Number 11 on my list of all time least favorite Chicago Blackhawks is Tyler Arnason. Arnason personified everything that was wrong about the early 2000’s Blackhawks franchise. Arnason, son of former NHL player Chuck Arnason, was selected by the Hawks in the 7th round of the 1998 entry draft. He started the 2001-02 season with the Blackhawks but was sent down to the AHL after just 21 games for not being in hockey shape. He was recalled the following season where he played in all 82 games in scored 19 goals. He would become a member of the Hawks’ “ABC” line along with Mark Bell and Kyle Calder. For some reason the marketing department thought a line made up of these three clowns would get Chicago fans excited about hockey again. They actually thought a fan base that was used to the likes of Denis Savard, Steve Larmer, and Jeremy Roenick would get excited for these three guys. To steal a line from Chicago sports talk radio “Who ya crappin?” Arnason played a total of 245 games in Chicago where he scored 57 goals, had 82 assists and was a -4.
There were many factors on why I couldn’t stand watching Tyler Arnason. The biggest was it seemed like he just didn’t care. Being sent down in his rookie season for not being in shape never sat well with me. How does a 21 year old kid not stay in shape to play in the NHL? I was paying good money to watch a God awful hockey team and this kid looked like he had some place he’d rather be most of the time. I have no time for players who don’t care about playing hard for their team and their fans.
On January 21, 2003 Arnason got into his first off ice altercation. He went out to celebrate the Blackhawks getting their clocks cleaned by the mighty Columbus Blue Jackets with Phil Housley and Theo Fleury at a local strip club. The night ended with Fleury punching the manager in the face and the three players embarrassing the entire organization. Housley and Fleury had no business being in the league at this point of their careers and where doing a great job mentoring younger players. Again, this was a major reason why this franchise had gone right down the toilet during these years.
In March of 2004, head coach Brian Sutter had enough of Arnason being a soft and lazy player during a road trip to Nashville. While team officals and players where out drinking at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Sutter challenged Arnason to fight. In fact, Sutter had Arnason up against the wall and was calling him a term used to describe the female reproductive organ. The Hawks tried to down play this incident but it spoke volumes about the kind of player Arnason was.
The Hawks traded Tyler Arnason to the Ottawa Sentors in March of 2006 for Brandon Bochenski and a 2nd round draft pick. Bochenski was moved to the Boston Bruins a year later for Kris Versteeg how became a key part to the Stanley Cup winning team in 2010. The Blackhawks used the draft pick to take defenseman Simon Danis-Pepin who is still in the organization spending time with both Toledo of the ECHL and Rockford of the AHL the last two seasons.
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