It has been a very busy 24 hours for the Chicago Blackhawks. Last night they traded Brandon Pirri to the Panthers for two draft picks. It was a move that should not have surprised anyone. Throughout the course of the season, it became clear that Pirri had fallen out of favor and was not in the long term plans. There a few reasons, mainly his defensive short comings and there was also talk about Pirri having a sense of entitlement. Some were mesmerized by his high goal totals in the AHL, but in order to win an AHL scoring title you have to play the entire year there. I have read many Tweets from people thinking they should have got more for Pirri. Not sure what you thought he was going to bring in. Bowman got the same return for Michael Frolik as he did for Pirri. Frolik is an established and proven player Pirri is not. I don't think Pirri will ever be the top six center people had hoped him to be in the Blackhawks organization, but he still should be a consistent contributor if he puts the work into it. He will get his shot to play every night with the Panthers and I hope he takes advantage of it.
Brandon Bollig received a three year extension today worth $1.25 million a year. Anything to do with Bollig immediately gets the interwebs ablaze. It's hard to argue that Bollig's line with Ben Smith and Marcus Kruger has been the most consistent line all season long. Bollig is not a great player, but he is not the worst either. Yes, I'd rather see a guy like Jeremy Morin on the NHL roster but Bollig has earned his spot despite there being more talented options in the system. I saw some concern that he was making more money than Kruger, which is true, but Kruger is still on his entry contract. With the salary cap going up, Bollig's salary will not have much effect on the big picture. Bottom line is Bollig is a Q guy so he stays and Pirri wasn't. I think Bowman is making Q happy now so he can force his hand when it comes to some of the prospects he is high on like Kevin Hayes, Teuvo Teravainen and Stephen Johns knowing how much his coach hates playing young talent.
The Blackhawks also told us that Marian Hossa will be out 2-3 weeks due to an upper body injury he suffered at Soldier Field Saturday night. The hit did not look too vicious so this news is about what I expected. I am not worried about Hossa. He is a warrior that has played hurt in the post season every year. These three weeks will work wonders on his legs, hopefully, during another long playoff run. Brandon Saad will step up and fill his spot on the top line and will do just fine. Now is the time for guys like Bryan Bickell and Kris Versteeg to step up and start contributing to the offense more. Both scored on Saturday night so hopefully the momentum has already started. Look for both Michal Handzus and Peter Regin to be in the lineup over the next couple of weeks.