Everything Else

Bed A Little Lumpy, Stan?

Because you’re lying in it now, aren’t you?

At the top of this, let’s lay out a positive scenario that’s more than possible. The Hawks are able to get another brilliant season out of both Hjalmarsson and Oduya, allowing Keith and Seabrook to take on easier assignments. After a couple rocky weeks or even months, the third pairing evens out through some combination of Klas Dahlbeck, Rozsival, TVR, Clendening, Rundblad, or even Johns with the easy zone starts and softball competition. Brad Richards goes back to playing the point on the second unit, something he’s done his whole career, and a reinvigorated Kris Versteeg is able to knock out some of the loss of Nick Leddy on that unit. Notice I didn’t write Kyle Cumiskey’s name, because he’s fucking terrible and an utter disaster waiting to happen. And you thought Leddy’s defensive work was bad. All of this could easily happen, and the trade of Nick Leddy today will become something of an afterthought, especially if Johns is able to nail down a spot on the second pairing next season.

Now, let’s get to all that’s wrong with this situation, and it’ll probably be a few paragraphs before I even get to Gorilla Salad.

What is oddest for me about this is that it was heavily rumored at the draft that Johnny Oduya was the one being shopped. It made sense. He was more expensive, was older, was going to be even more expensive and older when his contract was up at the end of the season. There’s no way I’ll be convinced there wasn’t a market for Oduya, because this was the 3rd best d-man on a team that won the Cup and then was in Game 7 of the West Final last year (no Seabrook, you’re not ahead of him).

Maybe those rumors weren’t true, but when Bob McKenzie says it I tend to think there’s something to it. So what changed? Were the offers so lowball? Because even bent over a barrel today, Stan was able to get a pretty decent prospect in Ville Pokka. There wasn’t such an offer on Oduya? Did Stan pull him back?

I get it, Quenneville would hardly be the only one around town less than convinced Leddy could take Oduya’s minutes. I’m not convinced, but it was time to find out. I would find it hard to believe that after 50+ games as Hammer’s partner, and Hammer has become one of the best defensive d-men in the game, that Leddy’s game wouldn’t grow by measurable margins. Maybe it wouldn’t have. Maybe Q and/or Stan didn’t want to hand the hardest assignments back to Marlboro 72 while Leddy found his feet with more responsibility. That could easily be the case.

Still, the Hawks today had to give up on a 23-year-old d-man who already has three 30+ point seasons playing on third pairing to his name (prorated the lockout year) and simply huge offensive upside. This isn’t quite the Campbell trade, because the presence of Oduya means they are way more prepared for the loss of a puck-mover (in fact, it wasn’t until the Hawks got Oduya that they closed that 51 Phantom-sized gap).

The reasons Stan had to give up Leddy because of the cap concerns have already been gone over. The second year to Rozsival. The acquisition of Versteeg, which I really should give him more of a break on because no one thought it would go as bad as it did, and could totally rebound this year. But even at the time we thought another winger was superfluous, especially one that had a second year left on his deal at the time of the trade which would cause this exact cap crunch that has cost the Hawks Leddy and possibly made a total mess of the third pairing. No one wants to see the top four having to skate 25 minutes each every night, and yet that’s exactly what could happen here.

Luckily, a hockey season is long and hardly linear, which means Stan could get all the way until Christmas to sort out what the roster needs to look like. What it doesn’t need is this clogged drain on skates that they signed yesterday.

The best/worst part about the signing of the hairy jackass is that he doesn’t even fill the completely useless and mythical role the Hawks falsely believe they need. This dunderheaded twat is not an enforcer because he can’t fight. He’s not a pest because he can’t skate to forecheck nor does anyone buy his bullshit because he can’t fight. This vacant dick-cheese merely lingers around trying to hurt people on hits from spots they can’t see. He doesn’t protect anyone, and in fact puts his teammates in danger with the penalties, scrums, and eventually suspensions he produces. He wasn’t good enough for either of the Cup finalists last year who either discarded him completely or scratched him, but he’s good enough for these Hawks, huh?

It’s disconcerting because the Hawks could easily be icing a scary-skilled lineup this season, and it’s a dangerous precedent that their obstinate coach won’t even give some kids a look unless they give him no choice over player like the greasy vagina-potato-root they brought in yesterday (TOPICAL). Because there’s just another cap crunch coming next year that will have to be solved by the integration of Johns, Danaul, McNeill, or others. Are they going to be able to crack the lineup?

And what will those kids think when they see Jeremy Morin, who had to hear whispers that he was a weakling for not coming back quickly from a concussion, became more physical than he probably needs to be, fought needlessly to prove his organization wrong, kept his mouth shut and patiently waited his turn, had a great preseason after pretty much always looking threatening in the NHL games he got, and is now behind a humanized stale beer fart on the depth chart? Feel good about re-signing here, Peter Regin?

From the moment the parade of June ’13 ended, Stan and Q have been complacent and misguided. They watched as the Kings caught them and others got closer, and it seems none of those lessons have been learned. They tried to beat the deepest team in the league last year with eight forwards. And you know, because those eight forwards and the defense behind them were so talented they almost pulled it off.

After Brad Richards slows down in the spring and they discover the gangrenous turd they just signed can’t actually play, and cap problems keep Teuvo and Johns in Rockford, and Q refuses to play Morin and Regin again, they’re apparently going to try it again. And it still might work.

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