Musings

Friday Thoughts: Gustafsson, Rutta, And Last Night’s Pummeling

It’s been a couple days so we should get to it. Whatever your list is of grievances that you’d like to air by firing Stan Bowman, if you have one, you can add two more.

I’m sure the Hawks thought it would slip under the radar, and it kind of did because everything they do these days slips under the radar because almost all of the city doesn’t give a flying fuck about them anymore. Either way, the Hawks re-signed both Eric Gustafsson and Jan Rutta to extensions, and combined they will cost $3.5 million combined next year.

I’m going to try and be reasonable about this….

WHAT IN THE HOLY FUCK IS THIS???!!!!

Now that that’s out, let’s get to it. There’s really no other way to dress this. Both Eric Gustafsson and Jan Rutta suck. They might not be the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked, but they’re not far from the team photo. Neither one of these guys will ever rise to the level of anything more than a third-pairing d-man.

For literally no reason, Stan Bowman doubled Gustafsson’s salary. All he had to offer him was about 700K. Now, you might think the difference of about $500K really isn’t worth worrying about, but as we’ve seen, every dollar counts in a cap era, even if the cap goes up. And Gustafsson has shown nothing to warrant being offered much more than a pointed finger to the door. If he were going to provide offensive spark, we would have seen it by now. He’s 25 and basically never really flashed in the NHL. How much longer are you going to wait? And who was Stan bidding against? Who was coming to save Gustafsson from Chicago?

The Rutta one is even more baffling. He can’t regularly crack the lineup even after the trade of Michal Kempny, and yet you just hand him $2.3 million? What is it he does? Is Stan so fixated by the fact he’s been able to spasm six goals into the net and no one else on the blue line can find the right zip code with their shots? Again, what was Rutta going to get on the open market?

Here’s a list of UFA d-men you could probably get for $2.3 million this summer: Calvin de Haan, Cody Ceci, Luca Sbisa, John Moore, maybe Thomas Hickey, Dalton Prout, the aforementioned Kempny. Most of these guys suck, and yet all of them are better than Rutta.

It’s not like Stan hasn’t been able to admit a mistake. Fuck, he just traded Ryan Hartman and he wasn’t a mistake (and I’m fairly sure that trade is going to work out as having “sucked”). I have no idea why he’s doubling down on these two, but if it costs the Hawks a higher quality free agent this summer or a trade, it honestly probably should be the final nail in his coffin.

-I don’t think we can state long enough and hard enough just how pathetic the Hawks top players were last night. And you can toss out all the caveats you want–Canes are more desperate, they’ve always been a good possession team, blah blah blah–to have Corsi marks under 20% you actually have to try to do so.

I try and reserve myself about games where the Hawks haven’t looked like they care. Losing teams always look “flat,” or at least do most of the time. But the Hawks are a good possession team, or at least they have been. And for their top line and top pairing to simply get skulled by a team that doesn’t actually have a top line is simply unacceptable. You can’t say they were all there, or fully focused, to be that bad.

I can’t ask this team much more than to actually just show up and finish out the season professionally. Last night was anything but. That falls squarely on the leadership. They’re not going to fire Toews and Keith and Seabrook as captains, at least I doubt it. So you know where that goes. But I’m guessing Rocky and McD are too chickenshit to let that happen, nor do they have the scruples to replace Stan competently (which would involve probably firing Q anyway). So if the Hawks don’t care now, why am I going to assume they will next year at this time after another seven months of listening to a coach’s voice it’s becoming more and more apparent they’ve tired of?

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