Blackhawks

Sharp extension; coaching changes coming?

Sharp extension; coaching changes coming?

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Posted: 7:25 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Stan Bowman was impressed with how Corey Crawford ascended to the No. 1 goaltender job. Now the Blackhawks general manager is going to try and sign him ASAP.

Bowman said Thursday that signing Crawford is a top priority for us and hes confident that a deal will get done before arbitration becomes an issue.

Its nice to know going into next year we're going to have some stability in goal. We still have to get him signed but were confident, Bowman said as the Blackhawks conducted exit interviews. He's earned the right to be No. 1 goalie for us. The team loves playing in front of him. He has the right demeanor and approach. He's clearly a priority for us.

Bowman said hes been waiting to see Crawford emerge these past few seasons, and the rookie didnt disappoint when he did. Crawford overtook the No. 1 job during the winter months and finished with a 33-18-6 regular-season record. Bowman called Crawfords Game 7 performance against Vancouver, in which he stopped 36 of 38, dynamite.

Bowman also wants to avoid the arbitration fracas of last summer when former goaltender Antti Niemi went to it and was awarded 2.75 million in a ruling.

We're going to (approach this) aggressively; I don't expect arbitration, said Bowman, who wants to sign Crawford to a multi-year deal.

Crawford would love to stay, too.

Its exciting to play here and I really want to be here next year, Crawford said. Its important when your management has confidence in you and wants you to be part of their organization. I want to be here, too, so well try to get something done that both sides are happy with and itll be fun when it happens.

Sharp talks

The Blackhawks have to wait until July 1 to start talking, but theyd also like to get Patrick Sharp another deal. The current deal for Sharp, who scored 34 goals in the regular season, is done at the end of next season (2011-12).

Patrick's been a huge part of our success last four or five seasons. Hes certainly a guy we want to keep around, Bowman said. I suspect well start negotiations and hopefully it doesn't carry out too long. Weve been able to get our core guys to want to stay here and Im sure Sharpie's in that group as well.

Sharp joked that I'd sign right now if you guys have a contract for me, but that hes going to leave that up to the powers that be.

Ive got another year left and that's Stan's business. That's what the agents are for, he said. I'm proud to be a Blackhawk and I'd love to stay one.

Coaching moves?

There are several NHL coaching vacancies right now; does Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland factor in any of them? Of all of them, the least surprising scenario would be Haviland possibly going to Florida, where former Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon now is.

Coach Joel Quenneville said hed be supportive if Haviland does go elsewhere.

As a guy who was in that position before and as a coach, you always want to try, if there's an opportunity, to move ahead, he said. We'd wish him well in that area because there are opportunities. We'll see what happens.

Injuries

Patrick Kane and Sharp went through their respective injuries this season; Kane suffered a high-ankle sprain on Dec. 5 and Sharp a left knee injury on March 20.

Kane admitted Thursday that he may have hurried back on his.

It felt better down the stretch. But its one of those things, at the time you want to get back as quick as possible, he said. Looking back I probably couldve taken a little more time off and rest it up a bit to be better for the rest of the season. But its tough to say. At the time you want to be back in the lineup.

Sharp said his knee improved as the postseason progressed.

It was fine to be honest with you, he said. It was a little difficult playing the last three regular-season games. It was not where I liked it to be. But it got better as it went on so it was no issue, no excuse.

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

Recapping breakout OHL season for Blackhawks top prospect Adam Boqvist

Recapping breakout OHL season for Blackhawks top prospect Adam Boqvist

The London Knights set high expectations for themselves going into the 2018-19 OHL campaign. They always do. Their roster is usually loaded with top NHL prospects and this season was no different.

After finishing No. 1 in the Western Conference with 99 points, the Knights looked poised to go on a deep run. They got off to a roaring start in the playoffs by sweeping the Windsor Spitfires (4-0) and kicked off the second round by winning three straight against the Guelph Storm. But then, for the first time all season, the Knights lost four in a row to squander a 3-0 series lead and were eliminated just like that. It was a disappointing finish for a team with Memorial Cup aspirations.

One of the bright spots of the postseason was Blackhawks prospect Adam Boqvist. He was tied for first among all skaters with 10 goals through two rounds; no other defenseman had more than six. And he finished with 13 points in 11 games for a points-per-game average of 1.18.

