Tag Archives: Rocky Wirtz

Lindbloom’s View: Blackhawks ’12-13 season ticket cost hike a hustle formula

Hawking at Dixie Square Mall

By Rich Lindbloom

“Kung Fu
That was one of my good ones
Well what’s a few broken bones
When we know it’s good clean fun
Skateboards
I’ve almost made them respectable
You see I can’t always get through to you
So I go for your son…so
Give me all your money ‘cause I know you think I’m funny
Can’t you see me laughing
Can’t you see me smile

I’m the man
I’m the man that gave you the hula hoop
I’m the man
I’m the man that gave you the yo-yo.”  -
Joe Jackson

All right Peabody, time for another journey on the way back machine. Back in 1973, my good friend Jack Carlson and I used to frequent the Game Room in Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, instead of attending our chemistry class at Thorton Community College. Read more »

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Blackhawks payroll skyrockets, Rockford signs two to AHL contracts

If, as Rocky Wirtz claims, the Blackhawks are still operating in the red through this past season, the company will have its work cut out for itself this coming year.

As things stand now, the Blackhawks will spend a minimum-projected $77 million on player salaries in 2011-12.  This is about an $8.5 million increase on what was spent in 2010-11, $68.5M.  The Hawks spent $66.0M in 2009-10, including performances bonuses ($4.1M) that went penalized against the Hawks cap the following season.

While the team at this point sits roughly $3M under the $64.3M salary cap ceiling with the roster one player over the 23-man limit, several factors will have the team spending almost $13 million more than the “upper limit.” Read more »

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Campoli comments on Chicago; Lapointe, Bell, Broadhurst and other news and notes


Chris Campoli
this past Thursday on his stay in Chicago

I have nothing but great things to say about it.  It didn’t work out contract wise with them, but they’re a first-class organization.  The fans were unbelievable.  The city is absolutely amazing.  I really enjoyed being there and I was very fortunate to be able join the team when I did.”  [Fan 590 Toronto]

He wasn’t asked at all about the failed negotiations with the Blackhawks.  This also a day after the Hawks officially cut Campoli loose on the UFA market.  The Chicago comments came as Campoli was asked to summarize or compare each place he’s played thus far in the NHL.  Simply a waste of time, a terrible interview.

Martin Lapointe, who’s served as a pro scout for the past two seasons, is no longer listed in that, or any other capacity on the Blackhawks official web site.

In case you hadn’t heard…. Read more »

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Hawks trade rumor, Rocky Wirtz says team still losing money

Tim Sassone this afternoon on Twitter hinted of “whispers” he’s hearing out of Montreal on a potential trade involving the Blackhawks and Canadiens.  Sassone suggested Habs’ winger, and former Chicago Blackhawk, Travis Moen could be part of the deal.  Moen skated for the Hawks in the season prior to the 2004-05 lockout and was then dealt by GM Dale Tallon to Anaheim for Swedish utility forward Michael Holmqvist.  In all, Moen was a part of the Blackhawks organization for three years, playing in Norfolk in 02-03 and 04-05.

Sassone also intimated one “or more” of the Blackhawks restricted free agents would be headed to the Canadiens as part of the rumored talks.  My guess is the player would be Viktor Stalberg, who in college at the University of Vermont was nicknamed the “Swedish Rocket.”

Moen, 29, would give the Hawks some added size (6-2, 216) and grit they’re missing with Troy Brouwer and Tomas Kopecky now gone.  Andrew Brunnette has a great knack for the puck around the net but he’s not overly big (6-1, 215) and he’s not a banger.  Jamal Mayers may not play much if he even makes the team.  Daniel Carcillo is not big and doesn’t intimidate anyone, just annoys them.  John Scott is pushed further and further away from the ice with each Stan Bowman move, despite the GM’s comments of wanting to get Scott more ice time.  Sean O’Donnell (as a part-timer) and Steve Montador have addressed the team’s need for muscle and toughness on the blue line, but it’s still a work in progress at forward.

