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Blackhawks Like Repeat Chances

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http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=535272

CHICAGO – Jack Skille doesn't have to go far to hear about there being "no way" the Chicago Blackhawks will defend their Stanley Cup title after saying goodbye to multiple key players this summer.

All he has to do is answer his phone.

"I've got my own buddy saying that to me," said the 23-year old Skille, a winger who will get his first shot to play a full NHL season in Chicago after being drafted in 2005. "I've got my best buddy since I was 6-years-old saying that to me. He's like, 'Nah, there's no way. There's no way.' I get into arguments with him. I'll say 'Yeah … we will.'"

That's because Skille, like his soon-to-be Hawks teammates, genuinely believes there is still enough talent left behind to remain one of the NHL's top teams again. Judging by the noise level in the Chicago Hilton Friday during the opening ceremony of this year's Blackhawks fan convention, many fans also are believers.

The Blackhawks will be missing key contributors like Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg and Andrew Ladd -- not to mention effective role players like Adam Burish, Ben Eager, Colin Fraser and John Madden. But the Hawks still have a dynamic young core led by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Dave Bolland and Patrick Sharp.

That's not to mention wingers Troy Brouwer and Tomas Kopecky, plus all four of the team's top defensemen – led by Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith and fellow Olympic gold medal winner Brent Seabrook.

No doubt this summer has been tough to swallow, especially for Hawks players who watched several close friends get traded -- but they're not ready to just hand the Cup to another team without a fight.

"We hate to lose more than anything," said Toews, who is eager to get prepared for next season. "When you have that attitude and that desire, you can't really stomach the thought of someone else hoisting the Stanley cup at the end of the year, if it's not you. So, we'll go forward with that attitude."

Yet, they will also go forward without some strong personalities in their dressing room, players who helped the team's chemistry. That, more than anything else might be what's missed the most, according to Kane. He was close with several players who were dealt.

"It's tough at the beginning and then it just seems like names kept dropping off," Kane said of the trades. "It was tough, but I think the biggest thing with some of those guys is they were the best friends you had on the team. Some of them were guys who I was closest to. That's probably the worst part."

It might get worse. There's still a chance that goalie Antti Niemi also will be on his way to another team soon. If an expected Saturday decision by the arbitrator in his arbitration hearing awards him a higher salary than what the Hawks deem affordable, Hawks General Manager Stan Bowman may walk away, making Niemi an unrestricted free agent. Or Bowman could accept it and then trade him to clear cap space.

Either way, the Hawks are anxiously waiting to see what happens with yet another one of their teammates.

"That's another nerve-wracking situation," Toews said. "When it comes down to it, the way that works, you wish him all the best and whatever happens … happens. But we hope that he's still going to be on our team. We all know how good he was and what he did to help us win the Stanley Cup this year. If we want to do it again, he's one of those guys you want here."

So are the guys who were traded, but they must now be replaced. Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville are hoping the inherent pep and desire of younger, more affordable players like Skille, Bryan Bickell, Viktor Stalberg, Jake Dowell and others is enough to fill the gap.

"We've got some new guys and some young guys who were here a little bit, but are maybe unknown to the casual fan," Bowman said. "A lot of these players are not babies anymore. Jack Skille and Bickell … to be honest, they probably should have been here last year. They've been playing behind a lot of good players and they've kind of been taking the short end of it. I expect them to be able to jump right in and be able to contribute. They've been pros for three years now, so they should be ready for the opportunity."

They seemed like they were Friday, each soaking in yet another impressive fan turnout for a Hawks event in a city gone mad for hockey. Many look at this team as too depleted from what it was, but Skille said that's just one side of the coin.

"You have to look at the top six guys," he said, using the logic that he uses with his disbelieving childhood bud. "We've still got the top six. And the young guys … we're hungry. We're going to be a young team, but it's still going to be a fast team. Hopefully, we're still going to be in pretty good shape."

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I wouldn't expect any BH player to say "Yeah, we're going to suck next season", that would be a good way to lose a job. Despite knowing they won't repeat, they can't say it out loud. Unspoken rule.

Klunzo likes this

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I wouldn't expect any BH player to say "Yeah, we're going to suck next season", that would be a good way to lose a job. Despite knowing they won't repeat, they can't say it out loud. Unspoken rule.

