Aug 232011

Stan Mikita
feeling good in spite of cancer battle  [Brian Hedger,]

Mikita meets his doctors in ten days to find out where he’s at with his Stage 1 oral cancer.

“I’m looking for very favorable comments from him (the doctor),” Mikita told Hedger.  “The treatments went well.  It wasn’t really bad for me.  It’s been coming along real well.”

–More from Hedger’s Blackhawks’ notebook – Stuff on Marian Hossa’s math, Patrick Kane’s on-time wrist recovery and David Bolland loving Daniel Carcillo.

Video of Mikita speaking to media at Monday’s Blackhawks Alumni golf event at Medinah Country Club.  [CSN Chicago]  Comments from an antsy Bolland and Stan Bowman as well in that clip.

–Assistant general manager Marc Bergevin in an interview on a Toronto radio station Monday, talked about this summer’s roster shakeup, the addition of what Bergevin termed, “personality” to the team’s core roster.

“We felt we are skilled enough to get us into the playoffs.  We just need the character to get us through the playoffs,” Bergevin explained.

“And that’s what we had when we did win.  Then we lost guys like Ladd, Byfuglien, and Versteeg and Sopel.   Guys who were warriors, that did the little things to make the other team accountable.  They made the other team realize ‘this is going to be a battle tonight.’   That’s what it takes to win a Stanley Cup.

“You can’t win with twelve skilled forwards and six skilled defensemen, because there is dirty work that needs to be done and there are only certain players that are willing to do that.” he concluded.

Bob Verdi caught up with new IceHogs bench boss Ted Dent to discuss the job interview, his plans and teaching young pros.

Dent knows his task, and it’s a bit complex.

“We want to continue a winning atmosphere in Rockford, of course,” he tells  “But our primary responsibility is to teach and prepare these kids so they will be in the NHL within two or three years.”

Huh, seems I’m always told when a kid isn’t ready after a year, ‘he’s a bum’.  I know I’ve read that somewhere.

–One of the Blackhawks newest hires is Jim McKellar, who joins the organization from the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights.  McKellar was the Knights’ assistant general manager (under Dale and Mark Hunter) for the past ten years.  McKellar joins the Blackhawks amateur scouting staff.   He replaces the departed Tim Keon, who’d been in that position since 2006.

–Former Blackhawk Duane Sutter has been hired by the Oilers as a pro scout. [Edmonton Journal]  Duane had worked for Calgary since 2003.  He left the Flames this summer in shuffling done by new general manager Jay Feaster.  More on Duane here [Edmonton Sun]

–The seven Blackhawks in Lugano this week will meet the Swiss media on Wednesday afternoon.  It’s apparently the only day Hawks players will be made available.  Perhaps we’ll get some insight then on how or why some of these players were chosen in particular.  In case you missed it, the seven are Niklas Hjalmarsson, Viktor Stalberg, John Scott, Marcus Kruger, Dylan Olsen, Jeremy Morin and Jimmy Jam Hayes.  Hayes’ inclusion here tells you all you need to know about where Kyle Beach stands with the organization right now.  Blackhawks wrap up there on Sunday and head home.

Alexei Yashin arrives as Barry Smith’s guest today.  Yashin will train with the Lugano and Blackhawks as well this week.  The 37-year old is currently without a team in Russia.   I guess you can never say ‘never’, but I don’t think one has any to do with the other.  Yashin did play with Hossa two years in Ottawa (it would’ve been three if Yashin didn’t refuse to report in 99-00) but he hasn’t played NHL hockey in four years and he’ll be 38 a month into this season.  Yashin played for Smith in St. Petersburg two years ago before Smith quit and took a job scouting for the Blackhawks.  Barry Smith accepted Lugano’s head coaching position this summer.

Edmonton Journal is reporting Fernando Pisani could take an NHL offer this week.  Ex-Hawk blue liner (he also took shifts at wing to stay in the lineup) Jason Strudwick sounds like he’s prepared for retirement if he doesn’t get an offer soon.

Full “Legends” lineup for EA Sports NHL 12 is out.  Jeremy Roenick and Chris Chelios are two of the nine.  Others are Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Gordie Howe, Ray Bourque, Steve Yzerman, Borje Salming and Patrick Roy.  The game officially hits stores September 13.  Steven Stamkos graces the cover in North America.  Jonas Hiller is the cover boy in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

EA Sports competitor 2K Sports will completely bench its NHL game this year after limiting 2K11 to the Wii.  Last year 2K said it was taking “a year off” with its NHL product after a year of unflattering reviews and poor sales.  Ironically 2K Sports basketball game does so well that EA Sports stopped producing its NBA Elite title, now promising a return next fall.

