Musings

Deadline Passes, Stan Stands Pat With Record-Setting Team

I haven’t looked at my Twitter today since about 2, and I don’t think I’m going to. I’m sure I know what it’s filled with. And right now I don’t want to read a bunch of stuff about how Stan fucked us all out of another Cup because he didn’t discover that Wayne Gretzky actually was able to reverse in age yesterday and is now 26 again and just dying to play for the Hawks. Or that he wasn’t able to pry Vinny Lecavalier away from the Lightning for a 5th round pick and get permission from Bettman to tear up his contract at season’s end with absolutely no penalty because the NHL loves the Hawks that much.

In the end, we knew what this day would consist of. The Hawks made the one move they had available to them on Monday. Though I’m not enamored with Michal Handzus, he is kind of what they were looking for. If you want to get upset about something, go apeshit about when he’s playing wing tomorrow and Bolland is still centering for Kane and doing a horrible job of it but having it masked by Kane channeling Denis Savard ’85.

I don’t know where else Stan was supposed to go. The only move I could see was replacing Stalberg on the 3rd line with a Steve Ott type. But Steve Ott was just about the only Steve Ott type on the market, and I can’t imagine what he would have cost.

And while no one likes to hear this, in a salary cap world you can’t completely take your eye off the next year or two. Ott had another year left on his deal. Whether it was a fear of taking on more for next year when some gymnastics are going to be involved, or giving up a player who might play a role next year (be it Smith, Morin, Danault, McNeill, Clendening, either Hayes bro., etc), Stan clearly doesn’t want to be left with half a roster again. That’s frustrating to hear now, but it makes sense.

Where else was there to go? Another PP QB? Please. The Hawks PP problems are not personnel related. They’re system-related. Leddy is as good a PP QB as they would find, and they wouldn’t have to completely fuck up their defensive lineup to have him do so. If Mark Streit was brought here, which of the 6 d-men you pulling out of the lineup? Rozsival? You want to get even smaller on the blue line when the path through the West very well might require going through St. Louis-L.A.-Anaheim all in a row? Or play 7D and roll Streit out simply when there’s a power play?

A second center? Just wasn’t one out there really, other than maybe Derek Roy. And Roy was far from a perfect solution. If you want to get upset that the best solution to the problem has been and will always be simply putting Patrick Sharp where he was on June 9th, 2010, you can do that. I know I will.

At the end of the day, every team is making moves to catch the Hawks. I know everyone looks at the Pens and all that they did even though they’re fighting with the Hawks at the top of the NHL. The Hawks weren’t as in need of a grunt like Brenden Morrow, assuming you still think he can really do anything. They certainly weren’t in need of a Doug Murray, who we all know can’t do anything.

Jussi Jokinen would have been a fit. We’ve talked about that. We went over Jarome Iginla. It was on the disappointing side, but not throw chairs disappointing.

This team can line it up and be where they need to be. It’s simple. Kruger to the second line between Hossa and Sharp, with Sharp taking the draws. Saad-Toews-Kane top line. Bolland between Bicks and Stals. Fro-Zus-Shaw. That would give every line a little bit of everything.

The Hawks are tops in the league in goals-against with two decent to good goalies. So there can’t be that much wrong with the defense, can there? Yeah, we all worry about O.D. Gangstah and Hammer in the playoffs. But they’ve been so good for so long this year, they’ve probably earned the right to prove it when it matters.

Calm down, whoever you are complaining. I know you are there. 27 out of 35. They’ve won 27 out of 35. Let’s throw out the shootout wins. That’s still 22 out of 35. That’s .620 hockey. It’s been worse around here.

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