Extra money isn't burning hole in Bowman's wallet

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Extra money isn't burning hole in Bowman's wallet

CALGARY, Alberta The Chicago Blackhawks have a tidy little chunk of change at their disposal. Yes, were talking a few million dollars here, something the Blackhawks havent enjoyed in some time.

But just because they have it doesnt mean general manager Stan Bowman is ready to spend it.

The Blackhawks are off to the start they wanted this season. They have good personnel and good depth. So even though the Blackhawks now have about 6 million in cap space after Rostislav Olesz was assigned to the Rockford IceHogs, Bowman said theyll hold onto that cash for a while.

Were not in a rush to spend money, he said prior to the Blackhawks game against the Calgary Flames on Friday night. We have a lot more cap space than weve had before, and when the time is right, if the opportunity comes, we wont hesitate to move on it. Right now, we dont have any things were close to doing or looking at. But were always looking ahead at what might be there. Well see what happens.

The Blackhawks are enjoying this extra-cash thing. The biggest advantage right now is avoiding last seasons rigmarole of sending players back and forth from Rockford just to save cash.

On the trade and acquisition front, the Blackhawks can afford (no pun intended) to sit back and wait. First, its November. This isnt exactly the big trade or pick-up time of year. As Bowman said, nobodys giving up on their season yet.

Most (trades) come down in the second half and in the few weeks nearing the deadline. Its not like theres a lot of opportunities out there. Most teams that will eventually become sellers are not sellers yet.

Second, the Blackhawks arent exactly in need of making a move. Theyre winning. Theyve got plenty of depth. Hockey seasons are long and things can change quickly. If the Blackhawks suffer a big injury and need to pick someone up to supplement the loss, they can. If they want to get a gem come late winter, early spring, they can.

The Blackhawks like having extra cash to play with. Theyll spend it wisely.

Were trying to improve any deficiencies we may have as the season unfolds, Bowman said. We have a good idea where our team is at. Its inevitable things are going to change, whether its injuries or we hit a rough patch. Right now were not looking to do anything in particular. Were comfortable with the players we have.

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Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

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USA TODAY

Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

PITTSBURGH – Well, that looked more familiar, didn’t it?

The Blackhawks put talk into action on Wednesday night, storming out to an early lead and never letting up in a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’re sitting in a good spot right now, sporting a nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild – yes the Wild still has that game in hand – and, with five games remaining, they once again played the complete game they’d been missing.

The schedule doesn’t let up, so let’s get to the notables.

What Worked: The Blackhawks’ first period. If there’s such thing as a statement 20 minutes, the Blackhawks made it in Pittsburgh. If the Penguins made a bad pass, the Blackhawks turned it into an opportunity and, a few times, a goal. The Blackhawks had a similarly sharp first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. On Wednesday, however, they didn’t lose any steam later.

What Didn’t Work: The power play. Yeah, you really have to reach to find something that didn’t work for the Blackhawks in this one. Their power play, however, didn’t do much. Their best chance on it was a Jonathan Toews shot on their second power play; that shot was blocked before it got to Marc-Andre Fleury. Their third power play, which came on a phantom tripping call on Conor Sheary, was their quietest of the night.

Star of the game: Tanner Kero. The kid’s been alright at second-line center, and he did a little bit of everything on Wednesday night. Kero had five shots on goal, the secondary assist on Artemi Panarin’s early goal and added a breakaway goal of his own early in the third period. He also won five of 11 faceoffs. Centering Patrick Kane and Panarin could be daunting but in his short time there, Kero’s handling it very well.

He Said It: “It’s a nice opportunity that he’s taken advantage of in a short amount of time. You get a little more defensive responsibility. The upside with him is we wanted him to get better offensively as well, so it’s been a good couple of games.” Coach Joel Quenneville on Kero.

By the Numbers: 

850 – Career coaching victories for Quenneville.

524 – Career goals for Marian Hossa, who scored his 25th of the season late in the first period.

39 – Time, in seconds, in which the Blackhawks scored two goals late in the first period (Marcus Kruger at 19:05 and Marian Hossa at 19:44).

6 – Consecutive victories for the Blackhawks over the Penguins. They’ve outscored the Penguins 20-8 over that span.