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


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.

Blackhawks still trying to solve penalty kill issues

Blackhawks still trying to solve penalty kill issues

When considering the Blackhawks’ penalty kill, you can look at their 3-3-1 record in two ways: their record is mediocre because of it, or they’re still getting points despite it.

No matter how you look at it, however, the penalty kill’s malaise has to stop.

In seven games this season, the Blackhawks’ penalty kill has allowed 14 goals on 26 opportunities. Through their first seven games last season the Blackhawks were shorthanded 18 times, allowing three goals.

Looking at seasons overall, the Blackhawks allowed 46 power-play goals over 82 games last season. The kill allowed a scant 35 goals during the 2014-15 season and 46 goals in 2013-14.

Yes, the Blackhawks know it’s a big problem and they’ve talked about it and worked on it. So far, they just haven’t seen the results on it. Some have come off faceoffs. Some have come from long distance. Some have come off rebounds. It doesn’t seem to matter what they do: goals get scored. The Blackhawks will keep going back to the drawing board until they restore that penalty kill to its normal success rate.

“We talk a lot about the way we’re forcing it up ice, how we’re forcing it in the neutral zone, forcing entries, how we’re moving together as units, the personnel changes,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ve tried a number of different looks on the back end, as pairs up front. We’re trying to find something that clicks. we haven’t gotten that confidence yet where we’re comfortable with just about any pairs right now. hopefully we can get that stabilized.

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“We know the importance of that influencing the outcome of games and sometimes it can win a game for us. But it’s been a real negative so far,” Quenneville added. “We got through three in a row there. hopefully that’s the start of something positive.”

The Blackhawks killed off the final three penalties they took against the Calgary Flames on Monday night. It was a shot of confidence for a group that needed it, and now they have to repeat that more often.

“We just kept our feet moving. We were working. Our shifts were 20 to 30 seconds tops,” Jonathan Toews said. “When you go that short you have the energy to outwork the power play and make up for being down one man. Yeah, I mean, I think that’s the key right there, and I think our systems fall into place when we’re all moving and we’re all skating the right way.”

Artem Anisimov said those three successful kills were “intense.”

“We were skating. We didn’t give so much time to set up in our zone,” Ansimov said. “It was like, always clear. We cleared the puck 200 feet and it was successful.”

The Blackhawks have been talking “baby steps” regarding their penalty kill the past few games. Killing three in a row off on Monday night could be one, but it means nothing if they allow another one in their next game. The penalty kill is broken. The Blackhawks will keep trying to fix it.

Check out Jonathan Toews' scary Halloween costume

Check out Jonathan Toews' scary Halloween costume

Jonathan Toews isn't doing himself any favors of trying to drop the Captain Serious nickname that has stuck with him since 2008.

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The Blackhawks captain and his girlfriend dressed up for a Halloween party on Tuesday night, and their costumes were on point:

Mr. and Mrs. Dead Serious. 💀👻☠️#happyhalloween

A photo posted by Jonathan Toews (@jonathantoews) on

We wonder how long it took to wash that paint off their face.