Blackhawks’ Black Summer

Well…to say that the Chicago Blackhawks have had an interesting offseason would be quite the understatement. After a very impressive season and playoff run that took them to the Western Conference Finals, it seems that about anything odd, bizarre or negative that could happen to them…has.

They lost the team’s leading scorer and MVP Martin Havlat, who signed with Minnesota as a UFA.

They replaced his spot in the lineup by inking Marion Hossa to a 12-year, $62.8 million deal…who will now undergo surgery to repair a damaged shoulder and will likely miss 4 months of the season.

Oh, and that contract of Hossa’s?… well it is being investigated by the NHL to see if it’s running afoul of the team’s salary cap and/or violation the current collective bargaining agreement.

How very special.

And not to be forgotten is the fact that just a month ago, then Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon came under scrutiny when the NHLPA accused the team of not submitting qualifying offers to their restricted free agents before the deadline…including Kris Versteeg. Despite being able to re-sign the players before action could be taken…it lead to the demotion of Tallon to the position of Senior Advisor.

Scotty Bowman’s son Stan was then promoted to GM.

Then…just about the time Rick Dudley had to be thinking to himself, “Gee, looks like I got out of there just in time”…we learn of last weekend’s incident in Buffalo, NY involving their prize forward Patrick Kane, Kane’s cousin and a Taxi cab driver. The police report files states that the two beat the cab driver over a dispute involving 20 cents in change.

Yes, these are special times indeed for hockey fans of the windy city.

Now, it is yet to be seen just what…if anything…will come of these charges. However, the lawyer representing the cab driver…now identified as 62-year old Jan Radeki… has already moved to try and smooth things out.

“There was a dispute over the fee and it just kind of escalated from there,” Radeki’s attorney Andrew LoTempio told Chicago’s WGN radio on Monday. “It was not really a robbery. That is probably a large distortion of what happened…I think we should be able to work things out.

When asked if thought what took place between his client and the two Kanes was a felony, he responded, “Absolutely not”.

So maybe all this can be worked out between the two parties in kind of a “can’t we all just get along” sorta way.

Regardless, this is just another entry in a bizarre summer for a Blackhawks organization that had taken great strides over the course of the past couple of years to place themselves back into the upper tier of the NHL clubs. For them, even more than other teams, this summer can’t end soon enough and the season just can’t get here quick enough.

As for Kane himself…well…certainly he is young enough to be able to recover from a PR standpoint. Maybe not alllllll the way back, mind you…but most of the way at least. But this could cost him plenty in endorsements dollars I’m sure.

I’m also quite positive that Kane will feel the cold, brutal wrath of opposing team’s fans when the Hawks are on the road this year. There will no doubt be signs reading, “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime, or Two?”… “Please Don’t Beat Me With Your KANE”….or, “Citizen Arrest Kane”.

It’s to be expected I suppose.

And possibly when the Blackhawks are on a road trip, some club will make sure that game is advertised to be Cab Drivers Appreciation Night where all cabbies got discount tickets and the team skates out on the ice to the theme song to the TV sitcom “Taxi”.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, no…Chicago does not play in Philips this season.

87 comments Add your comment

finkle binkle

August 10th, 2009
9:55 pm

bada drinkle, ba ba binkle

World Be Free

August 10th, 2009
10:05 pm

Another one off the market-Mike Greir signs with Buffalo, 1 year deal. I guess I’m kinda happy

Rusty

August 10th, 2009
10:23 pm

Attorneys for Kane and the cabbie are both saying the incident was overblown. Sounds like a financial settlement is already in process. Also, thought you’d be interested in quotes by Kovalchuk in a Russian language sports publication, Sports Express.. Here’s what the on-line version quoted him saying:

“American mass media rumour that I have already started negotiations with Atlanta on my new contract but don’t believe these rumours. I got no serious offers yet and don’t forget that I have one year of contract with the Thrashers”.

“I really want to stay in Atlanta so I need to see this team next year. Our management reinforced the roster this summer and signed Antropov, Kubina and several other players. I think our performance will be more interesting this season”.

BigJ

August 10th, 2009
10:34 pm

I hope to God someone whoops the shit out of that little punk Kane. Hockey’s a blue collar sport, and there’s no way there aren’t more than a few bruisers with cabbie family waiting to pay him back.

I can’t wait…

Haha check this out (Patrick’s side of the story!)
http://www.annarbortshirtcompany.com/store/product/cabbieabuse

Viking

August 10th, 2009
10:54 pm

Hossa has finally got his Stanley Cap!