–Jesse Rogers says the Hawks have dropped the 3rd sweater for this season [ESPNChgo].  His info on Makarov is slightly misled.  Obviously in the end he wanted to go home.  Makarov wasn’t the only top prospect in Rockford last season who struggled with being told he wasn’t NHL ready.  Makarov came around though and worked on his English.  Vishnevskiy wasn’t the greatest influence either. Two years ago another recently departed first round pick was a considerable pouter after getting sent back to Rockford

–The team Justin Hodgman signed with in Finland is the Lahti Pelicans.

Brent Sopel has a new teammate – former New Jersey Devil, Sergei Brylin.  The 37-year old played the past three seasons in St. Petersburg since leaving the Devils.  The stats say Brylin is hanging on borrowed time.  In his last 255 games dating back to his final NHL season, Brylin has just 31 goals and 80 total points in 255 games.   Perhaps SKA’s signing of Igor Makarov was the move that pushed Brylin out?  Brylin won three Stanley Cups with the Devils, the only NHL team he skated for.

–A Czech news outlet reported David Koci turned down a 2-way deal to stay with the Avalanche organization.  I could be wrong on the name but I believe Adrian Dater reported that as well some time back.  You’ve got to believe this is the end of the line for Koci as far as the NHL goes.  The Praha native was smart to turn down the 2-way contract though.  Koci should be able to get a contract in Europe for more than what he’d make in the minors here.

–News of Ethan Moreau passing his mandatory post-trade physical was somewhat of a headline yesterday in LA and Edmonton in lieu of the ongoing Colin Fraser ankle fracture saga.  Last season in Columbus, Moreau was limited due to a broken right hand and rib injury.  Moreau signed a one-year $600,000 contract according to the team’s web site.

Kent Simpson has a new goalie coach in Everett this year [Daily Townsman]

–13-year veteran Dave Scatchard announced his retirement on Twitter Monday.  He explained his doctors advised him it wouldn’t be wise to continue his career due to the effects of multiple concussions.

–One-time Blackhawk Bryan Berard will be part of the upcoming season of CBC’s Battle of the Blades.  The show’s 3rd season debuts September 18th in Canada.  Berard is retired now and lives in Manhattan.

–2000 Blackhawks 3rd round draft pick Igor Radulov turns 29 today.  Radulov managed 9 goals in 43 games over two seasons in Chicago.  He scored 2 in 29 games (3 pts) in the KHL last year.  He’ll play for Salavat Yulaev Ufa this season.

–Chicago’s failed bid for the 2016 Olympics cost the city an estimated $48M [ESPN]

–There’s a major point some are missing on the Chris Campoli negotiations.  The general consensus seems to be Campoli, or his agent, screwed themselves by over-estimating his worth in talks with the Hawks.

I should probably not do these write ups at 4 in the morning but I thought I had it clear Bowman made the right decision in choosing Montador over Campoli if that is what this came down to.  And it’s no doubt that’s the case because Bowman’s not about to slot his third pair in at a combined five to five and half million.

Our podcast listeners know I was never a big fan of Campoli’s work.  As I pointed out Sunday morning, he’s a nice depth guy, nothing more.  And I beat the drum for Montador from last November on.  He got signed here for a half million too much (on the cap), but this is what happens in free agency.  Excluding Montador, if I were Stan and Campoli’s agent were asking for $3M per on 2-3 year team, I’d tell him where to go too. But that’s really just part of this issue.

The trouble with the presumption that Campoli is greedy, or his agent is an ‘idiot,’ is if he really was asking for money in the neighborhood of $3M per, exactly how dumb are Campoli or his agent when an arbiter awarded him $2.5M?

Let’s do this. Say Bowman really did like Campoli as much as he said he did. But let’s just say, taking a wild guess, Bowman saw Campoli’s value as $1.5M.

If Stan truly believes this; that $1.5M is a true and accurate assessment of Campoli, and the Hawks really wanted to retain him even after acquiring Montador, why not just go to arbitration and argue it then? If Bowman’s right and he really wants Campoli, what does he have to lose?

If Campoli’s asking price is truly so ridiculous, arbitration should be an open and shut Bowman victory.  If Bowman can present a case, as is his judgment, that Campoli is a $1.5M per year d-man, then just take that to an arbiter and win the damn case.

That’s the problem with this general consensus though.  Stan knew what he was asking Campoli to sign for was well below what Campoli could get, or what the market would bear. The Hawks wanted Campoli to sign for something below (who knows how far, but lower) than his actual market value.  By forgoing the hearing, it proves they had no intention of discussing fair market with Campoli.

For what its worth, the trouble Campoli seems to be having now is in the variances of offers he’s receiving.  As noted the other day, team’s have tighter budgets today than they did seven weeks ago.  Campoli won’t get $2.5 just as Antti Niemi had to settle for less than $2.75 in San Jose last summer.  If you’re not a top three defenseman, multi-year offers are not out there.

