagine (before Bob Gainey traded for Gomez, we would have called it unthinkable). They’re paying contract year wonder Cristobal Huet $5.62 million (more than Tim Thomas, Marc Andre Fleury and Martin Brodeur) to be a questionable #1 goalie.

They can move Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel and a couple other guys to clear up space but they’ll either have to take 1) next to nothing like the New York Islanders received when trading Bill Guerin to the Penguins or 2) a player who’s making barely less money.

Most likely, the Blackhawks are going to have to trade a very nice asset (Seabrook, Sharp, maybe even Bolland) to clear up space and they STILL might lose 1-2 of Keith, Kane and Toews. Either way, the honeymoon is almost certainly over after next season.

What will happen next July when the sky is falling for everyone, but the hardest for the Blackhawks? Do they get expelled from Puck Daddy school? Do they bury Huet with Jimmy Hoffa? Bribe Bob Gainey with whores and liquor to get rid of Campbell’s uber-albatross? Stop showing home games again, this time out of shame?

Ugh.

Sometimes we feel surrounded by insanity.

(* – Here’s the list of SUPERSTAR defensemen making less money than Campbell this season: Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Dan Boyle and Jay Bouwmeester. Hell, here’s some FAR SUPERIOR defenseman making at least $1.5 million less per year: Sergei Gonchar, Shea Weber, Mike Green, Andrei Markov and more. Tallon is … not a great general manager.)

Staal vs. Staal vs. tired storylines (and other Conference Finals nuggets)

May 18, 2009

  • The Staal brothers clash being a generic storyline has … become a generic storyline. You’ve got to love the way the Internet deep fries cliches. Lazy throwaway crutches get trotted out and then everyone makes fun of those crutches. When calling something a cliche jumps the shark*, then we’ve officially gone a little bit insane.

That being said, the interesting thing is that Staal vs. Staal might be a more “legitimate” matchup than Ovechkin-Crosby for a simple reason: there’s the fairly solid chance that Jordan will actually be given the task of shutting down his big brother’s line. After all, Staal-Matt CookeTyler Kennedy was the forward combination thrown out against Alex Ovechkin.

Could it be that the mainstream media’s cliched headline act might actually decide the series? My head hurts now.

  • Will it even matter who wins Canes-Penguins?

It’s the opinion of myself (and many others) that the team with the best chance of knocking off the defending champions was the Anaheim Ducks. The Blackhawks are a team with a nice combination for a playoff run: young legs, a couple veterans and key contract year performers. But after Sunday’s game, it’s pretty obvious they’ll need more than a couple lucky bounces to make the Red Wings worry.

The only place the remaining three teams can look to for hope is the Red Wings’ penalty kill. The Ducks’ PP outscored the Wings’ PP despite having less chances. The Blackhawks went 1/1 on Sunday, one of the few bright spots in a game Chicago was fortunate to have tied going into the third period.

  • Many people (rightly) complained that Evgeni Malkin has often been unfairly overlooked in all the Crosby-Ovechkin hoopla, but despite a nice 10-point effort, Geno was rightly overshadowed in the second round.

Could Geno have a big round three? The odds are in his favor: home ice, a nice break between rounds and another Southeast Division opponent. That being said, the Carolina Hurricanes seem to be quite a bit scrappier than their division neighbors.

While the Capitals seemed quite sleepy at home, the Canes fed off their rabid fans (and … Bill Cowher) to take some upset victories. Few were impressed by Washington’s unconvincing win against the Rangers in game 7; we don’t need to tell you about their performance against the Pens. Yet on the opposite end of the spectrum, Carolina shocked the Devils in the last minute in Newark, NJ and then managed to out-hustle the Bruins to an OT win.

  • It’s hard to imagine the Penguins taking a playoff foe lightly.

Just look at last year’s playoffs: they finished their Eastern rivals off in 5 games or less, never taking a game off. This year’s edition has had to battle quite a bit more (about to enter their 14th game of the playoffs, which was all they – amazingly – needed to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals last year), but they are lead by the relentlessness of Sidney Crosby and a nice group of character players.

That being said, it also wouldn’t be outrageous if there is a BIT of letdown after the super-hyped second round matchup.

