Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blame the System, not the Hawks, for Crushing Saad Loss

When the Blackhawks won their third Stanley Cup in six seasons just two short weeks ago, we all knew what was coming next. Both of the 2010 and 2013 Stanley Cup seasons were followed by a mass exodus in the offseason, as the Hawks looked to retool their team while keeping the core intact. In this horrific hard salary cap NHL era, winning one Cup is difficult, let alone winning three in six years. And unfortunately, getting to that level requires difficult business decisions involving players we love.

This year, all signs pointed to Patrick Sharp being the big piece moved. He's a beloved player, someone who helped kickstart this new Blackhawks cultural revolution when he was acquired 10 years ago. With his $5.9 million cap hit the next two seasons though, and father time knocking on the door, the obvious move would be to trade him to allow room for the Hawks to resign Brandon Saad, the 22 year old "man child" who has been a beast now for the past two seasons and part of a third. This was a sound, logical plan that adhered closely to the Blackhawk model of keeping crucial pieces of the young elite core together. And yet, that all came to a grinding, screeching halt today with the stunning trade of Brandon Saad.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Derrick Rose Lost to Yet Another Knee Injury

Only two weeks ago, as the clock was winding out, Derrick Rose took the inbounds pass and stormed down the length of the court in mere seconds, dribbling in and out of defenders and driving hard to the rim for an up and under layup as the half completed in a thumping of LeBron's Cavaliers.. This coast to coast display of athleticism, talent, and drive was something out of Derrick Rose’s past, and showed us that this special talent, so plagued by serious knee injuries over the last three years, could perhaps again be the same player who became the NBA’s youngest MVP only four short years ago. To be sure, he’s struggled this season. He’s launched too many three pointers, and at times lacked the confidence to drive to the hole, where his game has found its home over his entire career. But at that time, with that drive, I felt that Derrick might finally be rounding into form. This might be the return of our Derrick, a ceremonial breaking of the rust on his game and his confidence, with a return to the game and style that captivated this city and this league.