I had a conversation with an agency rep Monday.  With no knowledge of the negotiations, he argued that considering the process in place for RFA’s, Stan did right by Campoli as well as can be expected of a GM.  That’s fair if you assume Montador was a surprise.  Stan still had every right to hang onto Campoli’s rights and proceed as he saw fit.  After all, he could have made Campoli wait for his originally arbitration hearing, August 3.  True, as we’ve seen though, by July 21st the damage was done.

Even if its hindsight, I think most recognize by now Bowman pretty much knew the day he signed Montador that Campoli was a goner.  If Stan has a self-imposed ‘cap’ on his blue line, he’s already over-paying Montador, so he can’t shell out another $2.5 – 2.75M to another defenseman, no matter who he is.  And if Campoli was seeking multiple years, with Leddy and Olsen in the immediate pipeline, he was writing his own ticket out anyhow.  Bowman could try arbitration, hope Campoli discounts his market value or peddle the rights.  At that point Campoli is fool’s treasure though.  The time to trade him was around the draft, not after he gets his qualifying offer, guaranteeing an arbitration filing.

If you go on message boards, Campoli is supposedly the idiot, or greedy bastard for wanting too much money. That’s completely missing the obvious.  Bowman wanted Campoli to sign for less than market.   You know, because being a Blackhawk is more valuable than money.  Why should a player accept that?  He’s basically told ‘take a lot less than what you’re worth’ (which an arbiter says is $2.5M) ‘or you get nothing.’  So, because he’s still under the Hawks watch and the process is what it is, Campoli and his agent trench their heels for what they assume will be tough arbitration case. Weeks go by. The Hawks stop short.  Campoli is now in no man’s land. Basically the Hawks make the statement that if you’re not willing to do business their way, they won’t do business.

–Podcast returns next week.

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  27 Responses to “Mikita talks cancer, Bergevin on new Personalities, Dent on IceHogs, 3rd jersey axed, notes on Berard, Campoli and a Sutter”

  1. I don’t blame Campoli OR his agent for trying to get whatever they thought he was worth. As much as I love the game of hockey, the NHL is still a business on both sides. Stan did what he had to do to fill out his roster with the best players at the best price, and Campoli tried to get paid. The bit about Bowman hitting the brakes on working with Campoli wasn’t the most genial move, and I hope it doesn’t come back and bite him in the future. That being said, if he was worth 2.5 mildo, I would have thought he’d have been signed by now.

    Also: I never liked those 3rd jerseys. They should just bring back the all black ones.

    • I agree on the jerseys. White at home, red on the road. As great as the reds are, NHL does itself a disservice not promoting visiting teams colors on the road. Not to mention as a season ticket holder or viewer, every home game looks the same when the visitors always wear their whites. Hawk will come back with new 3rds next season.

      Campoli will get signed soon. The reason it takes so long in cases like this is simple, and we saw it with Niemi. Once the Hawks walk away from the arbiter’s decision, that number ($2.5M in Campoli’s case) becomes the max he’ll get in free agency. No team in their right mind would offer him more. Which also means 2.5 becomes his agent’s starting point in new contract discussions. How can his agent demand $3M when the arbiter just deemed him a $2.5M player. He’s stuck. And of course the negotiating team will start their offers much lower than that $2.5M knowing Campoli’s in a pickle.

      And this is why this process drags out. Now his agent goes to work in trying to gather more buyers at the bidding window to drive those offers as far up as he can. It’s a waiting game.

      I understand your thinking, but when a player gets dumped out on the market in late July as Campoli was, he has little leverage. I imagine his first offers were less than what he was making last year ($1.4) on one-year offers. If he’s really talking to six teams, he can probably pull his price back up to the 1.6 – 1.9 area. I’d be shocked if he got 2 or more. Look at Niemi a year ago. Hawks walked away from him at $2.75 and he wound up getting $2.0M. And then five months later he broke the bank. I have little doubt Campoli gets around $2.5 if he’s on the market July 1, but he wasn’t, it was too rich for the Hawks after Montador and now his agent is swimming against the current. That’s just the way it is. Campoli was also looking for a multi-year deal which is almost impossible to get right now.

  2. Chris tremendous amount of info as always. My 2011 2012 hockey news yearbook arrived and I was stunned to see vish still listed as the 6 th rated prospect and makarov as the 10 th. I realize they go to press pretty early but McNeill is listed as number 5 so safe to say these ratings came out post July 1. You referenced vish not being a great influence on mak, that’s surprising to me seeing that vish was praised for helping mak understand and learn the culture. Were these 2 really malingerers or are they now getting that label because they’ve taken their sticks and gone home. Also, why would the hawks qualify vish if they knew he was gone

  3. Also who was the other 1st round pouter??? Babchuk ?…

    • Think south.