To summarize his season: Boqvist scored one goal in his first 15 games. From that point on, he finished with 29 goals and 60 points in 50 games, including playoffs. He became an offensive driving force.

It's unclear what his future holds, but with Evan Bouchard expected to turn pro and secure a full-time roster spot on the Edmonton Oilers next season, returning to London would put Boqvist in a position where he could be the No. 1 defenseman in all situations.

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Blackhawks 2018-19 season grades: Front office

stan_bowman_ap.jpg
AP

Blackhawks 2018-19 season grades: Front office

If we're evaluating Stan Bowman's moves as a whole, we have to go back to July 1 when the 2018-19 season really started.

On that day, the Blackhawks announced three signings: Chris Kunitz (one year, $1 million), Brandon Manning (two years, $2.25 million cap hit) and Cam Ward (one year, $3 million). Not exactly splashy additions after missing the playoffs for the first time in 10 years — although, to be fair, it wasn't a great market to throw money around.

Eleven days later, the Blackhawks traded Marian Hossa and his $5.275 million cap hit to the Arizona Coyotes in a seven-player deal that included top-nine winger Vinnie Hinostroza. Bowman acknowledged after the trade that he tried exploring every possible avenue before surrendering that the financial flexibility became more valuable.

But the trade might've put the team in a better position going into free agency had it been executed before July 1. Because of all that, Bowman's grade isn't looking great so far.

Then we get into the actual regular season.

The biggest move Bowman made was the coaching change on Nov. 6 in going from future Hall of Famer Joel Quenneville to Jeremy Colliton, which was a controversial decision in and of itself, especially the timing of it.

“There’s no perfect way to do things," Bowman admitted. "I think we made the best of it at the time. It’s one of those things where you’ve just gotta get through it. I think he’s gonna benefit from not only having a training camp next year but also we had this whole long stretch of a season. ... We’ve got a lot more things we want to get to, and I think we did a good job of — it’s a good start, but I’m sure Jeremy will tell you that we want to be way better next year and we’re gonna push our players to be better. We’re gonna try to do things differently. It’s not just taking this exact same program and we’ll start that. We want to do different things as well and enhance our team. I think there’s reason for hope there.”

Where did Bowman start to earn high marks? The roster tinkering, beginning in late November.

Perhaps recognizing that Nick Schmaltz wasn't progressing the way the team would have liked in a contract season, Bowman dealt him for a potential future second-line center in Dylan Strome and replenished the top-nine forward they lost in Hinostroza with Brendan Perlini, who showed flashes down the stretch. That's turned out to be a win-win for both sides.

The trade that was very clearly one-sided is the one Bowman pulled off with Peter Chiarelli, who was later relieved of his GM duties with the Edmonton Oilers.

Not only did Bowman acquire rugged winger Drake Caggiula, who became such a valuable part of the Blackhawks' second-half turnaround because he was a perfect complement for Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on the top line, but he unloaded the contract of Manning without having to retain salary or giving up an important piece of the roster. It essentially gave the Blackhawks an extra $2.25 million to work with this summer, which shouldn't go unnoticed when you look at how deep the 2019 free agent class is.

Bowman essentially undid the mistake he made and put the Blackhawks in an even better position going into this offseason by adding a useful player on top of it. So he certainly upped his overall grade.

Now it's time to spend the money he cleared in getting rid of the contracts of Hossa and Manning, and continue building around the current core.

"We're not going to bring the same group back," Bowman said. "That's clear. We don't do that really any year. There's changes to every team, even a team that ends up winning the Cup this year will have some different players. We're going to have some new players next year. What we're going to do is try to improve in the areas where our team needs some help and the way that looks isn't completely clear right now, but we have time over the next couple months to dive in and look at our team in greater detail and figure out how we're going to make that happen.

"There's obviously free agent signings, there's trades, there's growth from within. Those are the ways that your team improves from year to year and we're going to do that. So we're going to have some new players here next year for sure but we have a lot of players that are going to be back and I think a lot of the key guys who had good seasons they're coming back for sure, so we don't need across the board changes but we do need some new players."

Front office: B-

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