Thursday, July 5, 2012
Hawks missed, but so did Wings, Preds
By Jesse Rogers
Stan Bowman aimed high, and even though he missed, at least the Red Wings didn't fatten up on free agents.
The Blackhawks shouldn't feel too bad in losing out in the Zach Parise/Ryan Suter sweepstakes. After all, the Nashville Predators lost a key player in the deal and the Detroit Red Wings weren't able to acquire either one of the stars. Suter would have at least been a nice replacement for Niklas Lidstrom, who is retiring.
So who's worse off? Not the Hawks. And they gain in the division by subtraction.
It's simply not fair to say "Stan Bowman can't get it done" solely based on the two players signing in Minnesota, where Parise is from. Other teams offered more money -- more money in terms of cap space than the Hawks even have -- and still Suter and Parise went to Minnesota. They wanted to play together and they wanted to play near home -- Suter is from Madison, Wisc. -- and they were able to accomplish both. It remains to be seen if the Hawks could have pulled off something similar, but massive changes to the roster would have been coming if the duo came to Chicago instead.
Looking at the glass half-full the Hawks still don't have to do much heavy lifting this summer if they choose not to or are unable to. As has been well documented they have a full squad, one which can compete, and if things like special teams and goalie play improve --- then they might actually surprise some fans. Those two aspects getting better isn't wishful thinking -- necessarily. There is no guarantee but the Hawks can make the case they can be better than a year ago by staying the course. It doesn't mean you don't try to improve and that's what the Hawks attempted in recent days, in some big ways.
Martin Brodeur was offered a two-year deal, Suter and Parise were extended huge offers, but nothing came to fruition. These were long shot plays -- did anyone really think Brodeur was going to leave New Jersey after two decades? The point is you turn over every stone and if you come up short you can at least say you gave it your best shot.
Now, it's not completely unfair to ask why Chicago isn't the destination the Hawks might think it should be. And did the recent front office dysfunction play a part or did whispers about Joel Quenneville's job security trickle down to Suter or Parise? That would be a problem. But there is no indication that was the case, not that those players would admit to such. As is, when you're committing to 13 years you're probably not thinking the same coach is going to be there the whole time anyway.
So at the end of your holiday, ask this question: Would you rather be the Hawks today or the Predators or Red Wings? The answer doesn't get you a Stanley Cup but at least it should make you feel better on a day when only one fan base is ecstatic while others are left wondering ‘now what?'