Of course, the Hurricanes might end up being flat-out better than the Penguins …

  • There’s a simple reason that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane saw only about 15 minutes of ice time in Game 1: they were awful. Kane, in particular, produced very little beyond turnovers.

Perhaps this comes from missing most of their games, but my impression is that the Hawks’ dynamic duo tends to feed off of advantageous matchups at home. Don’t be surprised if they struggle in Game 2 and then “magically” find their fire** back in the Windy City.

But please don’t make this just about experience. The Red Wings have Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Johan Franzen and a soul crushingly deep group of quality players to torment any team young, old, hairy or whatever.

It’s fun to make something “the factor” in a playoff series, but sometimes one team just grossly out-classes another.

* – I actually prefer using “Jump the Cheeseburger,” an ode to the seminal Canadian TV comedy “Trailer Park Boys” but feel the reference will be too obscure. Sadly.

** “Find the fire” = “Get a more favorable matchup.”

How are the Hawks going to keep Kane, Toews and Keith? (Salary Cap Outlook)

March 25, 2009

For the most part, we’ve been looking at these teams from a 2009-10 standpoint. Clearly, though, there are some cases in which the big storyline might be further in the future. That is the situation for the Chicago Blackhawks. So, instead of going contract-by-contract, we’ll handle Chi-town from a storyline standpoint.

Chicago Blackhawks:
Most significant pending free agents this summer: Martin Havlat, Nikolai Khabibulin, Cam Barker (Sleek would be screaming Pahlsson!)
HUGELY important pending free agents two summers from now: Duncan Keith (!), Jonathan Toews (!!) and Patrick Kane (!!!)

In the next two off-seasons, the Chicago Blackhawks have all kinds of huge questions to answer about their best players. Coming up, the Hawks must decide if Humpty Dumpty Havlat is worth bringing back. Along with that, the Bulin Wall has been playing as the Hawks were hoping Cristobal Huet would be playing this season. What will they do about their “backup” goalie?

But even more interesting is the restricted free agent status of their three best players: Keith, Toews and Kane are all subject to Dustin Penner inspired crazy offer sheet negotiations.
For me, the biggest question is: how can you pay Brian Campbell more than Keith, Toews and Kane? Perhaps Toews will take a “wearing the C” discount, but Kane is one of the best young players in the NHL. While Keith doesn’t get the kind of matinee attention of Toews or Kane, he’s been mentioned as a borderline Norris candidate and will probably be in line for a big raise.

What kind of money would it take to lock up those three? To me, $18 million would be an absolute steal.

So, Blackhawks fans, what do you think will happen? Will the honeymoon come to a screeching halt as the Hawks lose one of their big three? Will they blow their cap for the 2009-10 season? Or will they learn the Penguins’ pain by having to surround Kane-Toews-Keith with cheap veteran help? I’m all ears.

Please note: NHLSCAP.com seems half and half when it comes to being up to date, so I might keep an eye on things and make an update on the following section:

Best contract: Patrick Sharp ($3.9 million through 2011-12)
Worst contracts: Brian Campbell ($7.1 million through 2015-16); Cristobal Huet ($5.6 million through 2011-12)
Committments for 2009-10: $37.5 million
Players under contract 2009-10: 6 forwards, 6 defensemen, 1 goalie
Committments for 2010-11:
$25.5 million
Players under contract 2010-11:
2 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goalie

Hockey Orphan: Clare from All Hawks Hockey on the Blackhawks

February 13, 2009
Just a short time ago things were bad for Blackhawks fans. In fact, bad is probably an understatement. However, things have turned around for the Blackhawks and now is certainly a great time to be a Hawks fan.

So many things have changed, it is hard to narrow it down, however there are a few changes that prove that the Hawks are a different team than a few years ago, and a team to cheer for.

The following is a random and extremely condensed list because the original list was close to 50 items long and it was a random choice because every change was significant in it’s own way.

The Captain: Jonathan Toews is appropriately nicknamed “Captain Serious,” rarely one to goof off but the way the team has responded to his leadership has been remarkable. When it was announced that Toews would become captain this year a lot of eyebrows were raised. After a tough start to the season, Toews has raised his game and shown that he can be a leader and a top line center all at the age of 20.

