I’ll kick this series off, though this one comes with a caveat.
Adam Creighton never stood a chance with me. That’s because he was acquired for my first favorite Hawk, Rick Vaive. I wrote about this last summer. I can’t really tell you why Rick Vaive won my heart. I think I was just attracted to the #27, as my birthday is on the 27th and 27 always just looks kind of cool on any jersey in any sport. And it’s not like Vaive was useless, because in his one full season in Chicago he put up 43 goals (Jesus, Rick Vaive scored 43 goals!). He scored 50+ goals three times with Toronto. He also arrived with Stumpy Thomas for Al Secord and Eddie Olczyk, and anything that put Eddie O out of town can’t be bad.
But this was the late 80’s and early 90’s, and back then the prevailing theory was that you needed an obelisk to plant in front of the net if you wanted to be good. Back then, there were only certain players who could do that, because the area in front of the net was the land that law forgot then. If Andrew Shaw came up in 1988, he would have been in traction within a matter of weeks. In the division, the Wings had Probert, the Stars had Dino Fucking Ciccarrelli, the Blues had a pack of douchebags led by Gino Cavallini, and the Hawks didn’t really have one. So out went Vaive and in came Adam Creighton.
Creighton was only 23 at the time of the trade, but only had an 18-goal season to his name in Buffalo the year before. But he was 6-5, 220, and that kind of size wasn’t as common in the NHL as it is now.
The problem was that size couldn’t fucking move, or handle a puck, or really do anything.
You think it was tough watching Handzus or Bollig get up the ice when their much faster teammates were already in the zone, tapping their feet and looking at their watch waiting on them. Well, the Hawks had the same problem with Creighton in the much slower era of the NHL. And that was with half the games on a rink that was 20 feet shorter! And the Hawks were hardly the league’s fastest team back then. You ever see a video of people waiting for a sloth to cross a road? That was basically every shift for Creighton.
Yeah yeah, Creighton managed 34 goals in his first full year on West Madison, with 12 coming on the power play where he didn’t have to do anything (Steve Thomas scored 40 that year. God Steve Thomas was awesome). He also managed 224 penalty minutes that year, endearing himself to some of the meatballs though if I recall they were all of the dumb and slow variety. He managed three goals in the playoffs as the Hawks made their regular march to the Conference Final to get absolutely bent over by the Oilers. He managed a further 59 penalty minutes in 20 playoff games, which isn’t all that easy to do and would see you tossed into the deepest recesses of Russia today if you tried it.
The only good thing Creighton produced in his time was that when Judd Sirott was the producer of the afternoon show on The Score and I was a regular caller as a child, Sirott went on an off-air rant about Creighton that contained more expletives per minute, perhaps per second, than has ever been managed by any other human in the history of time. Andrew Dice Clay or Miles Davis would have turned red listening to this. I think it scarred me for life, though I’m forever appreciative to have heard it and know what true anger is.
Creighton managed one more full season in Chicago putting up 20+ goals. He was then punted to the Islanders with Steve Thomas (so he was traded for one more talented winger and then with another because the Hawks then needed to keep coughing up skill) for Brent Sutter. Sutter actually ended up being magical in the spring of 1992 before the Hawks got totally Lemiuex-ed in the Final. So thanks for that, Creights.
Adam Creighton came, was stationary, and then was gone. And he broke the heart of a little boy upon his arrival. He never had a chance.
Now we want yours. Tell us who and why was your least favorite Hawks of all time, and we’ll post it on the site throughout August. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Least Favorite Hawk” in the subject line.