Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks’ Daniel Carcillo Worth Every Penny

By Zachary Raderstorf

It was October 3rd and the day had begun as normally as any fall day in Chicago could. The leaves were still just beginning to change and the regular season was only days away. Most of us started looking at the Blackhawks roster, beginning to brace ourselves for the potential issues ahead. But late in the morning out of nowhere, Stan Bowman did something he’s becoming notorious for.  By 9:00 AM the Blackhawks had signed dear old friend Daniel “Carbomb” Carcillo to a one way, $550,000 dollar contract after the Pittsburgh Penguins had released him from his tryout contingent contract. With the injury and unknown of Brandon Mashinter, the deal made a bit of sense. But had you told me on October 3rd that 24 games into the season Carcillo would have 5 pts (3 goals and 2 assists), including only 6 minutes spent in the box and already returned from a scary knee setback?!  I would have laughed you out of the room – but that was then. Now Carcillo is a solid +2 through 14 games and is slowly becoming the steal of the year for the Blackhawks.

“I knew how to play the game before I knew how to fight!” – Daniel Carcillo

After the news began to circulate through the Chicagoland area, there were more than mixed emotions circulating. “Did the Hawks just sign the crazy, uncontrollable, irritable, emotional Carbomb?” “Did we just waste $550,000 dollars of valuable cap space?” I sat in the 300 level at the final home preseason game and the home opener, hearing many a fan clamor for the demise and extradition of Carcillo, but only a few shared the same thoughts as I – just give him a second chance – doesn’t everybody deserve one anyways?

To say that the Chicago Blackhawks would go a season without an enforcer on their roster with Q at the helm, is like saying there weren’t any witches in Salem had you lived in Salem at the time of witches – the idea is just ridiculous. Carcillo first signed with the Hawks in July of 2011, but by January the 13th of 2012, after a suspension had ended, he was placed on season ending IR to fix the knee he almost re-injured in October. Despite the injury, Carcillo signed a two year extension in March of 2012 that would secure his eventual spot on the Stanley Cup Championship team in 2013. You’ll remember him best for his tie-breaking goal with 49.3 seconds left against the Colorado Avalanche on March 6, 2013 to keep the record streak alive. After 2013 he was traded to LA, who then traded him to the NY Rangers, where he played out the season, competing in a second consecutive Stanley Cup Final.

Saturday evening Carcillo got another chance to face a former team but this time it was as a member of his hometown team. Though Carcillo had been traded from Midwest, to West, to the East, he had begun to build his life in the Chicagoland area. Having been expecting a child (Austin Wolf, born on 11-25-14) and unsure about his future in hockey, he had decided on Chicago for his family to call home. When the Hawks called late in training camp, there was no hesitation.  Despite the speculation, Carcillo has just about doubled his 2013 production in about half the number of games. In 2013 he played 23 games with 2 Goals and 1 assist to total 3 pts. This year having played in 14 games, he already has 3 goals and 2 assists for 5 points – even more glaring is the penalty minutes he’s taken so far this year – better yet, the lack of them.

In his last five games he’s tallied 1 goal and 2 assists and only taken 2 Penalty minutes, aside from the 5 min fighting major he took late in the Kings game, taking exception to a hit from Brayden Mcnabb. Following the fight Carbomb left his former team and mediocre fan base in Los Angeles with a wave that summed up the evening for both sides – royalty on vacation.  If his goal and wave had been the only things that stood out this weekend – I’d be lying through my teeth. The brightest attribute went on display 13:30 into the game Friday night against the Anaheim Ducks, when Carcillo fed a beautiful backhand pass to Duncan Keith, who then slide a shot pass to the tape of Shaw’s stick to put the Hawks up 2-0. It might have been the most well executed offensive zone play for the Hawks so far this year and it started with the puck handling and vision of Danny Carcillo – illustrating his solid impact that continues to come from his ice presence, not his physicality or agitation.

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As December begins the Hawks have begun to solidify their lines and Carcillo has not only filled any enforcer role needed, but has become a mainstay on the roster. He’s currently settling into his role on the third line alongside Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw. Hopefully, before Sharp returns and Saad most likely returns to play alongside Shaw, Carcillo can get Bryan Bickell’s production going – maybe his work ethic will rub off. The post season behemoth has only 3 goals and 6 assists so far through 23 games – the most frustrating he’s currently a minus-1. Bickell isn’t the only post season warrior on that current 3rd line, as Carcillo has posted a stellar +9 rating over his 45 game postseason career. If there’s anyone that can get Bickell to see how to avoid the score sheet and still make an impact (other than voracious Marian Hossa) it just might be Danny Carcillo. With the Hawks tight against the cap and most forwards on the roster making at least double his salary, Carcillo may have just saved the Blackhawks more than they would’ve ever fathomed in October. Having returned to the town where he won his Stanley Cup and with a team legitimately looking to deliver another, he seems to be focused on playing the right kind of hockey – Chicago Blackhawks hockey.

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“When you come into the league you want to make a name for yourself,” Carcillo told Cris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune. “Not everyone is a top six forward so you have to do other things that people take notice. If one of those things is when someone is taking liberties, you’re going to step up and answer the bell and not let them do that. I kind of figured that out early. Sometimes you get pigeon-holed, but I’ve always known what I can do on the ice. I knew how to play the game before I knew how to fight.”

Well, Mr. Carcillo, we’re all starting to see that! Hopefully, you keep it up!


Follow me on Twitter @ZRaderstorf, and the Hawks @Blackhawk_Up.