Stan Bowman addressed whats been his top priority the last couple of months. The question is whether thats all his team needs now. A lot of Blackhawks fans feel they needed more, based on recent returns.
Whats clear is the Vice President and General Manager is putting his faith in the same core that led the team to the Stanley Cup two years ago to get the team consistently back on track, finish strong and be a playoff force. Hes putting his faith in Jonathan Toews getting back on the ice soon, as well as members of the supporting cast hes assembled to step up their games.
Theyre even more on their own physically for the rest of the season with their big bodyguard dealt away in their only other trade.
Though he probably shopped around and wished another part or two wouldve been easier to pry loose, the prices that were paid for those that moved were fairly steep. Some might argue the second- and third-round picks he sacrificed for Johnny Oduya may have been too much. But the current four-point cushion his team has between being in, or out of, the playoffs with 18 games left is all on the current group.
From kids like Jimmy Hayes, Dylan Olsen and Andrew Shaw, to veterans Andrew Brunette, Bryan Bickell, Michael Frolik and Viktor Stalberg stepping up more consistently and the stars needing to play more like stars. Not to mention the goalies needing to stop the pucks they see, he had to make a call whether he wanted to sacrifice a first-rounder, or a Hayes, Olsen, Brandon Saad or Mark McNeill for a new piece to the supporting cast that may or may not make a greater difference.
Disgruntled Hawks fans believe the team needs a shakeup. Bowman chose to stay the course, but probably saw what the rest of us saw over the weekend: They need to be a lot better. He believes they will be.
Sellers were few. Prices were high. It was patience over pulling the trigger, which is difficult for those impatient after watching them lose 12 of 16 since leading the league, slipping to sixth place and seeing their playoff margin for error shrink with a brutal schedule down the stretch to understand.
Hes expecting his group to respond. Now its up to them and the coaching staff to get back on track and prove him right.