      Well, I assume they value Vishnevskiy’s rights enough want to retain them in case he decides to come back. He has a big shot and decent offensive instincts. The knock on him goes upstairs. Rogers ‘dirt’ on Makarov confuses me considering Makarov communicated almost entirely through an interpreter (Vishnevskiy) through December. So unless that evaluation (wherever its coming from) is taken entirely from body language (which of course Rogers is getting 3rd-4th or 5th hand), this would mean Vishnevskiy was knowingly throwing his buddy under the bus. I’m not saying its made up, or even entirely wrong, but a lot of the new guys struggled out of the gate last fall and Makarov was one, but hardly the only one. You can take what Rogers wrote next to Makarov’s name and slide it next to a few other IceHogs no one who knows better would bat an eye. And those other players are still around. The team had a bad year. Makarov was obviously not the only guy Bill Peters got frustrated with. Heck, I was until February. Makarov didn’t play a lot in the KHL and he came over having to learn a different style of game. So while he technically wasn’t a rookie, a learning curve existed and he suffered through frustrations like more than half the team did. But, yes, they are easy targets because they’re Russian and they left.

      I’m not big on rankings unless they’re clearly defined. Are we ranking players based on ultimate potential? Closest to making an impact in the NHL? How they’re performing currently vs other prospects? If not, I weight more importance on the player breakdown or ranking explanation than where a player is slotted. All that said, I’ll probably be linking a new Hawks prospect ranking tomorrow.

  4. Chris, do you know for sure if they’re getting a new third or are you just speculating? If you do know, is it a brand new one or will they go back to the 08-09 third jersey?

  5. Chris, do you know for sure if they’re getting a new third or are you just speculating? If you do know, is it a brand new one or will they go back to the 08-09 third jersey?
    Thanks for the good read.

    • Thanks very much. I guess it would be just speculation right now. I don’t think they’ll go back to the old black thirds.

      • They should bring back the uniforms they wore for the 75th anniversary.

      • If McDonough is making the decision, the future third sweater will be different enough from past designs so that the fans will feel the need to pick one up. Gotta pay for Huet to sit in Switzerland any way they can, lol.

  6. Chris,
    1. I disagree with this sentence: “Even if its hindsight, I think most recognize by now Bowman pretty much knew the day he signed Montador that Campoli was a goner.” Monty and Campoli are not the interchangeable dmen. Monty was signed as a stay at home guy with grit and a lot of fight in him. Campoli, love him or hate him, is not the same physical dman that Montador is. Hence, Monty was signed to replace the clusterfuck that was Boynton/Cullimore. The timing also bear this out since he was signed before the offer to Campoli.
    2. I disagree with this sentence: “If Campoli’s asking price is truly so ridiculous, arbitration should be an open and shut Bowman victory.” An arb. gave Campoli $2.5 mill not because he is worth that but because there was no one there arguing that he wasn’t. For all we know $2.5 is what Campoli asked for and the arb. just said fine. So this is a bad assumption on your part. If I’m Stan, why would I waste my time at a hearing when I know that; A. I was being generous to offer $1.5 mill to a guy worth $1 mill. B. Sami Lepisto is available for a nice discount to play my #5 dman. Lepisto is much more of a physical presence. C. The arb. is most likely going to split the diff. between my $1.5 and his $2.5 and award a silly $2 mill. So Stan said enough bullshit and signed Lepisto.
    3. I disagree with this sentence: “Bowman wanted Campoli to sign for less than market. You know, because being a Blackhawk is more valuable than money. Why should a player accept that?” What is the market for a #5 or #6 dman? Probably about $1.5 mill. so if Stan is signing a #5 dman and offers $1.5 mill what’s wrong with that. My guess is that he was actually offered $1.75 mill. to stay and play that role. However, if Campoli and his agent see him as a #3, let’s say, and wanted $2.5 – 3 mill. for his services, and after quite a bit of negotiations neither side was willing to budge then which side is really the fool?
    All I’m saying is that blaming Stanley for this is wrong. Campoli and his agent overestimated his worth and now have to live with the consequences.
    Chris, I’m a big fan of TMI and appreciate your write-ups, I just don’t like this Campoli arguement. He screwed himself. Stanley is not to blame here.

    • I’m not blaming Bowman. I’ve wrote three times now that I agreed with his decision to move on without Campoli. I’ve speculated something irreconcilable went down in the talks, but obviously can’t say for sure. I think their defense is better with him as opposed to Lepisto, but not at the cost of having a $6M third pairing under a cap. I do however feel Campoli is being unfairly criticized for simply doing as he should, going through with the process and not accepting less than he believes he’s worth according to the market. I don’t vilify him for that. His career could end tomorrow. Players should get every penny they can while they can. If anything, I’m defending Campoli, a player I don’t particularly care for to begin with.

