The following ran in Sunday’s Season Review of The Committed Indian. All of the quoted are from things we posted in our blog throughout this season and previous off-season. The John Scott text exchange, you’ll just have to trust us on that one.
One of the nice – or dangerous – things about keeping a blog is that it can serve as something of a time capsule, providing glimpses of our thoughts on different Blackhawk-related issues throughout the past few seasons. As we wrap our third regular season at the Fifth Feather and with the Committed Indian, it seems appropriate to reflect on some of our thoughts last summer and to compare them to what they are now.
We should remind you of the mood during the summer, as if you’ve forgotten. Fresh off the Hawks’ first Stanley Cup in 49 years, complaining about roster moves while Labatt’s was still flowing from Lord Stanley wasn’t exactly in-line with the times. Besides, everything was such sunshine and roses that every move was viewed by most in the most optimistic light.
Another important point is that this was the first time we were looking at a Stan-Bowman-built team. There was no precedent, so naturally, we all expected the best. There were no red flags and no scar tissue from previous moves.
As you’ll see, perhaps we should have been more critical.
Fernando Pisani signs a one-year, $500,000 deal
What We Thought Then: “At the worst, Pisani gives the Hawks one of the most fundamentally sound penalty killers in the league. Best case scenario, he has stretches reminiscent of his pre-colitis days when he was a solid two-way player and a legitimate threat for 20 goals.”
What We Think Now: Pisani is such a fundamentally sound penalty killer that he doesn’t see a minute of killing on one of the worst units in the league. He has probably bought himself another year in the league by staying as healthy as he has; just please don’t let it be anywhere near Chicago. Now would be a good time to talk him up to your friends in Detroit. (That was a joke; no one has any friends in Detroit.)
Nick Leddy Signs His Entry-Level Deal
What We Thought Then: “I don’t care what Stan Bowman said about him during Prospects Camp, he’s not one step away from playing with the Blackhawks. Bowman’s excitement over Leddy has led some to believe that he’s on some sort of fast track. Sorry to burst that bubble, but again, this just goes back to the Hawks not wanting (University of Minnesota Head Coach Don) Lucia to stall Leddy’s progression anymore than he already has.”
What We Think Now: Clearly we all underestimated how great Stan Bowman’s love for Nick Leddy was. Leddy has proven time and again that he’s a very green defenseman with the potential to be pretty special someday. Unfortunately, his growth may also have been stunted by the Hawks’ pushing him before he was ready. It will be a couple years before we know for sure. What we do know for sure is that playing less than 10 minutes a night doesn’t help anybody – the Hawks’ Cup chances included.
Marty Reasoner traded for Jeff Taffe
What We Thought Then: “Marty Reasoner has now joined the immortal Kelly Kisio as one of the shortest tenured Blackhawks in team history. As was predicted many times, Marty Reasoner was sent packing – to Florida for career AHL’er Jeff Taffe.”
What We Think Now: At the time, it was quite evident that the Hawks were looking to deal Marty Reasoner as soon as they acquired him. What wasn’t so obvious was how incredibly short-sighted the deal was. It’s no secret that we’ve elevated Reasoner to Zeusian heights, but it’s only because of how badly the Hawks have needed someone like him all year. And all he would have cost was a little over a million – the same as Nick Boynton and John Scott combined. Now, look at what you made us do.
John Scott Signed to a 2-year, $1.24 million deal
What We Thought Then: The following is a transcript of text messages exchanged between the Feather’s two halves on the first day of free agency:
Bob: John Scott
John: Who the hell is that?
Bob: Newest Hawk
John: Never heard of him, where did he come from?
Bob: Minnesota, he’s 6’8”, mostly a fighter
John: Good God, they’re going to fucking blow
What We Think Now: Pretty much the exact same. While it’s nice to have some muscle around, it doesn’t do much good in the press box (unless Barry Rozner is running his yap again).
What We Thought Then: “Statistically, Turco should be better than Niemi was. Whether he can come up as large during shootouts – or whether he will even have to – will probably answer how quickly people forget about Niemi… At 27 years old, this is (Corey) Crawford’s best chance to impress into becoming a starting NHL goalie. A solid 25-30 starts this year will make him the shoo-in to be the 2011-2012 Blackhawks starting goalie.”
What We Think Now: Well, we were right about Crawford’s impressive campaign turning him into next year’s starter. The Turco thing, not so much. He has gone from a promising bargain during the summer to an over-priced, under-used back-up. After a relatively promising start, Turco bottomed out shortly thereafter. Look, we all love Turco for his adorable antics, but watching a once-great player look barely average is Michael-Jordan-in-a-Wizard-uniform depressing. It’s not good for anybody, and in the end, we all feel worse about ourselves for having watched.
The Hawks Matching San Jose’s offer sheet to Niklas Hjalmarsson
What We Thought Then: “Basically, I have no idea what the right move is. Whatever Bowman ultimately chooses, it’s going to piss off a ton of people.”
What We Think Now: Somewhere in the Feather archives, we warned about Hjalmarsson’s willingness to take the big hit catching up to him somewhere down the line. Who knew it would be so quickly? Clearly not us. What’s evident now is how Hjalmarsson wants no part of hanging on to the puck for that extra second to take a hit. Of all the “core” Hawks, he’s taken the biggest step back. Let’s not forget there was talk in the summer about him developing into a power play pointman. Ouch, babe.
On Duncan Keith after a 5-2 win over Columbus on October 16th
What We Thought Then: “It’s no secret Duncan Keith has been all over the place in the early-going. His big problem seems to be the lack of simplicity to his game. What made him so good last season was his propensity for making simple plays in a simple way. So far he’s already filled his cross-ice-own-zone or backhand saucer pass quota for the season. Keep it simple, stupid.”
What We Think Now: Keith is another “core” member who regressed. As you can see, he’s making the same mistakes now as he was in October. Sure, there have been stretches of high-level play, but the consistency in his game has been lacking in a “How I Met Your Mother” sort of way.
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As up-and-down as this campaign has been, there is some relatively good news: it seems as though this summer won’t be here for a while. Now, let’s go keep ourselves out of this 8th spot.