We Said, We Said

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). 

Goaltending

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. 

*      *      *

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.

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6 Responses to We Said, We Said

  1. Ban says:

    A few comments. I don’t think the Hawks planned on getting rid of Reasoner shortly after picking him up. It was only the offer sheet to Hammer that caused them to ship him out and downgrade for Taffe (if I’m not mistaken). I fully believe they intended for Reasoner to be that veteran face-off/PK guy in place of Madden.

    Turco is far from being over-paid even for a back-up. He’s not TERRIBLE as a back-up and would have seen a few more starts towards the second half of the season if the Hawks didn’t dig themselves such a deep hole in the first half. They needed the points and Crawford gave them the best chance to win. And yes, we can attribute some of the wasted points to Turco and point to his numbers, but he also won the Hawks a few games early in the season when the rest of the team was playing far below their capabilities. He’s a great mentor and a serviceable back-up, though he is under-used as you said. I’m not sure how much less you’d expect him to get paid though.

  2. John says:

    We’ve been over the Reasoner thing ad nauseum. I said from the moment he came here the Hawks were looking to ship him out. He was traded 10 days after they had matched Hjalmarsson’s offer sheet. I don’t know if that’s the red herring but I believe they were looking to deal him far before that.

    Save percentage below 90%, GAA above 3, Cristobal Huet was banished from Hawk nation for similar numbers. The other thing about Turco is he was brought here to be the starter. That’s $1.3 million for a starter who didn’t play more than 30 games, thus making him overpaid.

  3. BobbyJet says:

    Well said Ban. Marty actually started out ok, but the team for whatever reason, played their worst hockey in front of him. The reason will remain a mystery to me, since Turco has about the best attitude any player could ever have. If this team decides to hand Crawford the starting job next year, some things need to improve in his game. His most blatant deficiency is his poor stick and it has hurt the team all year. I was hoping with Turco as mentor, that would improve as the year progressed but far too many opps passes continue to go through the blue ice inches from Crawford, with no attempt for an intercept; often resulting in gimme goals. The poke check is non existent in Crawford’s game and Turco is one of the best in that regard. If Marty does decide to pack it in after this year, perhaps a spot as a goaltending consultant will be in the cards for him with this team.

  4. Ban says:

    You’re right about Huet, but he was banished because of the terrible numbers AND the $5.5 million contract. And yes, Turco was brought in as the starter at $1.3 million, but that’s pretty insignificant for a starter and a lot of back-ups are in that price range, with some actually being a bit higher. So that’s $1.3 million for a back-up that played under 30 games. Not a bad number.

  5. John says:

    Theodore made $200,000 less and put up better numbers. Just saying.

  6. AirTrafficAJ says:

    Don’t you mean “Zuzyin-Levels” instead of Zeusian?

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