Everything Else

Restricted free agency in the NHL is a weird, middling, vague, and unpleasant realm of the CBA. Due to the League being run by a bunch of old white, back-slapping cronies, the top end of the RFA toolkit rarely ever gets used in trying to poach players that have drastically out performed their first and second contracts. It’s a bit underhanded, but it’s perfectly legal to do, and the it’s such a big deal when an offer sheet happens is because they are so rare. Whatever anyone’s thoughts on the Flyers or Shea Weber as a player, the offer sheet he signed was brilliantly structured with poison pills left and right that made it difficult for mid-market dope David Poile to swallow when signing him.

But there is an inverse, flip-side, bizzarro aspect to restricted free agency as well, and that is when a team declines to give a player it has under control a qualifying offer, the deadline for which passed yesterday afternoon, and sometimes it’s not exactly done on purpose. And the list of players now left out in the cold is quite interesting.

Everything Else

AltLogo vs. abom_bugs

FACEOFF: 8pm

TV/RADIO: WGN for both

ALTITUDE AND ATTITUDE: Mile High Hockey

I’m writing this as the Wild-Blues goes on and fully admit by the time you get to read this the result of that game will have rendered this one meaningless. If the Wild don’t claim both points, the Hawks will open at Nashville next week for Game 1, and I guess you could argue that’s what they’ve been angling for anyway. Or not. I don’t know. It’s probably the best of a bad bunch of matchups.

Everything Else

AltLogo vs. abom_bugs

FACEOFF: 8pm

TV/RADIO: WGN for both

ALTITUDE AND ATTITUDE: Mile High Hockey

I’m writing this as the Wild-Blues goes on and fully admit by the time you get to read this the result of that game will have rendered this one meaningless. If the Wild don’t claim both points, the Hawks will open at Nashville next week for Game 1, and I guess you could argue that’s what they’ve been angling for anyway. Or not. I don’t know. It’s probably the best of a bad bunch of matchups.

Everything Else

Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman, like a lot of other NHL executives, has delved into college hockey to bolster his organizational depth. Free agent players from the ranks of the NCAA have found some leverage at the high end of the talent pool in recent seasons. So much so that Bowman has found the need to sweeten the pot to get at some of that talent.
Has it paid off? Well, you got to see Kyle Baun Tusday and Thursday nights. I certainly don’t see him in an Indian head sweater come fall, but the former Colgate standout was able to parlay interest from a host of NHL teams into a cup of coffee in the show and a year burned off his two-year entry deal.

Time’s gonna tell on guys like Baun and Tanner Kero (formerly of Michigan Tech) as to whether or not they can someday break into an NHL lineup. However, the ship has likely sailed on a much-heralded player who, at the time of his signing, was seen by some as a potential top-six center.

I’m talking, of course, about Drew LeBlanc. Just so you know…he’s not.

Everything Else

Hawk Wrestler vs. image-sabre_medium

FACEOFF: 6pm Central

TV/RADIO: CSN, WGN Radio 720

THERE AIN’T NO MONORAIL AND THERE NEVER WAS: Die By The Blade

I’m not even sure this one needs much of a preview. It couldn’t be clearer that both teams, at least among their management, want the same thing tonight. That is a Hawks win. This seems such an oddly-scheduled game, as I would have thought for the last two weeks the NHL would have wanted to keep schedule intra-conference to really hop up playoff races. But then that would be logical, and we all know what we’re dealing with when it comes to his league.