Travis Moen is entering the final year of a 3-year contract and has a cap hit of $1.5M.  The expiring deal fits in mold Stan Bowman is setting with his free agent transactions, save Montador.  Chicago is wisely apprehensive to committing any more long-term dollars in looking ahead to the next collective bargaining agreement.  Patrick Sharp will get his, but outside of him I can’t see the Hawks taking another big contract on without moving one they already have or another of today’s RFAs.

As far as the Blackhawks are concerned, Stalberg would be a nice luxury to have as a fourth liner.  With his speed and modest skill, Stalberg gives the Hawks a threat on that line.  There aren’t many teams who can throw the kind of speed Stalberg has on their fourth lines, and since coaches typically match fourth lines against the other, having Stalberg’s size (6-3, 210) and wheels would give the Hawks an advantage against most other teams in that respect.  And Stalberg has enough skill to fill in on scoring lines when injuries warrant or Joel Quenneville is treating his line up card like a Rubik’s cube.

Moen has never been a scorer (career high is 11 goals, with ANA in 2006-07), but is a tough, consistent forechecker and best utilized in a checking line role.  He won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007 in that checking role with Rob Niedermayer and Samuel Pahlsson.

There are still moves to be made and free agents to sign, and Moen is at this point just an interesting rumor, so we won’t get into where he’d fit in the Hawks’ line up.  But, again, (I guess I am doing it anyway) he’s best in that third line checking role, which would mean breaking up the Bolland-Frolik-Bickell trio Bowman was been so fond of.  Possibly moving Bickell up to a scoring line, with Brunette being the other scoring line left winger if Sharp’s staying at center.  If there’s another plan in store for center and Sharp is making a permanent home at left win, then Moen or Bickell drop to the fourth line and one or more of the July 1st acquisitions would be in the press box or sent packing.  Regardless, Moen could be a nice depth acquisition, with an affordable expiring contract.

– In other news, Chris Kuc has a Q&A up today with the Blackhawks ChairmanRocky Wirtz has been elected to the NHL Board of Directors.  Just in time for a CBA overhaul.  Rocky also tells Kuc that his team is still losing money.

Before anyone freaks about over the chairman’s claim (he also did this last year), the team is still reimbursing years of loans from Wirtz Corp.  In the interview Wirtz claimed it would take another four years before the team could operate on its own in the black.  Even then, with the NHL economy and national television rights fees locked in for the next ten years, and also money his team spends, it’s doubtful they’ll ever turn huge profits.

Rocky Wirtz also talks to Kuc about raising ticket prices, looking back at bad deals and signing Cristobal Huet’s paycheck.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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McDonough’s new title, backstory on Finals game 5 and much more

In the next few days we’ll gradually get caught up on the thoughts and all the notes we’ve missed in the past month I’ve been away.

McDonough title gets fatter

On the first of June, Blackhawks franchise President John McDonough had his title extended to include the title of Chief Executive Officer.

Rocky Wirtz explained the move in a press release:

“John has shown unprecedented leadership, boundless energy and a tireless ability to move the Blackhawks forward since he took over operations for the organization in 2007.  It is only appropriate that we add CEO to his title as the direction of this franchise continues to strive for excellence.”

The new title itself won’t change McDonough’s role much if at all.  It’s more of a cosmetic change than anything else.  Not unlike several moves made a year ago after the Stanley Cup win.

Last summer several front office types received new promotions in title.

Jay Blunk was promoted from Senior Vice President of Business Operations to a more plain, bolder and broader, Executive Vice President.  Stan Bowman had “Vice President” inserted before his General Manager tag.  Chris Werner was promoted from Senior Director to Vice President of Ticket Operations and Customer Relations.  Al MacIsaac got a Vice President tag to stitch over his previous Senior Director of Hockey Administration as well as Assistant to the President.  MacIssac’s official title since has been Vice President/Assistant to the President.   Kevin Cheveldayoff also had Senior Director of Hockey Operations tagged onto his plain Assistant General Manager distinction.

With all the elevations in status being handed out last summer, John McDonough’s stayed the same until this month.

In a Q&A with ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers the day after his promotion, McDonough gave his take on the CEO tag.