Took the words right out of my mouth. Seriously, what do people want them to say?

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Just for the record, I realize that players are supposed to say they are going to win. That's how it is in every sport. I merely posted this for entertainment purposes because in reality the Hawks have a next to zero chance of repeating

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Just for the record, I realize that players are supposed to say they are going to win. That's how it is in every sport. I merely posted this for entertainment purposes because in reality the Hawks have a next to zero chance of repeating

I think you're in for a rude awakening. Do you have a magic crystal ball to know how guys like Stalberg, Skille, Bickel and Makarov will replace the lost players like Byfuglien, Versteeg, Ladd and Madden? No you don't. The Hawks have a very good core, and these guys coming in will be playing 3rd and 4th line roles.

As a Hawks fan, my biggest concern is replacing Byfuglien. The Hawks just don't have anyone else on the team that's good at standing in front of the net irritating the piss out of the goalie during PP's. The good news is, the Hawks PP was lethargic for much of last year and the PP coach has been replaced. With the talent the Hawks have, it *should* only get better.

I'm not saying the Hawks are favorites. I don't care who is the favorite. I like the Hawks chances better than the Wings though :lol:

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I think you're in for a rude awakening. Do you have a magic crystal ball to know how guys like Stalberg, Skille, Bickel and Makarov will replace the lost players like Byfuglien, Versteeg, Ladd and Madden? No you don't. The Hawks have a very good core, and these guys coming in will be playing 3rd and 4th line roles.

As a Hawks fan, my biggest concern is replacing Byfuglien. The Hawks just don't have anyone else on the team that's good at standing in front of the net irritating the piss out of the goalie during PP's. The good news is, the Hawks PP was lethargic for much of last year and the PP coach has been replaced. With the talent the Hawks have, it *should* only get better.

I'm not saying the Hawks are favorites. I don't care who is the favorite. I like the Hawks chances better than the Wings though :lol:

God only knows why I am responding to this, but here it goes. This post absolutely defies logic. How you can say with a straight face that the Hawks chance are better than the Wings is frightening and at the same time shows your lack of hockey knowledge (granted you are a Blackhawks "fan" meaning you started watching hockey within the last couple of years). No team can expect to lose what the Hawks did then just come into the season without skipping a beat. That will not happen. The Hawks will probably start off terrible until they all can gel. On top of that, you will probably lose Niemi....oh wait I forgot, he could possibly be replaced by Turco (GIVE EM THE CUP NOW!!!!) LAWL. Lets go ahead and compare teams:

Projected 2010 Chicago Blackhawks:

FORWARDS -

Patrick Kane / Jonathan Toews / Marian Hossa

Patrick Sharp / Dave Bolland / Tomas Kopecky

Troy Brouwer / Viktor Stalberg / Jack Skille

Bryan Bickell) / Jake Dowell / Jeff Taffe

DEFENSEMEN -

Brian Campbell / Duncan Keith

Brent Seabrook / Niklas Hjalmarsson

John Scott / Brian Connelly

Goaltenders -

Niemi - Huet

Now the projected 2010 Detroit Red Wings:

Forwards-

Holmstom / Datsyuk / Zetterberg

Franzen / Filppula / Bertuzzi

Hudler / Abdelkader / Cleary

Eaves / Helm / Miller

Defenseman-

Rafalski / Lidstrom

Kronwall / Stuart

Ericsson / Lilja (?)

Goaltenders-

Howard - Osgood

Just looking at the comparison of teams makes me laugh. Go ahead and look at the teams and try to tell me with a straight face that Chicago has a better chance than Detroit. But have fun jerking off to your core that is so godly. I mean, its not like Detroit not only has a better core, but better depth, and team as a whole.

Edited by DatsyukianDeke13
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I think you're in for a rude awakening. Do you have a magic crystal ball to know how guys like Stalberg, Skille, Bickel and Makarov will replace the lost players like Byfuglien, Versteeg, Ladd and Madden? No you don't. The Hawks have a very good core, and these guys coming in will be playing 3rd and 4th line roles.

As a Hawks fan, my biggest concern is replacing Byfuglien. The Hawks just don't have anyone else on the team that's good at standing in front of the net irritating the piss out of the goalie during PP's. The good news is, the Hawks PP was lethargic for much of last year and the PP coach has been replaced. With the talent the Hawks have, it *should* only get better.

