NEWARK, N.J. Stan Bowman talked with a few of his fellow NHL general managers on Wednesday, including Tampa Bays Steve Yzerman and the Florida Panthers Dale Tallon. No, it wasnt tradebarter talk. But theres no time like the present to start the friendly banter.
Bowman was one of many GMs participating in a brief meeting in New York on Wednesday. The meeting was to talk about some potential rule changes as well; but it also lays some light groundwork for trade chatter.
A couple guys I spoke to said well talk over the next couple of weeks, but there was nothing of substance, really, said Bowman, who added hes not looking for anything specific for this Blackhawks team this offseason.
We have a lot of good components in place already. Were just looking to get better and that can be shown in a couple of different ways, he said. We have some ideas but we havent decided, definitively, where were going with it yet.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks coaching staff is still minus an assistant after Mike Haviland was fired earlier this month. Bowman said its a focus, but the team is not in a tremendous hurry to hire a new assistant.
The important thing is to get it right; its not about doing it fast, said Bowman. Weve got some ideas on how to handle it, and were going to dive back into that in a few weeks.
It was ultimately coach Joel Quennevilles decision to fire Haviland; Quenneville spoke of dysfunction that had to be addressed at the time, but didnt elaborate on it much. Bowman didnt expand upon it much more, either, on Wednesday.
I dont want to live in the past, he said. Joel addressed it, put it succinctly that were trying to improve, ad thats what it comes down to. He agreed with me that we could be better, and thats a big part of it as well.
So now it comes down to that improvement aspect. The Blackhawks stars have continued to be just that these past two seasons, for the most part. The supporting cast is where the team has struggled, as attempts to conjure up the same magical group that won the Cup in 2010 has faltered. One way or another, the Blackhawks need to find that chemistry again, top to bottom.
Well look at adding, be it new faces or substantial players from other teams. Thats one way to improve. The other way is from within, Bowman said. Your own players can step their games up and coaches can get more out of them. You add all those up, theyre areas for improvement.