He was awarded a goat (a “cap” in Slovakian or whatever is spoken in Slovakia) named Stanley.

http://www.aftonbladet.se/sportbladet/hockeybladet/internationellt/nhl/article5627171.ab

ranallo10 (in AT)

August 10th, 2009
10:56 pm

I’m guessing Pogge’s trade has just shown Atlanta how dry of a market there is for unproven (at the NHL level) goalie prospects. A 2011 conditional draft pick…interesting.

elliott

August 10th, 2009
11:11 pm

people are smart enough to know there are 2 sides to a story. The story I read sounds
ridiculous. 2 guys beating up a cabbie for $ .20. It doesn’t make sense. Let’s hear both
sides.

The Cabbie (A Tone Loc Fan)

August 10th, 2009
11:38 pm

I need 20 cents to make Kane holler, I get paid to do the cabbie thing.

Riceowls8891

August 11th, 2009
7:31 am

Rawhide, you missed your calling. You should be in marketing. Cabbie Appreciation Night. Made me laugh out loud. Glad I wasn’t trying to drink anything at the time. I’d need a new keyboard.

World Be Free

August 11th, 2009
7:47 am

I guess the Hawks realized that they have a real immature kid on their hands.

JLH

August 11th, 2009
8:05 am

If those Kovy comments are accurate, it sounds as if he is going to wait and see how the team performs, before signing an extension. How do y’all feel about that? How should the Thrashers handle this? Couldn’t the distraction of Kovy not signing, negatively effect the performance of the team, and therefore seal his fate?

Dwayne

August 11th, 2009
8:30 am

He is in a contract year, he will be playing harder than ever, along with how well he played after being named Captain. Should not be a distraction at all. Look for the Thrashers to be much improved up and down the roster. If team stays as is, Kari will be the key. One more key, those first 5 road games will be a big test for the TEAM…got to get some points. You can’t win a division in your first 10 games, but you damn sure can lose it. Yeah, I know, lets just get a playoff spot, I think Kovy needs more than that. Hell, I need more than that. Squeaking in at 8th might not do it.

Toby

August 11th, 2009
8:33 am

What Kovy comments?

Dwayne

August 11th, 2009
8:37 am

read Rustys 10:23 pm blog

Toby

August 11th, 2009
8:52 am

Thanks…maybe I should start reading the posts before I start asking questions ;)

Yeah…not good news. If Dub hasn’t given any offer yet…the team is doomed. Not Good.

JLH

August 11th, 2009
8:58 am

Dwayne, I agree, Kari will be the key. If Kovy is playing for a contract, he may not be as much of a team player as last year, when his assists topped his goals. He also said that he had no serious offers yet. Could this possibly be true? Wouldn’t Waddell have come out of the gate with a 10 year offer in his hand? I’d like to feel positive, but the thought of going through a year with this sword hanging over the team’s head is depressing. Every goal and every game will be scrutinized with regards to its effect on Kovy’s attitude. The pressure on Anderson would be tremendous.

George Costanza

August 11th, 2009
9:02 am

I, for one, do not see what the big deal is here. The man was owed 20 cents. He should get his 20 cents.

Personally, I would have done the same thing.

Brendan

August 11th, 2009
9:05 am

Fans in away rinks will probably be holding derogatory signs about Kane, with two dimes taped to them.

Brendan

August 11th, 2009
9:19 am

An un-signed Kovy will lead to league-wide speculation. Shoot, we don’t have to leave our market to see that. Mark Bradley ran a column suggesting Kovalchuk be traded months ago. And during last year’s offseason, John Kincaid did a piece of 680TheFan’s website about
doing the right and trading Kovy before last year’s season even started. I repeat, these are local voices. Imagine what they’ll say in Toronto and Montreal?

Personally, while I wish Kovalchuk to be signed immediately, if not sooner, it’s in HIS best interests to use his contract as leverage to field the best roster Atlanta can. Kovalchuk runs the risk of being traded at the deadline if he doesn’t sign, but that Atlanta Management’s call. GM Don Waddell has empahatically stated that Kovalchuk will not be traded, period the end. I rarely take Don Waddell at his word. But I don’t think Waddell wants to be the GM remembered for having traded Kovalchuk. So, perhaps it’s true. Kovy has until June 30, 2010, to force Atlanta’s hand, regarding budget and talent acquisition. In HIS SHOES, I’d probably wait that long, just to FORCE Atlanta to do what OTHER MARKETS would do instinctively; namely, to field the best roster it can while being as close to the financial limits that the cap allows. If Kovy truly wants to remain in Atlanta for the majority of his career, all he’s really looking at, longterm, are Ron Hainsey, Toby Enstrom, and Nik Antropov. White’s contract is up in two years. I’d wager that Bogosian gets a nice long contract, when the occasion arises. But who else is really signed longterm? This is Kovy’s chance to get the players he wants, signed to 4-year or longer term deals. Being totally honest, I think Kovy’s doing the right thing, for himself. As a fan, I want him re-signed yesterday. I think that would help the team moving forward, to acquire better players.

