Many apologies for not posting as frequently as we had leading up to Game 6, but we've all been admittedly Cup Drunk for a while now, and I hardly think anyone can be blamed for that. Additionally, it's relatively slow news-wise around here lately. That will likely change this week, as the awards show and draft are later in the week, and free agency is right around the corner. Since the dawn of the cap era, draft day has meant a lot of movement around the league, and given the Hawks are dry humping the cap already, expect something to happen then, if not before. We'll have all kinds of reaction for anything that happens shortly after it does, even if it's just them making the 30th pick.
We've also got other plans in the works for the summer, such as player report cards, a podcast that should penetrating your ear holes by the end of the week or so, as well as a few other things that we're currently working on. And we mustn't forget that the Stanley Cup Champion commemorative edition of The Committed Indian will be emailed and snail-mailed later today. Aside from that, here are some other thoughts that have been rattling around in my otherwise empty skull:
- The Hawks have been formally asked to participate in Chicago's annual Gay Pride Parade next weekend. Personally, I think they should do it, it would be a fantastic gesture toward a largely ignored sect of the hockey fan base, and promote acceptance elsewhere among fans, provided the Cup and players are not booked elsewhere already. However, now that that request has been made public, I feel like the Hawks now kinda have to participate at the risk of looking insensitive if they do not. I'm fairly confident that McDonough will find a way to properly traverse this PR tight rope, and I'm also fairly confident that the sight of Bryan Bickell in nothing but roller skates, a feather boa, and a banana hammock would be enough to turn Paul Lynde into Gene Simmons.
- Jaroslav Halak was traded to the Blues (or at least his rights were). It's a smart pickup for the Blues, who saw a somewhat aging and only slightly above average Chris Mason facing unrestricted free agency. The Blues didn't have to lose any roster players in the deal, though prospect Lars Eller, whom they sent to Montreal, is pretty highly regarded in scouting circles. I'm not entirely sure why Montreal chose Cary Price over Halak with both of them looking at restricted free agency, as I think that Halak is the steadier goaltender, but more than likely his contract demands coming off a sparkling playoff run have something to do with it. Halak will make things tougher on the Hawks within the division, but as long as the Blues have Cam Janssen, B.J. Crombeen, and any number of other shitbags running around trying to put Hawk skaters into the second balcony taking moronic penalties, I'm not too concerned, as even with Halak, the Hawks are still better at hockey.
- Elsewhere in the division, those pesky Nashville Predators are getting a pretty thorough makeover. In addition to changing their sweaters (AGAIN), they've also dealt away the rights of Dan "I've got Kaner taken care of" Hamhuis and captain Jason Arnott to the Flyers and Devils respectively, both of whom were looking at unrestricted free agency. While it's certainly shrewd on GM David Poile's part to get back anything (even if it is Ryan Parent and is 12 seconds of SCF ice time) for players he knows he's not going to sign, one has to wonder what he has planned on doing to reload his overachieving squad in free agency. This also sets the stage for Shea Weber to assume the captaincy (which he deserves) in Smashville. In acquiring (and presumably signing) Hamhuis, the Flyers bolster an already very solid blue line, even if signing him does mean losing the charred remains of Braydon Coburn due to cap constraints via offer sheet, as he is restricted himself. As for Arnott, he'll be headed back to the Devils, in whose uniform he scored the most recent Cup-clinching OT goal prior to Patrick Kane's two weeks ago. Arnott can still be productive, particularly in a second-line role behind Travis Zajac in New Jersey, but just how big a bargain he can be depends on what he's able to be signed for.
- Captain Marvel will be featured on the cover of EA's NHL 2011. Due to Jonathan Toews being on the cover alone, it will undoubtedly be both one of the best reviewed and best selling video games of the year, if only because they're terrified of Toewsface.
- Speaking of Toewsface, while I don't have an image of it scanned, anyone who's purchased this weeks SI (either regional or national) will note two awesome instances of Toewsface in the Blackhawks feature, particularly the one in the celebration scrum. If anyone can find it, please post it, as it's an all-timer. UPDATE: Reader Edbird was kind enough to send in scans of these wonderful pictures. Here you go.
- Lastly, we love us some sauce around here, and we love us some Roth-era Van Halen, but since he sneaked that shot between Michael Leighton's legs from the bottom of the circle, Patrick Kane has basically become David Lee Roth with his level of public drunken assclownery. And while I can certainly get behind it most of the time, I just hope it doesn't end up affecting his play next season after he made such great strides to rounding out his game in 2009-2010.