      The Hawks had to redefine their defense. I’ll point back to the comments Bergevin made earlier in this post. You can’t have six finesse defensemen. Montador replaced Campoli. We don’t even know how much Lepisto is going to play yet. If the team is healthy, its likely to be a Lepisto-O’Donnell platoon. That’s $750k for a part-timer. Comparing the two doesn’t wash. If you want to say Bowman used his money more wisely (the Campoli money) on two guys instead of one, I could accept that argument if its one you were making.

      You say… “An arb. gave Campoli $2.5 mill not because he is worth that but because there was no one there arguing that he wasn’t. ”

      I thought he was demanding $3M. Why not just ask the arbiter for $4 if its that simple? He got $2.5M and they walked away. Every arbitration case is different. Take Shea Weber’s for example. By your logic, Weber would have been awarded $6.25M, not $7.5M. The “split the difference” technique is a myth. I’ll say it again. If Campoli was so out of line, Bowman would have gone and won his argument. He didn’t.

      Really, thanks for reading. But it remains to be seen if Campoli “screwed” himself or not. Unless you have knowledge of exactly what he turned down, you can’t say that.

      • You’re being obstinate right now.
        Weber is a different case because he actually won his hearing and got what he asked for. Usually if both side make a decent arguement the arb. splits the diff. Don’t bother arguing this point, we’ve all seen at many times.
        The reason Campoli’s camp asked for $2.5 mill instead of $3 or $4 is because they knew that the Hawks were not going to submit an offer so their’s would be the only number on the table. If they come in with $3 or $4 and the arb. says fine then everyone reports that Chris Campoli gets awarded $3 or $4 mill in arbitration and the Hockey world starts laughing at him. Good luck getting signed then. This way Campoli’s camp looks “fairly” reasonable. Because the repoorts are he was only looking for $2.5 mill. which is still too damn much for a mistake prone #5 d-man.
        I don’t blame him for “not accepting less than he believes he’s worth according to the market”, but the criticizm is absolutely fair. He is in effect ending his own career by over valuing his worth. Right, since players should get every penny while they play explain the logic in passing on $1.5 mill from the Hawks to get $1.4 from the Oilers?
        I know you are defending Campoli. That’s what I don’t understand.

        • I don’t know how you expect me to respond to a reply based in four assumptions, declarative statements based on nothing and a fictitious contact signing?

          You start off calling me “obstinate” and then proceed with that reply to my comments. As the owner of a thesaurus and a dictionary, I’m appalled.

          I am going to argue your depiction of arbitration cases because point blank, you have a misconception of the process yourself. With Campoli, technically there was a hearing which the Blackhawks did present at. And you’ve got your facts wrong on the Weber case to begin with. Weber didn’t get what he asked for. Though, he did get the victory. The NY Post released details of the hearing transcript. Weber asked for $8.5M and submitted two contracts to support his argument: the 2011-12 salaries of Keith and Seabrook, 8 and $7M respectively. Nashville gave Keith Yandle and Dustin Byfuglien. Weber got $7.5M (a million less than he was seeking, but still $2.75M more than the closest Nashville presented argument) when the arbiter decided Weber shouldn’t match or surpass Keith (because Keith is a Norris winner) but he should be ahead of Seabrook.

          You declare Campoli at a certain level, but you don’t provide any support.

          I talk about market worth. You, like some others I’ve heard from, to be fair, remain adamant Campoli is dramatically overstating his worth. Look at the deal Andrej Sekera got. Campoli-Sekera is a great comparison if you know the player or research his work. What did Sekera get, as a Group 2 RFA heading to arbitration…? 4 years and 11 million. Same deal Montador got here. Sekera was all over the place last season, from pairing with Myers to fighting for ice time with Montador, Weber and Butler. Last summer Ian White got $3m then bounced around three teams and finished with very comparable numbers to Campoli. Both group 2 players at the time so Campoli’s agent could submit those contracts as evidence. Bowman didn’t stand a chance in that arbitration hearing. That’s why he aborted. Not because he was afraid of your “split the difference” concept or the system unjustly overcompensating Campoli. I didn’t set out to “defend” the guy, I’m simply looking at the facts. I personally wouldn’t pay him that money if I were Bowman, but the point is there’s a legitimate argument to be made on Campoli’s behalf.

          Just because a player is worth one price to the Hawks doesn’t mean the other 29 teams will fall in line. Campoli’s probably a 4 or 4-5 to at least a quarter of the league. On the Hawks he’s somewhat of a luxury as a 5-6. I don’t expect Campoli to get near $2.5 this time around because of the timing, and due to the fact that arbitration number in effect sets his max and starting asking price. Interested parties will talk that down. If he really has six teams interested, perhaps he can pull his price up some. If we knew exactly what he turned down we could debate how much risk he’s taking.

          You ask how much is a #5 d-man worth? Look at the Montador contract. He’s a third pair guy with a $2.75m cap hit making $4.6m this year. I’ve encouraged a Montador acquisition for the past year, but I’ll say this – if you think Campoli is a million dollar player, you watch Montador play for half a season and get back to me on that contract he just got..

