Nov 16, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman (left) presents a silver stick to center Brad Richards (center) commemorating his 1,000th game with Richards
Given all that’s gone down in the past few days, it’s no wonder why our beloved Chicago Blackhawks looked so mentally distracted in their terrible 4-0 loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning this past Friday.
There had to have been tremendous rumblings in the Hawks locker room in the wake of injuries to Patrick Kane and Johnny Oduya about possible personnel shifts GM Stan Bowman was eyeing to make. It’s a safe bet that any player that did not have the numbers 19, 2, or 81 on their back probably took the ice in Florida wondering if it would be the last time they would do so as a Chicago Blackhawk.
Now that the trade-deadline dust has settled, whether the price Bowman paid for Andrew Desjardins, Antoine Vermette, and Kimmo Timonen was worth it remains to be seen, but regardless, these acquisitions are very telling of Bowman’s motivations as the Blackhawks’ GM.
Suffice it to say, in the NHL there are GM’s in the business of hockey, and there are GM’s in the business of winning. Bowman’s recent transactions has made the case that he certainly falls into the latter category.
Even with an injury to Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks are still in the thick of the playoff picture. For many GM’s in the NHL, this certainly is a satisfactory scenario. Playoff-caliber teams are marketable teams, and as long as a team is marketable, many GM’s are happy.
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However, Bowman has demonstrated these past few days that even with his franchise winning two Stanley Cups in the past five years, and the Blackhawks being perhaps one of the most marketable teams in the NHL, he’s looking far beyond the bottom line.
With the Blackhawks in playoff contention, had Bowman stayed fast and held on to his draft picks, not many would blame him. Patrick Kane is an irreplaceable player with no equal on the trade market and the Hawks will sorely need draft picks this upcoming offseason when they will have to go through a roster overhaul to balance contracts, sign key players, and stay under the salary cap.
Instead, Bowman displayed his understanding that now is not the time to be conservative given the imminent roster purge coming up this offseason that will lead to various degrees of rebuilding over an unknown period of time. Thus, he pulled the trigger to bring in known quantities than can help maintain the Blackhawks competitive edge for the remainder of the regular season and in the playoffs. Yes, these transactions are gambles, but they’ve made it abundantly clear that Bowman is committed to helping the Blackhawks in any way he can get back to the Promised Land that is the Stanley Cup Finals.
This attitude of Bowman may not be fully appreciated by some Hawks fans, but anyone who cheered for the Hawks during the Bill Wirtz regime, or anyone that’s a Chicago Bears fan for that matter, can certainly take tremendous solace knowing that without a doubt Bowman is not motivated by dollar signs alone.
Tonight the Blackhawks take on the Carolina Hurricanes, giving Hawks Nation its first look at the newest players to don the indian-head sweater. Here’s hoping the Hawks can make the most of the newest tools provided by their GM.
FOR THE DAGGER!