Skip to main content

Something's rising from the ashes, and it isn't Phoenix...

Heading over to the Western Conference, our review of the offseason winners and losers comes up with one of the winners: the Chicago Blackhawks.

Wait a minute, did I actually just write that?

It's been a decade since the Jeremy Roenick-led Hawks challenged for Western Conference supremacy, and while they're still a long ways from doing that, the moves they've made over the last two weeks should help put Chicago back into the playoffs, and represent true progress under new general manager Dave Tallon.

After making unsuccessful offers to Mike Modano and Peter Forsberg, the Hawks struck gold in the Nikolai Khabibulin sweepstakes. The Bulin Wall still ranks as one of the top goalies in the game, and immediately gives Chicago a chance to win every time he starts. In front of Khabibulin, the Hawks added depth and versatility on the blueline by adding Adrian Aucoin and Jaroslav Spacek via free agency. Granted, they did let Bryan Berard walk away, but on the whole Spacek and Aucoin add talent to what was otherwise an unremarkable group of defensemen.

Up front, the Hawks are still looking for that All-Star caliber center, but still have $10 million under the cap to pursue a player like Eric Lindros or Anson Carter. The most significant addition they have made on the wing is Martin Lapointe, a veteran and Stanley Cup champion who understands the little things that make the difference between winning and losing. That experience is sorely needed, to complement a core of relatively young forwards. They boast four returning 20-goal scorers (assuming they re-sign Tyler Arneson), of which the eldest is 30 year-old Eric Daze (the other 3 are no older than 26).

Overall, the Hawks have taken a big step forward this month. They've brought in enough talent to legitimately compete for the playoffs, and are positioned well under the salary cap to acquire the remaining pieces they need, such as a top-line center and more depth on defense. Putting the team in position to play meaningful hockey games is the best thing that a GM can do for young talent, rather than have them toil in the basement in a never-ending rebuilding effort. Look for Chicago to make some noise this upcoming season, and watch out for how they develop going forward.

Popular posts from this blog

How I'm Trying To Make Money Sports Blogging

To kick off this series of articles general sports-blogging articles here at OTF Classic, I think it's best to start with a comment that Brad left here last week, after I shared my goals for 2012, which include specific revenue targets:
I considered diving into the world of internet marketing myself, but I felt that my friends would hate me for bugging them about stuff. I mean, it's pretty low-risk high-reward, so it's tempting. I wouldn't mind reading about tips on how to maximize impact of blogging in general to make it a legitimate income source. Trying to make money at sports blogging can be a very touchy subject - for the vast majority of us, this is an activity we pursue to both exercise our creativity and share our love of the game, whether it's hockey, football, badminton, whatever, with fellow fans. Mixing that personal conversation with a commercial message can turn people off, especially if it becomes too intrusive for the reader.

It's not unreasonabl…

Canadian Baloney, starring James Mirtle

A tireless refrain from the Canadian media is that Nashville is an absolute failure as a hockey market, and failing to move the team north of the border is an exercise in folly by the NHL.

Our latest exhibit comes from James Mirtle, usually one of the more thoughtful hockey bloggers extant:
But Nashville, quite simply, has proven it cannot sustain an NHL hockey team. Even with the lowest ticket prices in the entire league (I know: I've looked into flying there for a game or two) and a ridiculously forgiving arena lease, the team has had attendance issues despite having one of the best records in the league.

It's not a matter of Canadians not wanting teams in the southern U.S.; I've argued time and again in favour of teams like Dallas and Tampa Bay that have supported their teams and really brought something to the table in terms of bringing news fans and new energy to the game. That's a good thing.

The Predators, however, are not that, not in the beginning and certainly no…

Get Your NHL Super Schedule 2008-9 Right Here!

Click here for the 2009-10 NHL Super Schedule, at my new site,!

The NHL announced the 2008-9 Regular Season schedule today, so of course, it's time right here to publish my very own NHL Super Schedule 2008-9 as well.

For those unfamiliar with what I did last year, the NHL Super Schedule is a spreadsheet that I put together and make publicly available via Google Documents*. It includes an entry for each game in each team's 82-game regular season schedule, with additional information such as how far that team has had to travel since its last game, how many days have passed since that previous game, and various statistics relative to the opponent that evening, such as 2007-8 Winning Percentage, Goals Per Game, Goals Against Per Game, etc. For example, you can total the distance that each team will travel during the upcoming season, or find who plays the most back-to-back games. Check out which team faces the toughest opposing offenses, or which power plays…