Hockey

The last time Stan Bowman came out to open his mouth and find out with the rest of us what would come out of it, and a continuing theme the Hawks have hid behind, is that the price for “going for it” every season there for a bit cost them their future. Which is what we’re living with now. And it seems reasonable, but I thought I’d go a little more into it than just taking it by word.

I’m going to start with 2015, even though that season ended with a Cup and no one’s complaining at least about Antoine Vermette. Before that was six years ago, and even picks the Hawks gave up then would be veterans now that the Hawks likely wouldn’t be able to afford anyway. This is also going to assume that the Hawks would have nailed even any of these picks, much less all of them. But we will see who might have ended up as a Hawk if they still were making those pick. So let’s review:

2015

Antoine Vermette – Acquired for Klas Dahlbeck and 1st round pick (30th)

Coyotes drafted: Nick Merkley

Players that followed immediately: Christian Fischer, Travis Dermott, Sebastien Aho, Brandon Carlo

Clearly, Merkley never became anything. And again, the Hawks won the Cup that year, so this is what you sacrifice. But clearly, any of the four taken directly after Merkley would have been a huge help to the Hawks going forward. Even Dermott would have been the best defensive prospect they’ve produced other than Boqvist. Aho…d’oh.

Kimmo Timonen – Acquired for 2015 2nd round pick (61st) and 2016 2nd round pick (52nd)

Maple Leafs drafted (2015): Jeremy Bracco 

Players that followed immediately: Kyle Copabianco

Flyers Drafted (2016): Wade Allison

Players that followed immediately: Filip Hronek, Dillon Dube

Not as damaging as what came before. In 2016, Hronke would have definitely made this Hawks roster and showed some promise, while Dube probably could have been a useful bottom-sixer. Or he would have gotten the Dylan Sikura treatment for no reason other than the Hawks didn’t see him fight the one night they were scouting Rockford. Who knows?

2016

Andrew Ladd – Acquired for Marko Dano, 1st rounder in 2016 and conditional pick in 2018

Pick later traded to Flyers, drafted: German Rubstov

Players that followed immediately: Henrik Borgstrom, Max Jones, Tage Thompson, Brett Howden

Didn’t miss out on much here, but Howden would have been nice.

Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann – Acquired for Phillip Danault and 2018 2nd round pick

Canadiens Drafted: Alex Romanov

Player that immediately followed: No one

So Bowman can bemoan going all in all the time cost them the future, but this trade is more than that. It’s just bad. Fleischmann and Weise weren’t as valuable as Danault was that season, let alone what would come after. And deep down, we knew that at the time. This was splurging for the sake of splurging. And from the draft that they gave up a pick from, they didn’t really miss anything, although Howden’s future looks promising, except he hasn’t done much in the NHL yet. So he wouldn’t really be pulling the Hawks out of their current spot, just promising a better future than they have now.

2017

Johnny Oduya – Acquired for Mark McNeill and 2018 4th round pick

Dallas Drafted: Adam Mascherin

Players that immediately followed: No one

The Hawks didn’t really go all in at this deadline, as they were in first and felt pretty good about themselves, even if it felt like it was all on stilts at the time. McNeill never went on to be anything, and there’s no one from the fourth round of the 2018 draft who has mattered yet.

So looking back on all this, on the surface it seems like the Hawks sacrificed a lot to win in ’15 and try again the next two years. But the only cost really was that 1st round pick for Vermette. Now, maybe the Hawks would have taken Sebastien Aho, and things would look awfully different right now. Even Brandon Carlo would have changed the trajectory a bit. But how much?

At this point, this is deflection from the front office. The Danault trade was just bad. That wasn’t a sacrifice, that was idiocy. Extending Anisimov immediately to try and justify giving up a fan favorite in Brandon Saad for him wasn’t a sacrifice, it was idiocy (coming from on high). That cost you Teuvo Teravainen.

And the players Stan did draft, as the Hawks haven’t been bereft of picks, have been hit and miss. They’re not exceptionally good at it, but they’re not bad at it either. Still, on this current team, only Boqvist, Dach, and Debrincat look like Hawks draft picks that will make a difference for the Hawks. That’s just not good enough. That’s not about sacrifice, at least not entirely.

Again, this is Stan hiding while trying to justify his continued employment. And it looks thinner and thinner every day.

