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Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman’s Folly

By Keith Schultz
Jun 2, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman talks with media during media day the day before the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 2, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman talks with media during media day the day before the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

In Stan We Trust

In Stan we trust has been a slogan said and typed a lot on Twitter during the past 6 years in Chicago Blackhawks TwitterLand.  The Chicago Blackhawks GM has been a salary cap wizard, he’s kept the Chicago Blackhawks core in tact for three Stanley Cup Championships in the past 6 seasons, and he’s been able to find gold in them there hills with players most fans thought were average to way past their prime.

One of the best trades that Bowman ever made was way back in 2012 when for a couple of future 2nd round draft picks he was able to get a journeyman defenseman by the name of Johnny Oduya to Chicago.  His record with the Chicago Blackhawks was really incredible especially his win percentage which was ridiculous, and oh by the way he won 2 Stanley Cups in 3 and a quarter seasons.

The thing about Oduya is that he made up the Big 4 for the Chicago Blackhawks defense something that Coach Joel Quenneville could lean on especially in the playoffs where he rode Oduya along with Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Niklas Hjalmarsson every night to a Cup in 2015.

The Big Folly

The Stan Bowman folly of course is that it’s the Salary Cap era and decisions have to be made.  If this was the 1960’s who knows how many Cups the Hawks could have won by just keeping their super young and talented team together after the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship.

Yet, in this era d tough choices have to be made so the Chicago Blackhawks couldn’t re-sign Johnny Oduya, and the Big 4 were reduced to the Big 3. The Hawks did pick up Trevor Daley a puck moving offensive minded defenseman in the salary shedding Patrick Sharp deal, but he for some reason which still confuses me Daley couldn’t find a niche in the Joel Quenneville system and requested a trade.

The Daley’s lack of finding a spot started a series of events that eventually led to the Chicago Blackhawks Game #7 loss on Monday night.  Daley asked for a trade and Stan Bowman found a trading partner in the Pittsburgh Penguins who sent over Rob Scuderi.  If Daley didn’t fit into the puzzle, then Scuderi didn’t even belong in the box of pieces.  Somehow at the deadline, Bowman traded Scuderi to the LA Kings for Christian Ehrhoff.  Again it was Coach Q that couldn’t find a spot for Ehrhoff (another puck moving d-man who one one think fits perfectly in the Hawks system) when somehow a season earlier was able to find a role for the way over the hill Kimmo Timonen.

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The real folly isn’t the Daley thing, but it sure was the start of it.  The real folly is that Stan Bowman didn’t pick up a defenseman at the trade deadline.  He made a deal for Andrew Ladd  which was probably exactly what the Chicago Blackhawks needed, but instead of trading for a defenseman to join the Big 3, Bowman dealt Phillip Danault a promising center for Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise.

This is the deal that stung the most. Weise until Game #6 was a total waste and Fleischmann had some nice moments on the PK but of course he wasn’t a blueliner, and to be honest both players could have easily been replaceable by the likes of Bryan Bickell or any young prospect in Rockford.

The Chicago Blackhawks were weak at defense which teams like the Dallas Stars exposed on a regular basis this season, and in the third period of Game #7 Erik Gustafsson made a ridiculously stupid decision and then didn’t get back in time to stop Troy Brouwer from putting the puck in the back of the net.

The Hawks needed their to be a solid NHL veteran defenseman on the ice in Game #7 at that moment, but in the end Stan Bowman’s folly is the reason the Hawks are headed to the golf course and their off season homes in Canada, US, and abroad instead of making plans to take on the Dallas Stars in the next round.

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The window is still open for the Chicago Blackhawks to win more Stanley Cups, but Stan Bowman has to figure out who the next defenseman is to join the Big 3 or this feeling will be the same one we are feeling once again next spring.

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