On Saturday night I came across a Tweet – a Tweet that put me in a terrible mood.
Would like to point out that if the Blackhawks win tonight and didn’t lose against the Kings twice they would be going to the playoffs . Let that sink in @BarstoolChief
— Goalie Nick (@njm1456) April 6, 2019
Now, I don’t know if this Tweet is true or not, and I don’t really care. The Chicago Blackhawks will not be taking part in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second year in a row. Blackhawks hockey, in my family, means something. Over the years great memories have been made during the playoffs.
To not have it two years in a row feels like a disservice. It sucks, there’s no other way around it. Especially with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews still playing at a high-level. Hell, both players had arguably, their best seasons of their Hall of Fame careers. Yet, it still wasn’t good enough.
That’s unacceptable from an organization who lives by the phrase: “One Goal.”
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a hit piece on general manager Stan Bowman. Although, it should be. He’s built mediocre rosters that have led to ZERO playoff series victories since 2015, the Hawks Stanley Cup victory.
While Bowman made a few solid moves during the season, there is still blame to go around. How about the whole Joel Quenneville situation? They should have fired coach Q before the season or not at all. He shouldn’t have gone out the way he did and I will stand by that forever.
I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge Jeremy Colliton, however. He opened things up on offense and allowed the stars to be stars. No one and I mean no one was ever going to fix that defense. At the very least, Colliton bought himself one more season behind the Hawks’ bench.
As always though, it starts with Stan Bowman, who met the media on Sunday and vowed this offseason would be different.
“I would expect us to be more active in the summer free agent market than we have in years past,” Bowman said.
“First of all, we have the cap flexibility to do that. We haven’t been in this position before. This is probably the first time ever we’ve had this much money to spend. Doesn’t mean we’re going to spend all of it on July 1. We have to sort of look over the next horizon of years and plan for that but we weren’t in this position a year ago or two years ago. We were shopping in a different marketplace. We have the capability to look at that and we’re going to look at trades as well.”
It’s hard to believe anything Bowman says at this point. Sure, he did acquire Brendan Perlini, Dylan Strome and Drake Caggiula, but he also brought back the same defensive unit from a year ago. Again, Bowman claimed that wouldn’t be the case in the 2019 offseason.
“We’re not going to bring the same group back,” Bowman said. “That’s clear. We don’t do that really any year. There are changes to every team, even a team that ends up winning the Cup this year will have some different players.”
I want to believe you Stan I really do, but how can I?
The only thing that is going to mend our relationship is action. I’m taking the old “I’ll believe it when I see it approach” to the Hawks’ offseason.
We’ve heard Bowman say things were going to change before…then he signed Chris Kunitz and Cam Ward…that doesn’t scream big change to me.
At this point though, most of us Hawks fans are tired of getting on Bowman. He’s not going anywhere, at least not this offseason, so we have no choice but to try and get behind him. We also have to trust him when he says changes are coming (try to at least).
So what’s next for the Hawks?
Unfortunately, it’s attempting to trust Bowman to make the right moves this offseason.
What Moves have to be made?
Let’s make a list.
- Upgrade defense: This is a must. While the Hawks have plenty of young talent in the minors, that doesn’t always translate to success. They will have to make one or two moves to vastly improve their defensive unit.
- Add another top forward: I may be in the minority on this one, but if the Hawks can add another good forward to the top two lines they all of the sudden become a very deep team. They owe it to Kane and Toews to at least try and get someone who could take some pressure off them.
Not a whole lot has to be done when you have two Hall of Fame players, yet Bowman has failed to surround them with enough talent to reach the postseason each of the last two seasons. The Hawks are young and they need to add a few veteran players that know how to win.
No, that doesn’t mean adding another 50-year-old Kunitz.
This offseason should be a busy one…then again, last offseason was supposed to be busy as well. It’s hard to trust the front office of the Blackhawks right now, but we don’t have much of a choice at this point.
The only thing we can do is hope and wait.
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