I'm not saying the Hawks are favorites. I don't care who is the favorite. I like the Hawks chances better than the Wings though :lol:

You like the Blackhawks chances against a team that had an extended summer and didn't spend it partying? Wake up, Chicago doesn't compare to Detroit this upcoming season. Do you really think Toews and Kane are comparable to Zetterberg and Datsyuk? Do you really think Hossa is comparable to Franzen? Chicago has a good defensive core, but so do the Wings. Any team would kill for Lidstrom, Rafalski can still pull of a wicked wrister, Kronwall Kronwalls people, and Staurt punishes the guys Kronwall doesn't get. You also have Mr. Huet pumping out $5 mill out of your cap and got rid of some players to avoid being over the cap and guess what? Your team is still over the cap. With Niemi being awarded $2.75 mill, I have a hard time believing he's staying in Chicago. If Niemi leaves, your team is in a desperate need for a goalie, and Turco seems like the only logical option, which would be good because the Wings always light him up.

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You like the Blackhawks chances against a team that had an extended summer and didn't spend it partying? Wake up, Chicago doesn't compare to Detroit this upcoming season. Do you really think Toews and Kane are comparable to Zetterberg and Datsyuk? Do you really think Hossa is comparable to Franzen? Chicago has a good defensive core, but so do the Wings. Any team would kill for Lidstrom, Rafalski can still pull of a wicked wrister, Kronwall Kronwalls people, and Staurt punishes the guys Kronwall doesn't get. You also have Mr. Huet pumping out $5 mill out of your cap and got rid of some players to avoid being over the cap and guess what? Your team is still over the cap. With Niemi being awarded $2.75 mill, I have a hard time believing he's staying in Chicago. If Niemi leaves, your team is in a desperate need for a goalie, and Turco seems like the only logical option, which would be good because the Wings always light him up.

That might be a bit of a stretch

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They *are* still a good team.

I agree, their core is still there. Make no mistake, the Central should be very competitive, with Detroit and Chicago vying for the top spot, and Rinne/Halak stealing several games for the Preds and Blues respectively.

As for the Stanley Cup, a lot of times it's all about who gets hot and when. If Osgood didn't step up to the plate a couple years ago, would Detroit have won in 2008? Would they have had a shot to repeat in 2009 without his play in net?

Chicago has about as much chance of repeating as Detroit has of getting back to the pinnacle.

At least we'll all get to make C-bus our *****. :hehe:

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I think you're in for a rude awakening. Do you have a magic crystal ball to know how guys like Stalberg, Skille, Bickel and Makarov will replace the lost players like Byfuglien, Versteeg, Ladd and Madden? No you don't. The Hawks have a very good core, and these guys coming in will be playing 3rd and 4th line roles.

As a Hawks fan, my biggest concern is replacing Byfuglien. The Hawks just don't have anyone else on the team that's good at standing in front of the net irritating the piss out of the goalie during PP's. The good news is, the Hawks PP was lethargic for much of last year and the PP coach has been replaced. With the talent the Hawks have, it *should* only get better.

I'm not saying the Hawks are favorites. I don't care who is the favorite. I like the Hawks chances better than the Wings though :lol:

Tampa had Lecavalier, St. Louis, Richards, and Boyle. Another good core? Getzlaf, Perry, Pronger, Selanne, and Giguere.

Just because some teams have good cores doesn't mean it will translate into success.

That might be a bit of a stretch

Especially in terms of playoff production the last two seasons.

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Tampa had Lecavalier, St. Louis, Richards, and Boyle. Another good core? Getzlaf, Perry, Pronger, Selanne, and Giguere.

Just because some teams have good cores doesn't mean it will translate into success.

Especially in terms of playoff production the last two seasons.

In that aspect, it is not even close.

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They have Kopecky. Right there's their chance to repeat.

Hey, a few months ago we were all glad that they were becoming a force in the otherwise dull central.

As has been said, they still have their core. Add to that young guns that (according to the article) should have made the team last year (sound familiar?) and you have a team that has more of a shot than many others.

Will they make it? Only time will tell. It's hard to repeat, but it can be done. I'm betting not, but I've been wrong before.

