Blackhawks News

Bowman, Don’t Let History Repeat Itself

By Unknown author

This off-season and last, I have seen an up-roar from fans as players were sent to other teams. Most notably Niemi, Byfuglien, and Ladd last year and Campbell and Brouwer this year. Some fan’s question if Stan Bowman is the right GM for the Hawks. As Stan lets pieces of the team go, he shows signs of letdowns of off-seasons past.

Blackhawk fans have seen an unloading before. They let players like Eric Daze (’06), Steve Sullivan (’04) and Tony Amonte (’02) go, and even a few years closer to the present with Mark Bell (’06), Kyle Calder (’06) and Michal Handzus (’07), we saw off-seasons where the Hawks basically put a “For Sale” sign out in front of the United Center.

As a fan watching my favorite players go to other teams, or in Daze’s case, rot away into nothing, I was frustrated because at the time I felt like the players they traded away were the only thing keep the Hawks from becoming an AHL team. 

The management office always said we would strengthen through the draft, but we never saw it. It was a frustrating time for Blackhawk fans (though tickets only cost $10 with a student ID). For quite a few years, this strategy never worked. We only reached the playoffs one time in 2002 and got swept by the Blues. If you weren’t watching then, it was pretty bad.

Now with Bowman, the prodigy son of hockey legend Scotty Bowman, I feel the pressure building from fans to oust him. He has made a few questionable moves. But from them we have had success. For example, if we didn’t let Niemi go, we would have never known the true talent of Corey Crawford. Before Niemi, we only saw Crawford a handful of times; most notably was his relief efforts against the Redwings in the 2009 Western Conference Finals.

Stan’s plan may seem like he is making the wrong moves a lot of the times, but the fans can’t measure his career primarily on the players he has let go, but the players that come to the Hawks as well.

What is most important is that Stan doesn’t dismantle the core like the Hawks had put together over these past few years. The core consists of Toews, Kane, Sharp, Hossa, Keith, and Seabrook. One could argue that Crawford and Hjalmarsson are a part of that core as well.

Some fans assumed Campbell was a part of the core. That isn’t a wrong assumption. He is a high caliber defensemen and has one of the highest plus/minuses in the league.  But Campbell was prone to injury, and had a long-term contract that was handcuffing the team financially.

Stan wants to make a splash every chance he gets, but he needs the wiggle room to play with his money. In an interview he said he wants the money to spend not only in the off-season, but as the trade deadline approaches as well. Along with that, he isn’t looking for the blockbuster deal like Dale Tallon was when he was the GM. He wants to fill the team with role players as well.

Every championship team has their core. The Wings have Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Lindstrom. The Penguins have Crosby, Malkin and Staal.  The rest of the team can change, but they will still be championship caliber teams.

So with my final thought, I give a piece of advice to Stan: do not let history repeat itself. The Hawks have made so much progress these past few years. The city of Chicago is paying closer attention now more than ever before. Make the moves you feel are right, but make sure they help our core, not hurt it.

Marty Hobe