Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blackhawks in the News

In an effort to keep the Chicago Blackhawks in the news during the summer and, I'm sure just a mere coincidence that the Blackhawks fan convention is this weekend, former Chicago Cubs president and current president of the Blackhawks, John McDonough fired Dale Tallon from his position of GM and promoted Stan Bowman, son of Detroit Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman, to the position.

Now, as some of you may remember, the Blackhawks made the playoffs this past season, racking up 104 points in the process and making it all the way to the Western Conference finals, only to lose to those Red Wings. For that reward, McDonough, who inherited Tallon upon his arrival as president, decided that it was time for him to get his own guy in there. And that's not a surprise, as GM's like to have their man as head coach and presidents like to have their man making the moves. But they usually wait for a bad season to transpire, so they have justification. And after the progress the Hawks made in the 07-08 season, leading to this season's playoff run, McDonough didn't have the choice. But then Tallon gave him the chance and even gift wrapped it by making a clerical mistake.

In the NHL, and most sports that have restricted free agency (RFA), you have to make a qualifying offer to your RFA. Usually its a small offer based upon how long they have been in the league. Usually in the neighborhood of $500,000 or so. The deadline was June 15th and the Hawks had 7 players they needed to make qualifying offers to and they needed to be made to the players. Tallon mailed the offers out, which might be against the bargaining agreement. The Hawks ended up signing all 7 players, however it may have cost them more money to do so, just because of the potential the players could have made on the open market.

At this point, a decision was made at some point for the Hawks to "reassign" Dale Tallon into another role within the organization and promote Bowman to the role. Reports have surfaced that Tallon and McDonough didn't see eye to eye on a lot of moves, which McDonough and Tallon have both denied, but it boils down to McDonough wanting his own guy in the role. However, it's the press conference where they introduced Bowman as the GM.

During the presser, McDonough said that he believed "we could have done a better job " with regards to the filing issues. McDonough even said that he took responsibility for the mistake, which is a noble thing to do. But when asked if Tallon would have lost his job without this mess up, he said: "probably not." He followed that up by saying that when mistakes like this happen, its his responsibility to make sure it doesn't happen again. Let me see if I get this right. It's not Tallon's fault that the mistake is made, Tallon wouldn't be fired if it didn't happen, yet you're making a move to replace him. How can you those things equal out? And why would you fire Tallon and replace him with Bowman, who according to reports, was the one who was responsible for getting the contract offers out?

I don't have a problem with McDonough getting his guy in at GM, he's running the team after all. If he feels that this is the right move for the team and gets them on the right path to the Stanley Cup, that's all the better. But don't lie to the fans of your team by saying this was the reason for the move. The fans came out in droves to see the team play, leading the league in attendance. This isn't the way to repay them for your loyalty, not a few days before the fan convention.

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