After the 2010-2011, the weakness of the Chicago Blackhawks had been exposed. The whole NHL has seen the Vancouver Canucks bash, smash, and crash the Blackhawks out of the playoffs in seven games. The great purge of depth following a Stanley Cup Championship is now a distance memory.
Jan 24, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Steve Montador (5) skates with the puck against the Nashville Predators during the third period at the United Center. The Predators beat the Blackhawks 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
The new word on the Blackhawks was loud and clear. The Blackhawks were a soft team. Stan Bowman saw it and so did the rest of the league. Stan Bowman swung into action; he traded for Steve Montador, signed Jamal Meyers, Russ Olsez, Sean O’Donnell, Sammy Lipsto, and Dan Carcillo (NHL.com). Stan added size and physical players. He addressed the Blackhawks biggest perceived problem.
Turns out Bowman created another problem, the Blackhawks were a mess. Quick skilled players were forced to play with older slower players. The Blackhawks tried to outscore everyone and didn’t play any defense for half the season. The Blackhawks then re-focused on defense too much and couldn’t score. The team did not have a clear identity.
Each player signed for 2011-2012 season was a bust there entire Blackhawks career. Mantador was liability on defense, old slow and injured. Russ Olsez rarely played in two seasons. The Blackhawks used the compliance buyout on Mantador and Olsez this offseason. Mayers was a little used part time player in two seasons. Lipsto and O’Donnell were one and done with Blackhawks. Lastly Dan Carcillo was traded away this offseason to the LA Kings. The Carcillo move signaled the end of the “knucklehead” era.
Stan Bowman has not made mistakes as the General Manager of the Blackhawks. At least Bowman wasn’t a “knucklehead” and acknowledged his mistakes. He realized that skill and speed beat physical play and muscle every time. If anyone wants proof of that fact, the Stanley Cup will be the Blackhawks convention this weekend.