“Well, we know over the last few years the signature here has been profound change, and what we’re looking for is continuity,” McDonough said.  “For me I’m proud to play a small role in the development of this franchise, but this gives us more continuity.”

What a title has to do with continuity is your guess.   And McDonough’s role in remodeling and advancing the Blackhawks’ business and hockey operations has been anything but small.  But his use of the word continuity is still interesting.

McDonough, who turned 58 last month, will be entering the final year of his original five-year contract when he was signed on as team president on November 20, 2007.  In January of 2010, McDonough signed a multi-year extension that is believed to at least take him through the 2015-16 season.

Going by what little is known about McDonough’s contract, term, the president wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  Perhaps there is more to this story than we know?  For sure McDonough associating his own promotion with the term ‘continuity’ when he is under contract for another five seasons does raise some suspicion.

The only thing we can tell for sure is this move does put some space between McDonough and those underneath him who were founded new titles last summer.  Take that for what you will.

Catching up on what’s happening

– So… there was a serious Thrashers’ bidder interested in keeping the team in Atlanta

– According to Forbes, citing a team source, the Tampa Bay Lightning, despite increasing attendance by an average of 2,000 per game and three-round playoff run, will post a $25-30 million pre-tax loss this season. Read more »

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Dec 28th news/notes: Kane returns, Morin injured at tournament, Scott no-sells new nickname

Patrick Kane is expected to make his return to the lineup after missing three weeks with a left leg injury.  The original diagnosis was three weeks, so he’s on schedule despite some setbacks in his attempts to practice with the team over the last two weeks.  Kane injured himself 23 seconds into the December 5th game with Calgary at United Center.

With Hossa and Stalberg both returning from separate injuries in Sunday’s win over Columbus, this would give Joel Quenneville a full, healthy roster for the first time since November 26th at Anaheim.

Tonight presents an interesting roster decision for Joel Quenneville.  He hasn’t been a fan of Stalberg’s game of late when he’s been healthy, and it is the Blues, so John Scott’s presence could be needed.  However, with there still be a measure of uncertainty on how Kane’s “lower-body” injury will react in real game action, electing to dress a guy who can’t play much more than 5-6 minutes over Stalberg, Pisani or perhaps even Skille could present a tremendous disadvantage should Kane’s injury flare up during the game, especially early on.

[Update] The Blackhawks have announced Fernando Pisani is out tonight due to an illness.  So tonight’s likely scratches will be Ryan Johnson, Jordan Hendry and Pisani.  Marty Turco is expected to start. Read more »

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TTMI~Radio with John from FifthFeather.com

TheThirdManIn~Radio ~ e.47 ~ “The Fifth Feather”
Monday August 2, 2010 ~ BlogTalkRadio.com/TheThirdManIn

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It was my distinct pleasure to finally welcome John, of the fabulous Blackhawks’ site, FifthFeather.com on this episode of TheThirdManIn~Radio.  Hopefully his partner-in-scribe Bob will be able to join us next time we get them on for a visit, which should be much sooner than another year’s worth of shows.

Of course with the big news of today being the signing of Marty Turco and subsequent dismissal of Stanley Cup winning Antti Niemi after his one year $2.75M arbitration award, we covered that story from all angles.

Other topics of discussion:

– This weekend’s Blackhawks’ convention
– Blackhawks still managing to lose money
– John McDonough’s P.R. machine
– Rocky vs McD shaping up
– After the changes – Where do Hawks sit in the West?
– Stan Bowman’s “off-season”
– Predicting the opening night roster
– James Wisniewski’s big deal
– Should fans be banned from prospect camp?
– The 2011 Winter Classic
– and changes ahead at the FifthFeather.com

All this and so much more on an absolutely loaded hour and 1/2 edition of TTMI~Radio.

Thanks as always for listening.  Those who’d prefer to listen on their IPod or through their ITUNES can do so by subscribing through the following link, or by searching “The Third Man In Radio” in the podcast section of the ITUNES store.

SUBSCRIBE to TheThirdManIn~Radio on ITUNES

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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