          I think I get it. You don’t like Campoli and maybe you’re rooting for him to fall flat on his face. You before estimated his worth at 1m, yet fair comparables earn in the high twos.

          You’re assertion that Campoli is “in effect ending his career” essentially because he won’t accept a low-ball offer from the Blackhawks is special.

          Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment. I imagine we’ll agree to disagree.

          • Chris,
            I won’t for a second argue that I know more about this process than you. Not only do I understand your arguement much better now, it also makes alot more sense, after reading the above.
            You have made me quite worried about Montador now. So thanks for that. It’s sad really that comparables to Campoli get in the high twos. Although some of those are simply bad contracts, I see your point. I don’t hate Campoli, I just don’t see his value to the Hawks.
            And thanks for calling me special, BTW. ;>)
            I’m going to get my beanie later today.

          • Can you shed some light on Montador for me?
            I actually didn’t see him as a third pair guy until you just mentioned it. I saw Montador as the physical presence on the 2nd d-line paired with either Hammer or Leddy. Am I wrong?

          • His value is in his versatility. A jack of all trades, master of none type guy. I expect him to become a favorite early. He has a high “compete level” to use the scouting vernacular. Montador helps answer the lack of toughness in front of the cage. He’s not big though; thick low center of gravity. Put it this way, he’ll battle like heck against, let’s say Johan Franzen, but he’s not going to win many of those. But he’s got 80 percent of the battle down. He’ll make life tougher for opposing forwards who try to live there.

            Many have noted the game 7 scratch against the Flyers. He had a rough couple games before then and Ruff knew Montador wasn’t coming back so he played someone else who would. That’s how I saw it. However, Montador has a history of those downtrends (hitting the wall if you want to say) that results in him watching from the press box. Now 31, presumably that will continue.

            Heavy right-handed shot can be useful on the power play, so he can be used there but its not like he can set one up. You’d expect him to be used a lot on the PK. He plays with a lot of energy and coverage is above average so he fits right in with what Quenneville expects from that unit.

            He very well may start out as the #4 per say, but no matter what you or I think of the idea, they love Leddy and Quenneville is not going to tinker with the formula. Speed on the backline remains in force. Leddy will wind up at #4 with Hjalmarsson soon enough if he doesn’t start there. Montador also fits right in because he’s unafraid to pinch in the o-zone to make a play. Decisions are usually safe but he’s made some big mistakes. Defensively, and this may not be a problem in Chicago, and I’m nitpicking him a bit here, but I’ve seen him get lost trying to direct traffic in his zone and drop his coverage.

            I like the guy a lot overall in that 5-6 position as a Pker and PP spotter who can also move up in a pinch and fill in nicely for injuries in the top four. He’s a top four on some teams, but on a team in line to win a championship, he’s on the third pair.

      • Chris, good point you bring up regarding the likely platooning of Lepisto and O’Donnell – and something that has been left out of this whole Campoli debate. Once O’Donnell was signed – not Monty – Campoli was a goner.

        O’Donnell is arguably the best PKer of the defensemen the Hawks picked up this summer. Due to his age, you want to limit his time but get him into as many games as possible. Sure, Campoli may have been the best all-round player of him, Lepisto and O’Donnell, but I think the all-round defense – and especially the PK – are now better without him.

        Paying Campoli would’ve forced O’Donnell to the bench and therefore wouldn’t help the PK much, one of the biggest items they needed to address. I assume Montador will be fine there, but aside from last season he wasn’t used much on the PK. Now the Hawks have two solid options on the 3rd pairing (plus Lepisto who has PK experience) instead of forcing Campbell, or to a lesser extent, Campoli into that role.

        • To your point, sure, in a body sense, once O’Donnell was signed, Campoli was out the door for sure. But I’m inclined to stand by my theory that Campoli was no longer an option (unless he devalued himself) once the Montador deal came through. I’ll admit this is mostly in hindsight on my part since after listening to Bowman praise Campoli from the day one, I was hesitant to believe he wouldn’t give Campoli at least a nice one year deal. I figured with that and Leddy on an entry, they’d be inclined to keep Campoli for another year since they had the breathing room. Just my thoughts. But when he stuck his neck out and pre-aborted from the Campoli award, it became clear at least to me.

          Bowman has cap slots and only so much is devoted to D slots 6 7 and 8. Once he inked Montador, the pool got smaller as did those remaining slots. Bowman had to know beforehand once Campoli’s agent saw Montador’s deal, he would want something very similar. Maybe one year, possibly two. But in that 2.75 ballpark. Though he a case before that. They each bring something a little different to the table, but if you’re paying Montador that, you can’t expect Campoli to accept a full million or more less. It’s a gamble, but Campoli’s not at all out of line wanting more than $2m and his case starts with Montador. It’d be great if the RFA system worked as it was intended, but it hasn’t happen.

