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Monday, May 17, 2010
No surprise to see Tallon back as GM

By Jesse Rogers

Dale Tallon
Dale Tallon made some mistakes, but he also put together a team that reached the Western Conference finals two years in a row.

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- It doesn’t come as a surprise to Chicago Blackhawks followers that former GM Dale Tallon was hired for the same position in Florida.

Rumors have circulated since he was relieved of his GM duties with the Hawks last summer that Tallon wanted another chance. The Hawks did retain his services by naming him a senior adviser, a position he held until leaving for Florida.

Tallon kept a low profile as a Hawks adviser. He was rarely, if ever, seen at the United Center this season. Nor has he traveled with the team during the postseason as have other front office personnel, including Scotty Bowman, who also is a senior adviser.

Tallon and former assistant general manager Rick Dudley, along with current GM Stan Bowman, helped build the Hawks into a contender. Dudley recently was named general manager of the Atlanta Thrashers.

Jonathan Toews isn't sure Tallon gets enough credit for his role in putting this team together.

“Maybe not,” Jonathan Toews said. “That’s why I when I talk to him I always remind him we’re in here thinking about him and we don't forget the contributions he’s made to this team and this locker room.

“Knowing where we are right now, he would love to be here but unfortunately it doesn't always work that way. I think it’s always a good thing for him to reminded that the boys haven’t forgotten about him yet.”

Some of Tallon’s boldest and best moves came via trade. He moved Matt Ellison, currently in the KHL, to Philadelphia for dynamic forward Patrick Sharp. He traded underachieving Brandon Bochenski to Boston for winger Kris Versteeg, as well as moving Mark Bell in a three-way trade for Martin Havlat.

“I’m glad to see [Tallon] back in that position," Sharp said. "I know he’s going to be good for the Panthers organization. I wish him all the best and he knows that I’m thankful that he brought me to Chicago. He’s had a hand in building this team just like a lot of people have and if you go around the room there is a lot of people in here proud of what he’s done.”

He also drafted Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, among others.

"I’ll always remember the draft," Kane said. "You never really see a guy with [my] size go number one. I’ll probably always remember that about him. To have that courage and sense to pick a guy like myself.”

Tallon had less fortune with free-agent signings. The most glaring was the four-year deal he handed out to Cristobal Huet for $5.6 million per year.

He was in charge when the organization decided to sign little known goaltender Antti Niemi, and he was able to lure Marian Hossa to the Hawks as well. The Hossa signing would be his last major move as GM.

Late last summer, the Hawks relieved him of his duties, and promoted Stan Bowman, after a publicly embarrassing episode that had the Hawks filing paperwork late for a group of their own restricted free agents. The move arguably cost the Hawks millions of dollars and moved them closer to the salary cap.

To this day, it’s unclear who was at fault. Assistant general managers usually have a major hand in clerical duties of that sort. Team president John McDonough never indicated it was the sole reason Tallon was fired, but intimated it was part of a bigger communication issue with Tallon.