Did we get duped by Stan?

Both Sides Now?


No…no…no…no, now wait a minute, here!

I don’t have to talk to anybody! I know right now, and the answer is no! NO! Doggone it! You sit around here and you spin your little webs and you think the whole world revolves around you and your money.

– George Bailey, It’s A Wonderful Life

In recent articles, I have staked out the positions that (a) Stan Bowman deserves substantial credit for his off-season maneuvers over the past few weeks, and (b) the Hawks, as constituted today, will once again present one of the highest scoring offenses in the league this season.

In the Hawks’ blogosphere, there has of course been lamenting, the odd wailing, scattered gnashing of teeth, and even a bit of garment-rending over the loss of Brian Campbell and, to a lesser extent, Troy Brouwer, but I have seen nothing approaching a forceful critique of Stan’s moves or any alternatives put forth. So I have volunteered to take that cause up myself.

Sleight of hand?

Oh Stan, you are a sly one. You wanted us to believe that in order to remake the Blackhawks, Brian Campbell had to go. All those moving pieces… well, to tell you the truth, in all the excitement, I kinda lost track myself, ya know.

But allow me to rerun the tape over the past few weeks, with the following changes: keep Campbell and Brouwer and don’t sign Steve Montador. That’s it. Brouwer and Campbell in, Rusty Olesz and Montador out. This is in fact what has happened in an infinite number of parallel universes. What are Hawks’ fans in those universes looking at?

Scoring the bizarro-universe Hawks

Well, it’s a 23-man roster that fits under the cap with $300K to spare. Offensively, this team is even better than the team the Hawks have now- Brouwer and Campbell easily outshine Olesz and Montador. Defensively, it’s hard to see this as worse than a wash, considering the year Campbell just turned in.

From a size and grit standpoint, Brouwer dominates Olesz, but Montador is spicier than Campbell. Again, call it a wash.

The PK takes a ding, but the puck possession game gets a big lift. And so on.

Overall, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that, based on these rosters, our compatriots in the bizarro-universe are more likely to be celebrating next June than we are.


But I don’t understand

In last week’s article, I demonstrated mathematically that last season’s roster, with raises, would run $2 million over this year’s cap. But the roster above, with Campbell and Brouwer, fits. What gives?

To answer this, revisit the remaining moves Stan made this summer:

There’s $2.3 million in savings- voila! $300K under the cap.

To make a long story short, it’s last year’s roster, with Andrew Brunette in for Tomas Kopecky, some more snarl, and better defensive depth, all for $64 million. Pretty good trick.


Classic cliffhanger closing

So that’s all I gotta say on this side of the argument. In my next article, I will magically reconcile the views expressed here with my previous rants, allowing TRUTH to shine in. But by all means, feel free to get the ball rolling in the comments section.

  • K_Dog

    I have to admit, I kinda wish we had the bizarro-universe Hawks. I realize, however, this is just fear of the unknown (so many new dudes!). Once the real-world Hawks hit the ice in October I’m sure I’ll feel a lot better.

  • http://BlackhawkUp.com/ ChicagoNativeSon

    @K_Dog Yup, it’s definitely interesting that that roster fits under the cap.

    Obvious issues (that I’m assuming Brian is going to address): no cap space to make a big in-season splash, room for Sharp’s raise with the CBA expiring (might not be a cap increase), it would be nice to have another PK d-man (but Lepisto could be swapped for one), and most importantly IMO, eventually you have to make a choice between Leddy and Campbell.

    Assuming Leddy’s role increases, that should in turn cause Campbell’s role to decrease. Without the production he had last year, his contract becomes more difficult to move in the future.

  • cliffkoroll

    @John Schultz @K_Dog Damn- is it that much of a strawman? I really tried.

  • FrankRekas

    Well thanks for completely making my mind a mess with this. Here I thought that the moves that were made were actually good. Now it looks like two non moves actually make things better!

    Although, there isn’t much flexibility, but I’m sure you’ll tell us how that will be fixed. Just tell me things will be ok.

  • http://BlackhawkUp.com/ ChicagoNativeSon

    Consider my comment more of a sneak preview and less of a spoiler.

  • cliffkoroll

    People?. Joni Mitchell? Anyone?

    Why do I bother?

  • cliffkoroll

    @FrankRekas I’m feeling a little ambivalent myself. What I tried to do was shoot holes in my previous column. Any way you slice it, it’s a better team than last year, but maybe that is true in signficant part to Stan’s “lesser” moves, not the blockbusters, and the team could have gotten by with some trimmng around the edges.