Smoothie

August 11th, 2009
10:02 am

Brendan – good comments on the Kovy situation. Kovy is in control and he knows it. When they made him Captain, a large amount of leverage tipped in his direction. I too believe it is in his best interest to take a wait and see approach. I’ve been saying it for a while now: if he signs any kind of extension, I believe it will be a 2 or 3 yr deal in the middle of the season if things go well. Even if the team is in first place at Christmas I don’t see him agreeing to a 6, 7, 8 or 10 yr deal…still too many variables such as: 1) Kari Lehtonen’s consistency or lack there of 2) Bogosian’s continued development 3) Hainsey’s consistency 4) Little’s ability to duplicate and / or improve upon his 30 goal season 5) Peverley’s capacity for locking down a top 6 spot.

Heck you can throw in Evander Kane too if he manages to beat out 5 or 6 guys for a roster sport. Will Van Kane be able to contribute immediately to the team and will it be enough to help the franchise turn the ship wide enough to steer clear of the oncoming iceberg??

Buzilla in CT

August 11th, 2009
10:02 am

In the middle east, he would be KANE’d for stealing

Buzilla in CT

August 11th, 2009
10:07 am

Kovy said he got no “serious” offers from Atlanta. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t an offer, just not one he liked

Alan

August 11th, 2009
10:13 am

I just got to work, so I haven’t had any time yet to read over much, but I did check out the Balsillie story (wanting to probe the BoG’s rejection of him as an owner). This paragraph stuck out like a sore thumb:

The Canadian, in a court filing on Monday, also contends that Judge Redfield T. Baum has the authority under bankruptcy law to award the bid to Balsillie despite the actions by NHL owners.

Balsillie, however, doesn’t seem to have learned much history when it comes to the great sport of hockey. Many here might see some parallels if they read up on a man named Eddie Livingstone.

Maybe that’s just me, though, but I believe Balsillie is well on his way to being blackballed by the league he so desperately wants to become a part of. The rejection from the BoG was merely a shot across the bow, so to speak.

Toby

August 11th, 2009
10:30 am

Well…Zherdev has no chance of coming here or anywhere in the NHL for that matter….He’s heading to the KHL

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?p=20730992#post20730992

GaVaHokie

August 11th, 2009
10:54 am

Thanks Toby… I’m not sure I trust it until I see it on TSN, but it doesn’t surprise me.

GaVaHokie

August 11th, 2009
10:56 am

Actually, this is from RDS which is the Russian version of ESPN/TSN… so, I guess it’s probably true.

http://www.rds.ca/hockey/chroniques/280160.html

English translation:

Nikolai Zherdev will cross the Atlantic in his turn. The former player of Rangers accepted a new contract with the team of Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the KHL.
Zherdev will evolve/move in particular with Alexander Perezhogin and Alexander Radulov.

Russian

August 11th, 2009
10:58 am

I got this news also in Russian newspapers. He is going to sign contract with UFA at August 13. He will get $5 mln per year. It is toooooo much for Nik. I liked to see him here for $3.9-4 mln. Also I heard rumor taht Heatly will move to Sharks. Sharks will give Sens 4 players.

Alan

August 11th, 2009
11:02 am

Actually, this is from RDS which is the Russian version of ESPN/TSN… so, I guess it’s probably true.

No, it’s French. They’ve reported things un-true before. The biggest one in recent memory being the Hossa to Montreal deal.

I’m waiting for TSN.

Dwayne

August 11th, 2009
11:23 am

JHL, I believe the whole organ-I-zation, fans included, wouldn’t mind if Kovy’s goals doubled his assists, he is a goal scorer and thats what he is paid to do on O-fence. I think his problem has been his defence, which he made improvements in last year. I think we will see a “total” package this year. Brings a tear to my just thinking about it. sniff sniff

Buzilla in CT

August 11th, 2009
11:34 am

Patrick “Sugar” Kane

Dwayne

August 11th, 2009
11:41 am

Patrick “Citizen” Kane

GaVaHokie

August 11th, 2009
11:45 am

Sorry French, that would explain the .ca … wouldn’t this be the French side of TSN?

http://www.rds.ca/

GaVaHokie

August 11th, 2009
12:16 pm

Alan

August 11th, 2009
12:49 pm

I’ll wait until they don’t cite RDS as a source.

