Blackhawks Trade Pirri, Resign Bollig

It has been an eventful 24 hours for the Blackhawks with the trade deadline looming on Wednesday. Brandon Pirri was traded for a third and a fifth round draft pick on Sunday. Brandon Bollig signed a three-year extension Monday morning.

Pirri led the AHL in scoring last season and had brief chances with the Blackhawks this season. He was supposed to be the second line center of the future, but struggles in his defensive game kept him out of favor with Joel Quenneville. Pirri didn’t have a spot in the long-term plans of the team so they sent him to familiar trading partner Florida.

The Bollig extension is a three-year, $3.75 million deal. He has dressed in every game this year and has settled on a line with Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith. Quenneville has showed trust in the line shutting down teams best forwards. Continue reading


2013-2014 NHL Regular Season Standings Predictions

It’s hard to believe it but hockey returns tomorrow. With the Stanley Cup final ending late because of the lockout and the Olympics bumping this regular season up a few days, it was a shorter summer than normal for hockey fans. For the first time in two years there will be games in October, November and December. The 48-game season was nice because every game was important, and now it’s back to the 82-game grind where there will be more adversity and injuries. Add in a long Olympic break and anything can happen this season. Here are my predictions of how I see the regular season ending.

Atlantic Division: I think Detroit will make an immediate splash in a new division. After striking out on every relevant free agent in 2012, the Red Wings added Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss, and their young defenders will get better. Ottawa lost their captain in Alfredsson, but added Bobby Ryan. They are a well-coached team that will overachieve. Having Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson healthy will be huge. The Bruins will regret the Tyler Seguin trade but still make the playoffs. Speaking of offseason errors, Toronto will be second guessing the David Clarkson signing and Tyler Bozak resigning at the end of the season. I think Jonathan Bernier will have a strong season but the Leafs won’t return to the playoffs

1. Detroit Red Wings

2. Ottawa Senators

3. Boston Bruins

4. Montreal Canadiens

5. Tampa Bay Lightning

6. Toronto Maple Leafs

7. Buffalo Sabres

8. Florida Panthers  Continue reading

Ten Best Moments From The Blackhawks 2013 Stanley Cup Run

One month ago the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup on a Monday night in Boston. It was the end of a thrilling two months of playoff hockey with a range of emotion. Let’s revisit the wild ride and look back at the ten best and most important moments from the cup run.

1. Stanley Cup Final, Game 6

17 seconds. Enough said.

2. Western Conference Semifinals, Game 7 Continue reading

Reviewing the Blackhawks Offseason Signings

With the resigning of restricted free agent Marcus Kruger, the Chicago Blackhawks have pretty much wrapped up their offseason moves. The Blackhawks have a full roster and just over $1 million in cap room, according to Capgeek. That means general Stan Bowman won’t have to do too much work this offseason after a hectic two weeks. Bowman was busy two weeks ago at the draft when he traded Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik for a combined five draft picks. The moves freed up cap space to extend Bryan Bickell for $4 million per year over the next four seasons. Then Bowman and the Blackhawks began to retain their own restricted and unrestricted free agents, and brought in a familiar face for the backup goalie role.

Before free agency began on July 5, the Blackhawks resigned defenseman Nick Leddy to a two year contract worth $2.7 million per season. Leddy improved in his third season in Chicago. He didn’t face as much pressure on a third pairing this season and displayed some promising moments carrying the puck. The contract was fair for both sides in a two-year deal. The Blackhawks get Leddy on an affordable deal and Leddy has a chance to get better and sign a more lucrative deal in summer 2015.  Continue reading

Blackhawks Trade Bolland and Frolik, Resign Bickell

When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, they had a few weeks to enjoy the victory before the draft. This time the Blackhawks had less than a week to begin the offseason and get to work after winning the Cup. Six days after bringing a championship to Chicago, the Blackhawks were busy at the NHL Draft on Sunday.

The Blackhawks started the day drafting Chicago native Ryan Hartman with the 30th pick in the draft. A lot of people were excited that Hartman is a local kid, but the Blackhawks drafted him because of his skill and not where he was from. Then the Blackhawks, who started the day with five picks total, drafted seven more players after a few trades.

Dave Bolland was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for three draft picks. Soon after Michael Frolik was traded to the Winnipeg Jets for two picks. This opened the door for the Blackhawks to keep Bryan Bickell in Chicago for another four years. Continue reading

Blackhawks Learn How Valuable Marian Hossa is the Hard Way

Blackhawks fans began to panic just after 7 p.m. Chicago time on Monday night.

Slowly tweets started coming in that Marian Hossa was a late scratch for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. Whether you were at home on a computer or standing in a bar reading your cellphone, the surprising news began to sink in. If you weren’t around technology the announcers on NBC Sports Network let 4 million know Hossa’s status. NBC analyst Mike Milbury probably thought in his head that Hossa is a disinterested Slovakian like the rest of his European counterparts. Continue reading

Give Stan Bowman Credit

Last season left a bad taste in my mouth. Not because how the Blackhawks lost to the Coyotes. Not because the future of Marian Hossa was in jeopardy after Raffi Torres tried to end his career. The upsetting part was the impatience from Blackhawks fans about general manager Stan Bowman.

People questioned him not signing a big free agent the summer before. Fans were mad that he stayed loyal to Corey Crawford between the pipes. While Blackhawks fans blasted Bowman and wanted him gone, I knew he was the right guy for the job and wanted to give him more time. Continue reading

Adversity Needed to Make Stanley Cup Finals

The Blackhawks and Bruins barley got here. Both teams were in danger of being eliminated earlier than expected.

Boston was about to blow a 3-1 series lead against division foe Toronto in the first round. The Leafs led Game 7 4-1 with under 11 minutes to go and 4-2 with under 90 seconds remaining. The Bruins shocked the hockey world with two quick goals and won in overtime. Since then they are 8-1 in the playoffs with their only loss coming in overtime.

Chicago trailed bitter rivals Detroit 3-1 in the second round. The Blackhawks lost three straight for the first time all season and couldn’t solve Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard. The Blackhawks bounced back in Game 5 and entered the third period of Game 6 trailing by a goal. An inspired three-goal burst in the final period forced a Game 7 where the Blackhawks won in overtime. The Hawks went on to win the Western Conference in five. Continue reading