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Wings fans should know better then anyone that as long as you keep your core together, a championship one at that, that losing players and replacing players whether through FA or from within and remaining competitive becomes a whole lot easier. Players fit in usually pretty well.

The hawks have 3 or 4 players that are NHL ready and have had sniffs of it but have not been able to crack an already full lineup for a good 3 seasons.

What the hawks will miss more then anything is Byfuglien and not for his regular season play but for his impact in the post season. Niemi on the other hand, should they lose him would suck also, though no one knows if he can be the goalie he was this year for the rest of his career. If he goes, and they get a less expensive goalie like Turco, they will still compete and may have room for some of the depth they lost. Will they repeat? Who knows, probably not considering no team has in the cap era, or in 12 years for that matter.

Also, people need to stop putting Huet on their projected hawks lineup. He is as good as gone.

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I like the Hawks chances better than the Wings though :lol:

Forgive me, but did Blackhawks announce their roster yet? Do they even have a #1 goalie? I know they have Huet, is he the #1? Capgeek.com shows only 17 players signed and are $400,000 over cap. Wings have better core, better goalies, better depth, and better coach/management (not too mention a full starting line-up). Hard to imagine Chicago and their 17 players (over the cap by $400k) will have "better chances". If Hawks have an injury or two during the regular season, that could very well ruin their chances to making the playoffs, let alone repeating.

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CAPGEEK.COM CAP CALCULATOR

FORWARDS

Troy Brouwer ($1.025m) / Jonathan Toews ($6.300m) / Patrick Kane ($6.300m)

Viktor Stalberg ($0.850m) / Patrick Sharp ($3.900m) / Marian Hossa ($5.275m)

Igor Makarov ($0.552m) / Dave Bolland ($3.375m) / Tomas Kopecky ($1.200m)

Bryan Bickell ($0.541m) / Jake Dowell ($0.525m) / Jack Skille ($0.600m)

DEFENSEMEN

Brent Seabrook ($3.500m) / Duncan Keith ($5.538m)

Brian Campbell ($7.142m) / Niklas Hjalmarsson ($3.500m)

John Scott ($0.512m) / Jordan Hendry ($0.625m)

GOALTENDERS

Antii Niemi ($2.750m) /Hannu Toivonen ($0.550m)

CARRY-OVER BONUS PENALTY: $4,157,753

CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)

(these totals are compiled using the bonus cushion)

SALARY CAP: $59,400,000; CAP PAYROLL: $58,720,757; BONUSES: $65,000

CAP SPACE (20-man roster): $744,243

OR.. (supposedly if they let Niemi walk they have an agreement with Turco)- Then things look a lot better.

CAPGEEK.COM CAP CALCULATOR

FORWARDS

Troy Brouwer ($1.025m) / Jonathan Toews ($6.300m) / Patrick Kane ($6.300m)

Viktor Stalberg ($0.850m) / Patrick Sharp ($3.900m) / Marian Hossa ($5.275m)

Free Agent ($1.000m) / Dave Bolland ($3.375m) / Tomas Kopecky ($1.200m)

Bryan Bickell ($0.541m) / Jake Dowell ($0.525m) / Jack Skille ($0.600m)

John Scott ($0.512m)

DEFENSEMEN

Brent Seabrook ($3.500m) / Duncan Keith ($5.538m)

Brian Campbell ($7.142m) / Niklas Hjalmarsson ($3.500m)

Free Agent ($1.000m) / Jordan Hendry ($0.625m)

GOALTENDERS

Marty Turco ($1.150m) /Hannu Toivonen ($0.550m)

CARRY-OVER BONUS PENALTY: $4,157,753

CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)

(these totals are compiled using the bonus cushion)

SALARY CAP: $59,400,000; CAP PAYROLL: $58,568,257; BONUSES: $65,000

CAP SPACE (21-man roster): $896,743

Edited by Dave82RWS

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You know a team has no depth when Tomas Kopecky is on your 3rd line. And where do people get this idea that Turco will play for a $1.1 - $1.5 million? The guy already turned down $2 million on a relatively long term contract from a true cup contender in the east. Worse case scenario, I can see him getting a nice 1-year payout in the KHL if he doesn't get his money here in the NHL this year.

