In this day and age of professional sports, when do you ever see a team that’s had early playoff exits return with very little change to its roster?
Exactly, almost never.
The Blackhawks are the exception to that rule.
So when Stan Bowman assembled the hockey operations group last spring, after their second straight first round exit, you would have expected him to bring a stick of dynamite.
Quite the opposite actually.
Bowman kept the nitroglycerin on the top shelf and felt that his best shot at getting another cup was to stay the course.
Bowman and the Hawks brass felt the team had underachieved for several reasons. Lack of talent wasn’t on their list. Sure, they needed to address their defensive corps, and they did with Johnny Oduya (trade deadline) and adding Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank during the offseason. Like many teams in town, Bowman believed you build a perennial championship contender through the draft. Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw have shown they are NHL-ready and Bowman feels there are a few other players in Rockford that would be starting on other NHL teams.
In a sit-down interview with Bowman, he explains how his core players took it upon themselves to elevate their game and how Patrick Kane’s maturation this offseason may be a major reason why Kane is among the league leaders in points.
Take a look at a portion of that interview. We will have more on Blackhawks Pregame Live in the coming days.