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Breaking Down the San Jose Sharks' Offseason-Part Two

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I thought I would start this blog off with the first picture of newly acquired Sharks' defenseman Brent Burns in San Jose gear, via Brodie Brazil:

 

 

While the Sharks didn't go after any of this year's big-name free agents, it is probably for the best, as many of those players were grossly overpaid and will almost certainly be disappointments to their respective clubs. The Shark...

Blackhawks Goalie Situation a Win-Win-Win

Often times in sports, the rich get richer.

Teams categorized as “contenders” often have the luxury of taking chances on certain guys, or even just getting a quality player at a discounted rate (see: Vokoun, Tomas).

Oddly enough, the Blackhawks' circle of goalies starts with Vokoun. At the deadline in 2010, he was rumored to be Stan Bowman’s primary trade target as many believed the tandem of Antti Niemi and Cristobal Huet would not be enough to make the Hawks a serious Stanley Cup contender.The Hawks and Panthers could never find a deal and Niemi’s wonderful run proved the doubters wrong anyhow.

Niemi&rsquo...

Top 10 must-see games on the 2011-12 Chicago Blackhawks schedule

As the days march on towards Opening Night, and the bulk of trades and free agency acquisitions have been completed; the Draft and prospect camps are over; and the opening of Training Camps are still a few weeks away; as the weeks left until the new season drop into the single digits, there's one date circled on every fan's calendar to make it through the August doldrums: the date that their team's tickets go on sale. The Chicago Blackhawks have plenty of exciting matchups to choose from this year.

Five years ago, getting 14,000 fans in the seats at the United Center would've been considered a special night. Now, after three h...

How the Chicago Blackhawks are shaping up as training camp approaches

Chicago fans were disappointed in April when the Blackhawks couldn't make it past their hated rival, the Vancouver Canucks. But even in the face of the loss, there was a lot of positive things to take away from the postseason for the Hawks.

The most important thing was the Blackhawks' performance in games 4-7 of the first series. Despite Vancouver looking like the stronger, healthier team going to the series - and they were, having cruised through the final weeks of their schedule as Chicago battled down to the very last wire in the effort to hold on to their playoff berth - and even despite the Canucks practically skating circles around t...

Evaluating the Blackhawks at Draft, and previewing Prospect Camp

The 2011 Draft was not considered particularly deep, but the Chicago Blackhawks collected a total of 11 picks by the time the weekend was through, including Phillip Danault (pictured above). Danault was the Blackhawks' second pick (26th overall). Along with a solid set of selections throughout the Draft, Chicago's depth grew even more.

Let's take a quick look at the players Chicago drafted this year, as they will be part of the Chicago prospects camp that begins on Thursday, July 7th:

Mark McNeill, C (1st round/18th overall) - big, strong, smart center with good two-way game. Most recently of Prince Albert Raiders. Strong work ethic; scored 81 points in 70 g...

Blackhawks report card, part 3: Rockford IceHogs RFAs/UFAs - who might make the NHL?

Having discussed the active Blackhawks roster over the past two days, now we look to the Rockford IceHogs - Chicago's AHL affiliate and the top of the Blackhawks depth chart, including a few collegiate, ECHL or other junior league players who might be ready to make the transition to the AHL, since that factors into NHL interests in the case of call-ups. Currently, of the 26 or so players who had time in Rockford this season, 8 are RFAs and 4 are UFAs. For part 3 of the seasonal report card, we'll look at the UFAs and RFAs, and then finish up part 4 by discussing those who will still be under contract through at least the 2011-12 season. UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS Hannu Toivonen, ...

Blackhawks report card, part 2: RFAs and UFAs

Yesterday, we looked at those players whose contracts extend through the 2011-12 season or beyond. Today, we're going to look at the RFAs and UFAs currently on the Blackhawks roster, and rate their chances for returning next season. Notes in parenthesis are the player's 2010-11 salary cap hit, and RFA or UFA status. EXPECT TO RETURN - THE RFAs Corey Crawford, goalie ($800K/RFA) - Corey Crawford has quietly bided his time in the Blackhawks system. Drafted 52nd overall and the Blackhawks second pick of the 2003 Draft (the same draft where Ryan Kesler was picked 23rd and Corey Perry 28th), he played two seasons for the Norfolk Admirals when the Admirals were still the Blackhawks' AHL...

Blackhawks report card, part 1: contracted players for 2011-12

The Chicago Blackhawks might have gotten into the playoffs on the grace of another team's loss, despite finishing the season with 97 points, but they finished out the season on their own terms. They went out fighting like the defending champions they were, and nearly pulled out a historical upset after coming back from an 0-3 deficit. They didn't, of course - in what was a pair of instant-classic games, the Blackhawks and the Canucks battled it out in epic games 6 and 7. Rookie goalie Corey Crawford showed off the form that showed just how badly he was overlooked for the Calder Trophy nomination this year. Crawford even out-played his counterpart on the other end of the ice, Roberto ...

Blackhawks breathe new life into their series against Vancouver

The Chicago Blackhawks went into Tuesday night's game versus the Vancouver Canucks with a goal: keep it simple, and focus on one shift at a time. By reading the most newspaper accounts, you'd think that the team already had one foot on the golf course, and a club already in hand. The season eulogies appeared to already be written. The men of four feathers, however, had other ideas. They knew everything was on the line: their season, their Cup-defending playoff run, everything. What was worse - almost not making the playoffs, or the idea of getting swept in the first round? For some reason, the Blackhawks have always done their best when backed into a corner. Perhaps it's the e...

And then there was one

The Chicago Blackhawks thought their season was over a week ago on Sunday when they came off the ice after their final regular season home game, a loss against their division rivals, the Detroit Red Wings. All they had needed out of the game was a single point, and no matter what Dallas did that night against Minnesota, it wouldn't matter -- they'd be in. But they didn't get it done, and they were at the mercy of two teams who were playing 400 miles away. Several hours later, the Stars couldn't get it done, either - couldn't win the two points to put them in the playoffs ahead of the Blackhawks - and Chicago snagged its place in the top 8 of the Western Conference by the grace of t...