In a kind of shocking turn of events, assistant general manager of the Blackhawks Rick Dudley resigned today to pursue other opportunities. The other opportunity turned up rather quickly as Dudley has reportedly signed on with Atlanta Thrashers in the same position.
Dudley had been with the Blackhawks since 2004 when he was hired as a hockey operations consultant. Then, prior to the 2005-06 season, he was named director of player personnel. Following that season, he took the position of assistant general manager which he held until today.
He has experience as a general manager with the Ottawa Senators (1998-99), Tampa Bay Lightning (2000-2002), and the Florida Panthers (2002-2004).
Dudley has been the forgotten assistant of late with the rampant speculation that Stan Bowman is waiting to take over for Tallon. From all accounts, Dudley did a superb job with the Hawks – the Nikita Alexeev trade not withstanding. He was instrumental in the scouting of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane and was a major contributor to the Hawks acquiring Martin Havlat.
There are a few reasons why Dudley would make a lateral move like this and we’ll probably find out soon enough. Until then, I’ll dabble into reasons why he may have left. I’ll start with the most logical and work my way to the most preposterous.
- Dudley is a hockey rebuilding nomad. Take one look at his resume and you’ll notice that Dudley is constantly changing venues. Whether it’s to keep himself fresh or because he enjoys the challenge of rebuilding projects, he never stays in one spot for more than two and half years. Every one of his stops thus far, other than Ottawa to get his foot in the door, has been at a team who is in the process of rebuilding. Atlanta fits right into his protocol.
- Dudley realizes this could be his best chance at becoming a general manager again. In case you don’t follow hockey south of St. Louis, things haven’t gone so well for Thrashers GM Don Waddell lately. He botched the Hossa trade last year, is on the verge of giving away the franchise, Kovalchuk, and throws money at anyone who will give him the time of day. He hired former Chicago Wolves coach John Anderson this year and that didn’t go so well either. This might be Waddell’s last stand and if he does get the boot, Dudley will probably have first crack at getting the job.
- Dudley wanted to be closer to his family. Dudley and his wife, Ja-Hee, reside in Florida. I’m no geographical expert, but Atlanta is a whole lot closer to Florida than Chicago.
- Dudley knows Dale Tallon’s days are numbered and he has a better chance of scoring a nicer weave than nabbing the Hawks GM position. With Tallon going into this season as a lame duck and Stan Bowman anxiously awaiting his turn, Dudley knows he’s the odd man out. Stan’s dad has been whispering sweet nothings into John McDonough’s ear for the past two years so the chances that Dudley would even get a sniff of general manager are, in a couple words, not good. Why stay somewhere when the chances for promotion are zero to none?
- In a power play move, John McDonough forced him out leaving Dale Tallon to stand alone. Obviously fairly ridiculous but I’m sure someone thinks this is the main reason he left. Dudley and Tallon worked very closely together his first couple years with the organization. Dudley would even do a decent amount of interviews for the media. Since McDonough took over, Dudley’s name has been heard less and less. With Tallon now alone, McDonough can strike his final blow. Again, this is mostly ridiculous and has zero credence to fact, but don’t be surprised if you see someone trying to use this as the reason Dudley resigned.
So there you have it. I’m more inclined to think it’s one of the first two reasons. They seem to make the most sense.
Now, time for the bad news. Martin Havlat was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 1999 when Dudley was the general manager. Havlat was acquired by the Blackhawks two weeks prior to Dudley being named assistant general manager. This summer, Atlanta has a ton of cap space.
If Dudley’s front office history has taught us anything, it’s that whenever Havlat is available, Dudley’s team will do what they can to acquire him. July 1st should be interesting.
–First off, let me give the proverbial tip of the cap to Matthew Dirt’s girlfriend for finding this article naming Adam Burish one of Chicago’s Top 20 ‘Singles’. What I found interesting, though, was this quote from darling Adam:
“Growing up, I went to Greek Orthodox Church every Sunday. I was an altar boy. The only regret I have is that I wish I would have learned to speak Greek better. All I wanted to learn was ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ and a few swear words.”
As one of the heads of the Greek community, let me say it is wonderful news that we can now embrace Adam Burish as our number one son and officially kick Chris Chelios to the curb. A beautiful day, indeed.