Toews is super-Cereal.
The Rookie of the Year: Known as the guy who always needs a haircut and who never has his mouth guard in his mouth Patrick Kane is the Blackhawk’s top scorer for a reason. Told he was too small to play in the NHL, Kane proved his critics wrong by not only making the Blackhawks roster out of training camp but by having a fantastic rookie year and winning the Calder Trophy. He has continued to impress those around the league this year and is the Blackhawks leading scorer. Now the only question is: Who is better Kane or Crosby?

Forwards: Overall this is a very skilled group of forwards, the trades for Kris Versteeg and Patrick Sharp a few years back, seemingly meaningless trades at the time have added two of the most important players to the Blackhawks group of forwards. Combine that with good secondary scoring and the forwards look good.

The Blackhawks are on TV: Seems simple right, a professional hockey team in the 21st century technology obsessed world would be on TV, however until this season the Blackhawks’ home games weren’t televised by a Chicago network. Since a new owner has taken over the Blackhawks on TV has been just one of the numerous positive changes that have been made. Now Chicago residents can see all 82 Blackhawks games this year from the comfort of their living room.

Young and Fun: Two words that can be used to describe the Blackhawks are young and fun. Combine the youngest team in the NHL with a whole lot of personality (need I say more?)

The Hawks are a fun team on and off the ice.

Goaltending: While sometimes inconsistent, goaltending for the most part has been good for the Blackhawks this year. Nikolai Khabibulin has shown signs of the goalie that won a Stanley Cup in Tampa. He is close to the end of his career, one would assume, but has shown that he can be a starter in the NHL still. Cristobal Huet has been nowhere near as good as he was towards the end of last year and certainly isn’t playing to the expectations of his almost $6 million contract. However with Khabibulin now day to day with an injury, he will be counted on to carry the load for the Hawks and with Khabibulin being an unrestricted free agent at the end of this year he will be the Blackhawks goalie of the future one would assume.

Defense: With Brian Campbell, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook leading the Blackhawks defense, the defense corps can be described as young and skilled. They are an extremely important part to the Blackhawks success.

Now while there have been a lot of changes there have been a few things that haven’t changed.

Original Six Team: The Chicago Blackhawks have history. They have been an NHL franchise since 1926. Each time they take the ice with the Indian head stitched in their sweaters they represent not only this current Blackhawks team but also all of the players that have worn the Blackhawks sweater in the past.

The rivalry with Detroit: The Blackhawks most intense rival is no doubt, Detroit. At least from a fan’s perspective, the games against Detroit are the ones with the most on the line, especially with Detroit being at the top of the league every year, a true test of how good the Blackhawks are at that point are in games against Detroit.

There are many more things to like about the Hawks than those above so the only question now is why aren’t you watching?

(Thanks, Clare! For more on the Chicago Blackhawks, make sure you check out All Hawks Hockey.)

Sports cliches: playing the percentages

February 11, 2009

Good lord … that guy from “The Soup” is kinda creepy looking, right?

Something cracked me up while looking at Yahoo! player notes for Patrick Kane (my fantasy team’s best RW … although Bobby Ryan‘s been wearing that belt for the last month).

“Fri, Feb 6:
Kane told the Chicago Tribune on Friday that his ankle is only 85 to 90 percent healed.”

There’s nothing out of the norm in that, but the human need for arbitrary percentages amuses me. Especially in the wording ” … his ankle is only 85 to 90 percent healed.” Is 85 to 90 percent really that far from complete healing?

More than that, it’s when people say they feel 100 percent better. Unless you felt at 0 percent (which has to be dead … right? Wouldn’t that only be possible for people like that douche from Motley Crue who was clinically dead for a few seconds?) it would be impossible to feel that much better.

In fact, feeling 50 percent better is highly unlikely. My guess is that “now” Subway Jared feels 50 percent than “before/pants the size of a tent” Subway Jared. Or at least 35 percent.

Cliff Notes version of Easter: three days later, Jesus feels 100 percent better*

People – and let’s face it, that probably includes me – will keep using this arbitrary percentage rule. But it’s funny to step back and think about what we’re really saying.

* – Too soon?