 

Everything Else

Well that was quite the party. And like any good party, everyone worth a shit now leaves before they stick around past the point that all the creatures of the night do. You know those people, the ones who a Saturday night turns into a Sunday afternoon with the curtains drawn. They where all black and love to tell you about the weird sex they have. That’s where the Columbus Blue Jackets find themselves…amongst the New Order records. No one wants to be the last to leave.

What a historic spring for the Jackets. Causing one of the biggest upsets in first-round history, they’ll join such luminaries like the ’91 North Stars, the ’93 Blues, the ’93 Islanders, and ’09 Ducks in the pantheon of…wait, you don’t remember any of these teams? Of course you fucking don’t, because they’re nothing more than quirky trivia. Something that helps you win the three free rounds at a pub quiz while you pretend you’re having fun. But hey, that’s more memorable than the Jackets have ever been.

We’ll spend the next day or two wading through various love letters and bouquets thrown at Jarmo Kekalainen, a man who has been allowed to be GM for six years with one playoff series win, no division titles, and never actually earning home-ice in a playoff series. What a record! Oh how he went for it! Oh what dash he showed! Why don’t more GMs show such gumption, they’ll cry!

Yes, selling out your future for six playoff wins so that your two most important players tell you to do one a couple weeks later than they were going to truly is foresight. It’s a wonder Jarmo isn’t a goddamn Vulcan. And when Duchene and Dzingel see Panarin and Bobrovsky fuck off, we’re sure they’ll be heavily tempted to commit their futures to a rest stop between known cultural centers of Cleveland and Cincinnati. Wonder how much longer Zach Werenski is going to want to commit to North Louisville after all that as well.

This is what you don’t get, Columbus. Once a college town, always a college town. Just because you’re strangely podunk and the home of an insurance company that keeps foisting Peyton Manning on the nation like a proud mother doesn’t mean you’re a destination. You go to Columbus, you stay for a few years, you get measurably dumber and then you move on to fix that. Those who stay around their college towns after graduation are always desperate and weird. If you’ve seen Buckeyes fans gather in Evanston or whatever Wrigleyville/Lincoln Park Date-Rape Palooza  bar they call home, you know of where we speak. It applies to the Jackets, too.

You needn’t sweat it. Your contemporaries the Minnesota Wild haven’t accomplished anymore than you. You two are what everyone thinks millennials are. Bad clothes, bad decisions, loud noises and few accomplishments. At least the Wild actually got a free agent or two to show up. And no, Nick Foligno wanting to stay doesn’t count. That’s more of a metaphor than you’re prepared to face right now.

Everything will be fine, you say. Cam Atkinson and his recent damn fine impression of Patrick Roy era Gabriel Landeskog  is still here. So’s Pierre-Luc Dubois. Josh Anderson and whatever brains didn’t leap out his ear thanks to McAvoy last night are too. Jones and Werenski. We’ve got a base. You sure do. Those 89 points that base will collect as they stare at whatever punter is in net wondering how that went in will be glorious. We’re sure you’re looking forward to it.

While the press lavish praise on Jarmo, because he gave them so much to write about, one has to ask if the truly brave call wouldn’t have been to cash in on Panarin and Bobrovsky for actual assets that will be around Ohio longer than until the keg goes dry. Perhaps something lasting instead of a cheap thrill and a parlor trick. These same writers will be doing “Was It All Worth It?” articles in March when the Jackets are five points out of a playoff spot. This will of course follow the “No One Believed In Us!” articles that come in November when the Jackets have the same five-game winning streak every team does.

No, the coach will still be a bullhorn, and his boring-ass style and hard-ass ways are going to get a lot more scrutiny when there are more losses than wins. And then one might wonder just how many more coaches Jarmo “Balls To The Walls” Kekalainen gets. And then won’t those make for some fun Athletic posts?

Face it Columbus, no one wants to be there. No matter what any player or team does it’ll be Page 2 behind which OSU running back showed up to spring practice in a Tesla. Oh wait, I think Urban Meyer is bending over again to show just how much this means to him. It doesn’t even matter that he’s not coaching anymore, he cares so damn much he’s killing himself out there!

You’re just a misplaced SEC town with the hillbillies to match, except you didn’t bother to include Nashville’s nightlife or music scene. You’re a jumping off point, and will always be leverage to get somewhere better. Which is just about everywhere. Rick Nash was only the first. He’ll hardly be the last. But hey, you’ve got a cannon, right?