          A great comparison is Andrej Sekera. Similar players, same age, both group twos, etc. Sekera got the Montador contract. I just got done writing this above, but a contract that was pointed out to me as potential case evidence for Campoli’s side would be Ian White’s ’10-11 deal. White was a Group 2 at the time so it qualifies and White’s numbers compare to his. I’d love to know the offer Campoli turned down. How far apart can two sides be when one is asking 3 and Bowman is characterizing Campoli’s figure as “a different category” than the Hawks final offer? Without that info, it’s impossible to say for sure how big a risk Campoli’s taking.

          As for the end result… I’ve always liked Sean O’Donnell to a degree but I’m real skeptical of him at 40. To me, Lepisto will either have a hard time staying in Quenneville’s line up or he’ll do just fine, win the fans over, only to experience this same Campoli-like tribulation himself next summer.

  7. “Huh, seems I’m always told when a kid isn’t ready after a year, ‘he’s a bum’. I know I’ve read that somewhere.”
    Don’t you realize that every new and interesting prospect is instantly the team’s savior? Corey Crawford would like a word.

    Chris, great stuff as usual. If it means anything, I think you got the shaft not being nominated as one of Chicago’s best sports blogs. I hear the prize is at least 3-5 new readers and you get to post a gold star on your blog title.

    Regarding Campoli: I have no dog in this fight, but I believe both side may have (rightly) felt strong about their respective positions and therefore it was likely to end in farewell.

    I can’t blame Stan for sending the QO because it had to be sent by the 27th – days before Montador was acquired and signed. He wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t hold onto Campoli as security until the deal was inked. Stan may have felt that Campoli would come down in price once he realized the situation and his slotting.

    Campoli, on the hand, may have argued he deserved #4 money instead of #6 because he got substantially more minutes than Leddy last season. Conversely, and since you yourself state that Campoli will likely receive less due to the timing/situation, if Campoli’s agent had this foresight, they could/should have settled for less for a year with the Hawks if Campoli really wanted to stay. Now he’s in limbo.

    Ultimately: Shit happens. Hawks got a player still in the area of Campoli in terms of talent (and likely better defensively) for at least half the price.

    On a different note, are these prospect “exoduses” as common with other clubs? Each time the Hawks lose a prospect with some promise to the motherland, it’s a big “ouch” for me. But these losses are seldom discussed by the MSM or even the blogs. I think it’s a big deal. Am I mistaken?

    An organization in the hunt typically loses a couple of prospects in trades alone. Often time these prospects are sent away for what is essentially a rental. Hawks sent Potulny and two draft picks to Ottawa for Campoli (And THAT to me is the big loss in not resigning or trading Campoli). I know these things sometimes work out the other way since they got Leddy in the Barker-Johnsson trade, but that’s not typically the case for contending teams.

    We had an excess of draft picks this year, but everyone talked about them like they were Monopoly money when in fact they came at a price. Without all these picks, I feel like losing Vish and Makarov would’ve been a decent blow. Even if they were never to skate for the Hawks they had (trade) value. I’d appreciate your take on the impact of these losses. Thanks

    • Thanks. I appreciate that.

      I hadn’t realized such a contest existed. I’m a terrible self promoter. I focus on hockey, content and hopefully evolving. If there was a vote for something like that, I’d give it to Second City myself. I’d say Sam’s a friend and his stuff is already great and keeps getting better. And I really enjoy McClure’s feistiness, and Killion’s beard. Seriously, they’re good people and do a great job there. The Feather guys are so hockey sharp too.

      Re: Campoli. All I’ve tried to do is discuss the process. It isn’t a fight to me. I don’t care who he plays for or how much he makes. Fans love players until it comes time for them to get paid. Then you get a segment who root for them to fail and gain pleasure from it. I can’t identify with that.

      Remember the tone and how many folks degraded Bill Zito last summer in wake of Niemi’s case? That turned out pretty darn okay for them did it not?

      I don’t know Campoli at all and have never talked to anyone who does, but I imagine he feels somewhat disrespected by the Hawks. Bowman chatted him up all that time and in the end terms his asking price a different “category” of perception. Campoli would have to know with Montador’s long-term deal and Olsen a year out that he wasn’t in the plans beyond this year anyway, so why give the Hawks a discount? Yeah it is the Hawks and its means putting oneself through a big hassle and uncertainty, but if I felt disrespected in a negotiation and knew I could get work elsewhere at roughly an equal of better rate, I’d probably do the same. There are 29 other teams. Well, one person in this thread did proclaim Campoli has sabotaged his own career by refusing to take less money to play for the Hawks. If you pay attention I guess you learn something every day.

