Sep 072011

Looking to improve depth and add long sought-after grit to the blue line mix, the Blackhawks acquired veteran utility defenseman Steve Montador over the summer.

Stan Bowman traded for Montador on June 29th and signed him less than 24 hours later.

Acquired prior to free agency from Buffalo for the seventh-round pick Bowman received from the Panthers in exchange for Tomas Kopecky’s negotiating rights, Montador inked a deal with Chicago sixteen hours before he was set to hit the open market.

Chicago will mark the defenseman’s sixth team in the last seven seasons.

Set to earn a whopping $4.6 million this season, Montador is the league’s 28th highest-paid defenseman next to Calgary’s Mark Giordano.  Since his contract is frontloaded, Montador’s cap hit over the next four years sits at a more manageable $2.75M. Continue reading »

Sep 072011
photo: Chicago Tribune

By Jon Fromi

Brent Seabrook enters the 2011-12 campaign with a five-year, $29 million contract in hand. The physical half of the Blackhawks’ top defensive pairing can live up to the terms simply enough. Seabrook just needs to play the game that earned him those big bucks.

Seabrook’s ability to hold up in the long term under the physical play took a hit, literally and figuratively, in the playoffs via the shoulder of Raffi Torres. The Hawks hope Seabrook will erase any lingering doubt as the season gets underway. Continue reading »

Sep 062011

This week I’m happy to be re-joined for the first time in many months by John of the great

First, we get the lowdown on the Feather’s summer away at cottage and what’s in store for readers this season over at their site.  Then, with training camp vastly approaching, John and I try to put a lid on the Blackhawks off season.

We discussed all the following and much more

-The current status of fighting in hockey & place in today’s game
-How the NHL should handle concussions
-What is wrong with the NHL’s drug testing policy and what Gary Bettman must do to fix it.
-Blackhawks blue line shuffle. Where do the changes leave the D?
-Viktor Stalberg’s new role
-Ben Smith – Odd man out?
-Dan Carcillo
-Will Troy Brouwer breakout in Washington?
-Comparing this summer’s adds to last year’s
-Who will make the Hawks better & improve their position in the standings
-Last-man standing in the backup competition
-Fourth line center
-Who skates with Toews?
-Kane winning puck battles
-Bowman’s posturing lends flexibility
-Hawks top competition in the West
-Handicapping Shea Weber’s future in Nashville

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As mentioned on the show, I’ll be the guest Wednesday night on the Let’s Go Kings podcast at 11pm eastern/10 central/8 pacific.  You can listen live or later in their archives at

Sep 052011

Concerns about Rockford’s lack of size and experience were partially answered last week with two new player acquisitions.

First, the IceHogs signed 30-year old defenseman Brian Fahey on August 31 to a minor league contract.

Fahey (6-1, 215) spent most of this past season in Hershey with the Washington Capitals organization.  Fahey also got his first taste of the NHL with the Capitals in seven games over separate call ups, the final being last December.

A fourth round pick of the Avalanche in 2000, Fahey has since bounced around the minors for Colorado, the Thrashers, Rangers, Capitals and on his own.    Fahey’s best seasons came on stacked Chicago Wolves’ teams (2006-08) and on Hersey in 2010-11. Between those stops, Fahey had a forgettable year in Hartford that led to him getting dealt back to Colorado for bad seed Nigel Williams.  He got back on track that year in Cleveland with the Monsters.

Fahey is a fundamentally sound veteran defender who provides the IceHogs with a strong right-handed shot from the point.  He’ll make a sound pass into the neutral area, one area in dire need of improvement from last season.  He’ll step into Ivan Vishnevskiy’s vacated spot on Rockford’s power play and Fahey will see time on the team’s revamped penalty kill but largely by default of better options. Continue reading »

Sep 022011
Photo credit

By Brad Gardner

The Blackhawks’ blue line will be without a key contributor now that Brian Campbell will lace his skates in Sunrise, Florida this season. The seismic trade was felt most strongly on the books, where Campbell’s departure opened up over 7 million dollars in cap room. Shockwaves will also be felt on the ice as Chicago’s returning defenders and a trio of new acquisitions will try to replace one of the NHL’s better offensive-defensemen. Continue reading »