Blackhawks

Blackhawks' Sharp, Kane added to All-Star roster

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Blackhawks' Sharp, Kane added to All-Star roster

Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011
10:29 AM Updated 2:55 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Patrick Sharp has emerged as one of the best players in the NHL. On Tuesday, he was rewarded for that.

Sharp and Patrick Kane were named to the NHL All-Star Game on Tuesday, as the Chicago Blackhawks will now send four players to the event in Raleigh, N.C., later this month. Joel Quenneville and assistant Mike Haviland will also be coaching one of the All-Star squads.

Sharp, whose 25 goals place him third in the NHL, was happy to get the news.

I feel good about it. Its a huge individual accomplishment, said Sharp. I can honestly tell you it doesnt match up to what happened last June. Thats the most important thing. But with everything said, Im very excited and I cant wait to go.

He admitted it was on his mind these last few days.

With the two off days I knew theyd be announcing it and I knew I had a chance to go, Sharp said. You try not to concern yourself too much. You just do what you can on the ice. If those perks come along, its a bonus.

Sharp has been tremendous for the Blackhawks this season, from his consistent play and offense to the six game-winning goals hes provided that tie him for tops in the league (with Steven Stamkos and Dustin Byfuglien).

His goals have been very efficient for us and putting us in a good spot for a win, coach Joel Quenneville said. I think Sharpies elevated his game to be considered among best in the league.

Kane was fifth in fan voting among forwards. He missed several games with his left-ankle injury in December and has 13 goals and 20 assists in 35 games.

Its been an up and down season, between not starting off great and the injury, but the last couple games feeling like myself, Kane said. Ive proven before I can be an All-Star caliber-type player, and maybe thats why I was selected.

Despite suffering that injury, Kane said there was no way he would miss this game.

Two years ago I was going through the same thing with my right foot. I would never risk missing an opportunity like this. These only come along a certain amount of times, Kane said.

Captain Jonathan Toews, who was voted into the All-Star Game along with defenseman Duncan Keith, was happy to get a few more on the trip.

Ive said it a million times when Duncan and I got the nod: it wouldnt feel right if we didnt have guys like Sharpie and Kaner there, he said. Theres a lot going on this weekend and you get to enjoy it with your teammates for sure.

And, of course, the selections were a good opportunity for the Blackhawks All-Stars to have a little fun with each other.

I wouldnt mind going against Kaner. That little rat, Id try to throw him into the glass, Sharp said with a laugh. Then again wouldnt mind him setting me up for some goals, too.

Kane said, (Sharps) talking big in front of the media, before skate he said he wanted to wear No. 88 at the All-Star Game. You have to ask him about that.

Oh captain, a captain?

All-Star captains will probably be chosen sometime next week. Toews said hed be flattered if he was selected but isnt thinking about it too much.

Sharpies joking a bit but I dont see it happening. If so itd be crazy, Toews said. The joke is, if I am, I pick Sharpie last. A lots riding on it. Obviously you want to win that game. Whoever does end up being captain has to put some thought into it for sure.

When told Kane said hed vote for him as captain, Toews said, he wants to be on my line again, too. Hes talking about winning the car for MVP and only way hes gong to do that is if he has me on his line. Well see.

Briefly

Duncan Keith did not practice on Tuesday. Quenneville said it was a maintenance day, and Keith is expected to play Wednesday against the Colorado Avalanche.

Corey Crawford will start against Colorado.

Nick Boynton has the flu and did not practice on Tuesday.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Do the Blackhawks have room to sign John Tavares?

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USA TODAY

Do the Blackhawks have room to sign John Tavares?

The NHL Draft is over. Farm systems have been restocked and now the focus has shifted to free agency, where the fun is just beginning.

The biggest fish on the market is John Tavares, a franchise-changing center in the heart of his prime. For a little bit, it seemed like the loyal New York Islanders captain was ready to move on after they took another step back by missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

But then Lou Lamiorello became available and was snatched up by Long Island. His first order of business was relieving GM Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight of their duties, the first real sign that significant changes were coming. The next was securing Barry Trotz as head coach after he couldn't agree to terms on an extension with the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.

For the first time in a while, there appears to be structure in the front office and coaching staff.

Yet, Tavares has remained committed to visiting with reportedly five teams in Los Angeles during the free agent negotiating window that opened Sunday. And he's absolutely earned that right. San Jose and Toronto are believed to be two of the teams. The rest is unclear.

When asked by NBC Sports Chicago's Pat Boyle at the end of the draft on Saturday, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman wouldn't confirm nor deny that they were one of the teams scheduled to meet with Tavares.

"I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise, right?" Bowman said with a smile.

Whether or not they are, could the Blackhawks realistically even make it work?

They actually have the cap space to do it. Or at least they can make room without shuffling too many cards.

As of Sunday, the Blackhawks have $9.225 million in open cap space to fill out six roster spots. If you can find a trade partner for Marian Hossa's contract, that creates an extra $5.275 million, which brings the total up to $14.5 million. That's without subtracting any real bodies from the roster. 

Tavares is likely to command in the $10 million range for average annual value over the next seven years, and the latter part is key. While it would certainly be challenging to have three players eating up at least $10 million each in cap space — with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews at $10.5 million — they could make it work in the short term.

But signing Tavares to a seven-year deal would probably get in the way of the Blackhawks' longer-term goals, which includes re-signing Alex DeBrincat and Nick Schmaltz when their entry-level deals expire and even Vinnie Hinostroza when his new two-year contract ends.

Are the Blackhawks willing to risk that?

For Tavares, maybe. But Toews is 30, Kane is 29 and Tavares will be 28 by the time this upcoming season starts. At some point, an infusion of youth would be required to remain competitive for the long term.

Stan Bowman plays coy when asked about pitching free agent John Tavares

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USA TODAY

Stan Bowman plays coy when asked about pitching free agent John Tavares

The unrestricted free agent market opens up for the NHL on July 1. Five-time All-Star John Tavares is will reportedly be meeting with five different teams to talk about the possibility of leaving the only team he's played for his entire career, the New York Islanders. 

After a highly disappointing 33-39-10 finish to the 2017-18 season, many expect Chicago general manager Stan Bowman to be very aggressive this offseason. When asked by NBC Sports Chicago's Pat Boyle if the Blackhawks would be one of the five teams going after Tavares, Bowman gave a very reticent answer.

"I woudn't want to spoil the surprise, right?" Bowman said with a smile. 

"No, I'm not going to comment on that, but I know we're gonna have a lot of discussions over the next five or six days and we'll see where it goes."

Reports indicate that the Islanders and Tavares had been trying to work out the terms of a long-term extension, but with so many attractive options out there, it will be a tough decision for him. There are several teams coming off of playoff runs expected to go after Tavares, including Tampa Bay, Las Vegas and San Jose. In addition to those teams, his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to be in play as well.

But Chicago's rough year was so out of place for a team so used to winning consistently, that one can imagine their pitch will be enticing.

Elliotte Friedman of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada had this to say about the Blackhawks potential pursuit of Tavares: "They're not going to tolerate being that bad again, they're going to try something. I think they'll make a run at John Tavares too. I do, I think they'll ask, is there any way we can get him here?"

When taking all of this into account, it is sure to be an extremely exciting free agency period for the Blackhawks. The team is in full "re-tool" rather than "rebuild" mode, and there have been discussions that Kane may be becoming the more vocal leader of the team. But the addition of Tavares to a core of Kane, Jonathan Toews and Corey Crawford could boost the Blackhawks back into Stanley Cup contention.