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I don't know if it goes on the Bonus Penalty, but if Huet is "as good as gone", his buyout will go against the cup. Has Huet been bought out yet?

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God only knows why I am responding to this, but here it goes. This post absolutely defies logic. How you can say with a straight face that the Hawks chance are better than the Wings is frightening and at the same time shows your lack of hockey knowledge (granted you are a Blackhawks "fan" meaning you started watching hockey within the last couple of years). No team can expect to lose what the Hawks did then just come into the season without skipping a beat. That will not happen. The Hawks will probably start off terrible until they all can gel. On top of that, you will probably lose Niemi....oh wait I forgot, he could possibly be replaced by Turco (GIVE EM THE CUP NOW!!!!) LAWL. Lets go ahead and compare teams:

Projected 2010 Chicago Blackhawks:

FORWARDS -

Patrick Kane / Jonathan Toews / Marian Hossa

Patrick Sharp / Dave Bolland / Tomas Kopecky

Troy Brouwer / Viktor Stalberg / Jack Skille

Bryan Bickell) / Jake Dowell / Jeff Taffe

DEFENSEMEN -

Brian Campbell / Duncan Keith

Brent Seabrook / Niklas Hjalmarsson

John Scott / Brian Connelly

Goaltenders -

Niemi - Huet

Now the projected 2010 Detroit Red Wings:

Forwards-

Holmstom / Datsyuk / Zetterberg

Franzen / Filppula / Bertuzzi

Hudler / Abdelkader / Cleary

Eaves / Helm / Miller

Defenseman-

Rafalski / Lidstrom

Kronwall / Stuart

Ericsson / Lilja (?)

Goaltenders-

Howard - Osgood

Just looking at the comparison of teams makes me laugh. Go ahead and look at the teams and try to tell me with a straight face that Chicago has a better chance than Detroit. But have fun jerking off to your core that is so godly. I mean, its not like Detroit not only has a better core, but better depth, and team as a whole.

Not sure where you came up with those Hawk lines. You have 2 centers on the 2nd line, 2 right wings on the first line, no center on the 3rd line, the 2 offensive defencemen paired together and the 2 stay at home defensemen paired together. I'll admit one thing. If the Hawks did use your horrid proposed lines and defense pairings, then yes they would be in a boatload of trouble. Maybe that's why you're so confused? ;)

Anyway....the big potential problem for the Hawks will be depth at forward. I never said they won't miss a beat. There's a lot of unknown here. Luckily though, the depth of forward probably won't be a terribly big issue until the playoffs. The hope for the Hawks and us Hawk fans is that a few of these guys step up in a big way throughout the season.

Also keep in mind that the Hawks will probably be able to make a trade or two to fill needs at the deadline. It will be much easier to fit guys under the cap for the last 1/4 of the season, and the Hawks certainly have the prospects and picks to get anything they need done, done.

I think the 2 guys that have a huge chance to step up big this season are Jack Skille, and even more than him, Viktor Stalberg. Stalberg skates like the wind and is a good forechecker. I really think he's going to end up on the first line with Kane and Toews before it's said and done. The Hawks tend to put third liners with those 2 guys (see Buff, Bickell and Broewer from last year). This guy is going from playing with garbage in Toronto to world class talent now...he has the potential to explode IMO.

As for losing Niemi? Yeah that will hurt if he leaves. And I think he will be gone. But he's young and it wouldn't be wise for the Hawks to invest too much in him. A lot of goaltenders start off their career hot...get figured out by the league and then they are meh. The Hawks don't need to be repeating their mistake with Huet again. I think they'll go the route the Wings have often go,...try to find sufficient and somewhat inexpensive goaltending, and put a great team in front of that goaltender.

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I like the Blackhawks chances to repeat this year. 2006-07 to be exact

Edited by Jersey Wing
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I don't know if it goes on the Bonus Penalty, but if Huet is "as good as gone", his buyout will go against the cup. Has Huet been bought out yet?

Rocky Wirtz indirectly addressed that at the Hawks convention today. While he didn't mention a specific player, it was obviously about Huet. He said he is willing to bury money to keep the team in the best possible shape.

Huet will be in the AHL or Europe this winter. He will not be bought out, though. The Hawks don't have the capspace to buy him out.

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