      –Losing prospects is always a big deal. To me no high round draft pick is completely disposable. Its why I devoted so much space to the Makarov move. I was amused by too many emails asking why I covered it that way. First, I cover the team, so I have to. No matter what anyone thinks of Makarov to date, he’s still potentially one year closer to filling an NHL roster spot than all but a few other prospects. As you say, you can trade him. If he returns and isn’t happy mid year, there’s always a chance a scout from another team goes to bat for that player and the Hawks turn him around for the next Versteeg or Sharp. So right there it’s a loss. We know the Hawks have put 75 percent of their cap into 12 players. Its essential that they continue to turn IceHogs into permanent, contributing Blackhawks. Barker’s an excellent example because that’s the case of a first round kid who didn’t pan out (with blame to spread) but flipped to get a return on investment. A big part of the decline of the franchise were the continuous string of early rounders who not only busted out, but defected or were kept too long and couldn’t be moved for any kind of value.

      The best case made for Makarov’s defection being irrelevant was the new THN rankings putting the Hawks prospect system 4th overall. The trouble with that is the majority of the kids pulling that rank up to four were just drafted or won’t play pro hockey this year. Everywhere you look, pundits are beaming over this Hawks’ draft. These are guys largely 2-5 years away from getting a callup. For the new guys coming in this year are more in line to be fourth liners if they make it. There are some who’ll play in Rockford this year who have promise, but they’re two years away outside of Morin, Olsen and possibly Pirri. I’m intrigued by Hayes now but we’ll wait and see how he does over a 76 game schedule. He’s hasn’t been a bulldozer. Lalonde is a guy you hope progresses and either steps up in the event Leddy not turn into what is expected or you can package Lalonde for something you really need to win a championship. Makarov and Vishnevskiy are two less assets. It stings.

      Thanks again for the words.

  8. Thank Chris. SCH did get nominated and my vote. I went on a rant on SCH the other day due to the fact Tab from Committed Indians was nominated too and the reason given was something along the lines of “provides best in depth coverage of Hawks prospects.” I almost fell out of my seat since days earlier I had read an article of his about this year’s Rockford roster. I kid you not when I tell you in that he listed a bunch of player’s heights and concluded “Rockford is going to be very big this year.”

    When I said “I don’t have a dog in this fight,” I meant between Stan and Campoli. You and I are very much on the same page regarding the situation, except I tend to believe Stan tried calling Campoli’s bluff (from Stan’s perspective, since I agree Campoli had a good argument ) and miscalculated. Ultimately, Campoli would have been nice security for a year, but I doubt this affects the team much. I bemoan more the loss of a prospect and a high pick than than the loss of Campoli.

    You mentioned Pisani might find a team this week. I wish him the best. He may not have endeared himself to fans in Chicago, but I’ve read nothing but respectful comments about him from teammates over his career. He seems like a good locker room guy on a bottom half of the league team.

    If a guy’s gonna play about 60 games and put up 15 points for my team, I’d take a player like Pisani over an asshat like Burish (who had identical #’s in 10-11 in Dallas and never broke 10 pts in Chicago) every day of the week. I’ll never understand why Burish still has a cheering section and a guy that just goes out and plays is strongly hated by many.

    • Burish lost me completely when he went into his all talk-no action schtick. He was an embarrassment against Calgary in ’09. He’s a bushleaguer.

      Pisani’s a nice guy with a great story but that was a miscalculation. Sean Bergenheim was there and for another 200k more. Fels and I talked about him when I had him on the podcast last September when we tried to make sense of the Scott and Pisani additions.

  9. Chris, I propose a campoli moratorium. Enough with this guy. But I do have a ?
    Do you think this is a make it or break it year for lalonde?… Seems to me olsen as well as clendening and quite possibly johns are coming on strong in terms of having a future with the hawks. Also what’s the scuttlebutt on Lavin ?

    • Craig, I’ll tell you a story. When I was a little kid and my mom would try to tell me to put away my toys, I’d go to the chest and take out three more.

      Re: Lalonde. No, he’s a three year project. No need at this point to rush him or over-analyze what he’s doing. When he last left us in the spring, I’d say he was at least a full year away from being capable of playing consistent minutes in the league. You do want to see progress because he’s a tradeable commodity and the Hawks have the space this year to make a big move at the deadline.

      I was surprised (actually not really) more people didn’t come away from prospect camp glowing over Lavin. He’s poised, doesn’t rattle easy. I expect he’ll be an unsung guy in Rockford. Kind of like Stanton last year.

  10. Chris. Thanks for the info. Great site. Do you think Rockford adds a veteran defenseman before the season? Connelly, Stanton , olsen, lalonde seems like a really young top 4

    • You would think so. Conventional wisdom would say they won’t fair well with this roster as it is today.

      Rockford is younger, a lot less experienced, lighter and slightly shorter than they were a year ago.

      There is one spot open for a veteran d-man and I’d expect them to fill it. Whether its John Scott or someone else, that is the question.

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