Tonight, on Hockey Night In Canada's Hot Stove, Al Strachan reported (so be fairly skeptical) that Coach Q and Brian Campbell are having it out over 51 Phantom's playing time, and that though the Hawks aren't shopping Soupy, they'll listen.
This is an interesting story on so many levels. First off, it is highly, highly unlikely that the Hawks would find any takers for such a ridiculous contract. That being said, it's pretty clear Q is not enamored with Campbell. He booted him off the PK months ago, and on a couple occasions has removed him from the first PP unit. Campbell's never been that great in his own zone, this was not a secret when we signed him. Phantom has gotten his fair share of abuse on these boards and others, but you can't ignore the addition to the PP that he's provided, which is a big reason the Hawks are where they are. He and Keith are also the only transition game the Hawks have from the backend. There are certainly nights when 51 Phantom looks out of it, like against the Pens. But there are others, like say against Minnesota last Sunday, where he is absolutely flying and making things happen. He is certainly an effective player.
There are other consequences as well of any potential deal, however unlikely. It is this observer's opinion that it would set a dangerous precendent to be shipping off a prized free agent signing mere months after bringing him to town. Other players would notice that, and remember it when being courted by the Hawks. If they got over that, they would have to be overpaid or treated to a no-trade, which can become quite the fucking handicap. Ask the Leafs how they feel about those.
On the other hand, the cap space makes you drool, doesn't it? Those extensions to Toews, Kane, Toews, and Bolland don't seem so hard. Resigning Mach 24 Havlat is in reach. Campbell and Khabby gone would mean 13 million freed up. Nothing will happen, almost certainly, but still, stay tuned.