Moving the goalposts? Perhaps. But if RDS is involved, I really don’t trust it.

ranallo10 (in AT)

August 11th, 2009
12:55 pm

No offense Dwayne or Rawhide, but the Citizen Kane nickname (seen for Evander Kane and now Patrick Kane) is horrible. So he’s a former yellow-journalist who longed for his red sled and dies alone on a palatial estate?

Sorry to be critical but I think you both can do better.

Sara

August 11th, 2009
1:01 pm

I’d be careful about painting Kovy with the sweeping generalizations brush – he’s made it clear from past public statements that doesn’t think like everyone else (exhibit A – he actually wants to stay here). He’s not going to “dog it” or “coast” next year – he has too much pride as a professional in general and the Captain in particular to do that to his teammates or the fans.

I don’t think it’s the end of the world if Kovy comes into next season without a contract but it’s not the best scenario certainly. It will mean he needs to make certain he addresses the issue in camp or whatever with the guys. He can’t let them be on edge the way they were when we did this dance with Hossa two years ago.

Dwayne – squeaking in at 8th after finishing 13th the season before ain’t so bad. Especially when you figure all the youth we have means we should see continued upward momentum every season for the near future. 8th seed this season could easily mean Division Title and 3rd seed the next season. Mainly though, we just have to wait to see how they play the games.

Dwayne

August 11th, 2009
1:03 pm

Patrick “Kung Fu” Caine???

Buzilla in CT

August 11th, 2009
1:03 pm

Dwayne

August 11th, 2009
1:04 pm

I know, I’m reaching.

Buzilla in CT

August 11th, 2009
1:05 pm

Kane in the @ss

Dwayne

August 11th, 2009
1:10 pm

ok, fast forward, getting close to the trade deadline of 2010, we are in 8th, but barely, couple of points from 7th, Kovy still hasn’t signed, what to do, what to do???? Does Atl. take a chance, like Fla. did with Bowmeeeeester?? How did that work out for them?? I’m glad I don’t have to make those decisions. We have a awesome GM (ooops) an awesome associate GM to figure it out.

Get The Puck Out

August 11th, 2009
1:18 pm

Kane we all just get along?

Alex

August 11th, 2009
1:34 pm

I’ve watched a video of that Kovy’s interview…and he didn’t mention no “serious” offers. He said “no offers at all”..but at the same time he stays positive that eventually everything will be fine and he signs with Atlanta.

The Earl of Bud

August 11th, 2009
1:37 pm

I heard from a lawyer friend in WNY who’s worked with LoTempio before. Word is that the cabbie has some DUIs or DWIs on his record and was not driving his cab with a license. Whether that’s a lack of a driver’s license or a lack of a taxi license I don’t know, but he told me that the cabbie’s credibility was shot and he was in trouble. Thus, this may be why the story is going to disappear.

As for Kovalchuk, if we are supposed to think that the previous reports of him negotiating are rumors, then why isn’t this latest report also a rumor? How do we weed through the rumors and the actual reports? I am not going to automatically think “oh this report is true and this report is false” simply based on what I want to believe.

Toby

August 11th, 2009
1:53 pm

You all are inKane

Alan

August 11th, 2009
2:01 pm

Word is that the cabbie has some DUIs or DWIs on his record and was not driving his cab with a license. Whether that’s a lack of a driver’s license or a lack of a taxi license I don’t know

Alrighty, then.

Brendan

August 11th, 2009
2:08 pm

I would think that, at some point, some reporter, AJC or otherwise, will point blank ask Don Waddell if he’s extended a contract offer to #17. And then, we wait for Don’s answer. If he’s smart, he’ll say “the process is on-going.”

What does that mean? That’s the beauty of that statement. It doesn’t mean ANYTHING. It’s totally open-ended. But, generally-speaking, it does tend to satisfy the reporter’s question.

Rawhide

August 11th, 2009
2:12 pm

No offense Dwayne or Rawhide, but the Citizen Kane nickname (seen for Evander Kane and now Patrick Kane) is horrible. So he’s a former yellow-journalist who longed for his red sled and dies alone on a palatial estate?

Sorry to be critical but I think you both can do better.

ranallo – I was using the “Citizen Kane” reference here to also slide in the word “arrest”…as in “Citizen’s Arrest”.

I know…I know…a bit of a stretch….but hey, it’s August!

A2B

August 11th, 2009
2:12 pm

Didn’t Jay Grossman, say in mid july that him and Waddell were starting to hammer out details about Kovy’s new contract? Maybe Grossman is trying to inflate the contract to get what he wants out of it too. Granted I have not seen the interview, but I find it rather odd that both parties would say they started working on a deal to have one come back later and say nothing has been done at all.

The Earl of Bud

August 11th, 2009
2:27 pm