Hindsight is Near-Sighted

Sure, the writing appeared on the proverbial wall for Dale Tallon long before this week when he was replaced by former Blackhawks Assistant GM Stan Bowman as General Manager.  After all, in spite of managing the NHL’s youngest team to a conference final, Tallon hadn’t received even a whiff of a contract extension as the team’s GM.

One of the popular questions around the NHL in regards to Tallon’s dismissal revolves around when the decision was made to replace him.  Sure, the RFA snafu occurred just a couple weeks prior to the official decision – perhaps giving the Hawks hierarchy “cover” to make such a decision – but that couldn’t have been the impetus for firing, arguably, one of the league’s most successful GMs, could it?

Well, not if you re-listen to this May 18th interview with Rocky Wirtz on the Score, 670 AM.  While Rocky’s answers were less than transparent at the time, each answer seemingly foreshadowed this week’s management shake-up.  Among the more interesting answers were the following:  

– When asked about Dale Tallon’s future – and this was just following game one of the Western Conference Finals, mind you – Rocky said, “Dale is gonna be just fine.”  Just fine?  The GM of one of the NHL’s final four teams is going to be just fine?  You mean, like, reassigned within the organization for a raise, just fine?  Yeah, probably.

– When asked how the Blackhawks would keep its young stars together, Rocky responded, “That’s where Stan Bowman has to come in.”  Huh?  The Assistant GM has to come in to sign the team’s players – to do, ya know, the GM’s job?  Isn’t that a touch odd?  Yeah, probably.

– When asked to discuss the role each person in management had in making personnel decisions, Rocky described Stan Bowman as “the brain trust behind Dale Tallon.”

– Rocky also went out of his way to mention that the elder Bowman only offers insights on organizational activities when asked.  Odd, don’t you think, for a senior advisor of Bowman’s ilk to provide guidance only when asked?  Wouldn’t you think, given Bowman’s experience, that there would be times he could foresee important happenings before they occurred, and in so doing, given he’d be the only one with this knowledge, wouldn’t it be beneficial to the Hawks if he advised members of management on these happenings, ya know, before he was asked by a member of management to do so? 

So, what good would it be for an owner of a franchise, absent knowledge that he would soon promote said senior advisor’s son or the senior advisor himself, to tell the world that the senior advisor has an oddly limited role within the organization?  Anyone?  Anyone?

Weird, indeed.  At the very least Rocky’s rewind Nostradamous impression casts John McDonough as an even bigger lying sack than he appeared at Tuesday’s press conference.  McD’s comment that the Blackhawks would “probably not” have fired Tallon absent the RFA mishap seems downright asinine given his owner’s comments two months earlier.

And, that brings us to a more recent radio interview: this time with former Blackhawks Assistant GM Rick Dudley this past Tuesday by the FAN in Toronto.  (Thanks to Chris over at Third Man In for pointing to this one.)  Though Dudley essentially recuses himself through much of the interview, he does admit that John McDonough has recently become increasingly involved in the team’s hockey operations. 

And, yes, that’s the same John McDonough who tells anyone who will listen that he’s not a “hockey guy.”

Seems to me that McD is really just a Bill Wirtz in logo-emblazoned lamb’s clothing…

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14 Responses to Hindsight is Near-Sighted

  1. josh says:

    you’re comparing john mcdonough to bill wirtz?


  2. blackhawkbob says:

    Well, I said “a Bill Wirtz,” so not entirely.

    I was merely trying to underline my distaste for McDonough, who just spent all week lying to you.

  3. Lou says:

    gonna be interesting. I think if Bowman makes a good move and we come out of the gate strong McD can hide in the basement of the UC.

    It will be interesting to see if anyone calls him out and how he responds.

    Funny thing on Havlat, now he loves us. And no one is backing him. I think it is just time for everyone to say thanks Marty and good luck with your new team. And he needs to talk more about Minn than us.

    So what does Stan do?

  4. Patrick says:

    Hey Stan, read this! I have a deal that I’d propose:

    Buff + Sopel to Colorado for Salei OR Foote (plus a late-round pick).

    Buff has high trade value right now and if any team wants him or another of the Hawks high-value players, you have to take back Sopel’s dead weight. This deal gets the Hawks a hard-hitting D-Man to pair with Barker and $2.2MM in cap relief this year with $5MM in relief next year as both Foote and Salei are playing on expiring contracts.


  5. Jason says:

    I think Stan Bowman’s first move will be to trade one of the excess forwards
    (Versteeg, Buff, Sharp). I’ve heard Tronto being thrown around as a possible trade partner.

  6. Patrick says:

    I’ve heard Toronto too, but what do they have that the Hawks would want – Garnett Exelby? If we want the Hawks to move a D-Man (Sopel) to get a D-Man (XLB), I don’t see them as being a good fit.

    If I were the Hawks, the thing that I’d want would be cap relief for this year (don’t want to get into the bonus cushion) and moreso next year, and to not have to get too stupid to get it…

  7. Jason says:

    I’ve heard Kaberle’s name thrown around. I think his cap hit is around 4 million so it wouldn’t make sense to do a 1-1 trade with any of the forwards but if Bowman can find a way to throw Barker or Sopel in
    the deal that could work out well. Kaberle’s a decent PP QB as well so it would make sense to agressively shop Brian Campbell.

  8. Patrick says:

    Kaberle has a two hear cap hit at $4MM so he’d be no relief (and I heard he might be on his way to Vancouver). Campbell’s going nowhere this year with his monster salary – and I’m not bad with that. Yes, he’s overpaid, but he’s workable. Also, I wouldn’t trade Barker…

  9. Lou says:

    I wonder what McD is going to do after the convention.

    Kaberle is rumored to be going to Vancouver

  10. John says:

    Any rumor from Eklund needs to be taken with an extremely large grain of salt.

    For the sake of being proven wrong, the Hawks braintrust won’t be making any moves until early August.

  11. Lou says:

    I think your right on the timing and for Eklund

    On eck, along with a full bottle of tequila and a dozen limes. I think Niemi has a higher save percentage than he has of rumors coming true. I just threw that out for giggles. It is hilarious to read the people jag him on his posts

  12. cb says:

    It was rough not having a villain in the ownership/management. Good times are back!

  13. Lou says:

    BTW – soemeone needs to tell Rocky about statements that insinuate someone is old and therefore you terminate them, can lead to age discrimination claims. So maybe both Rocky and McD can take a short fishing trip and let Stan and Q and Bergevin run things for a while.

    The other big question is who will be Stan’s assistant.

  14. JD Noce says:

    Nobody will care this time next year when we get to pose with Lord Stanley’s Cup at the convention.

    it’ll be tough work for stan…seeing as his predecessor nearly guaranteed the Hawks to make some tough decisions.

    Typical Hawks fan crap. Always something to bitch about.

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