Is It April Yet?
I happened to catch the Rangers/Maple Leafs game on ESPN the
other night, and I saw the most amazing things. Men were skating
swiftly the length of the ice and shooting the puck at the net.
Men were seeking out the man who had the puck and hitting him with
their bodies. And thousands of people cheered wildly as the home
team scored the winning goal.
Must be nice.
Legal trouble and high-maintenance drug habits have kept me from my
typical level of immersion in Blackhawk hockey lately, so I can't
comment authoritatively on the early days of the Lorne Molleken
regime. But the brief glimpses I've had reveal the same old Hawks
-- poor passing, no flow through the neutral zone, and the
occasional laugh-out-loud defensive miscue.
Unlike the NFL, where good draft picks pay off immediately and
last-place teams are rewarded with cream-puff schedules, the NHL
has few avenues for truly bad teams to get better quickly. Without
a dynamic presence behind the bench and some front office wizardry
the Blackhawks could get very familiar with the Western Conference
Bad Week for Waterbugs
If you're a little, speedy guy with some scoring touch, Chicago was
not the place to be last week. In the second period of last
Sunday's game with the Blues, Nelson Emerson separated his shoulder
and could be lost for the season.
Later in the week, the Hawks GM Bob Murray officially gave up on
Mike Maneluk, allowing the Rangers to claim him off waivers.
Tension between Murray and Maneluk's agent was blamed, and the
Hawks now have nothing to show for the blockbuster trade that sent
Cam Russell to the Avalanche.
After getting nothing in return for Maneluk, Murray appears to be
trying to get rid of young defenseman Bryan Muir the same way. The
Hawks have pulled a two-year offer off the table after Muir
disputed one of the contract's clauses.
News and Notes
The Flyers are still interested in dealing for Chris Chelios, as
evidenced by the Philadelphia scouts in attendance at the last
Hawks/San Jose game. However, fans are not likely to accept Dainus
Zubrus as compensation for a hometown hero, so Murray will most
likely stand pat . . . . In his longest stint yet in the majors,
J.P. Dumont has shown some of the skill that helped him break some
of Mario Lemieux's records in junior hockey. Perhaps more
monumental is Lorne Molleken's statement about Dumont that "he's
famous for scoring goals, so if he makes a mistake defensively, he
shouldn't worry about it."