Blackhawks: protesting trade talks | Bleader

Blackhawks: protesting trade talks

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Patrick Kane
The unheralded hero of the Blackhawks' impressive 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday was Patrick Kane. No, he scored no goals and dished out no assists, but he played with an urgency he hadn't displayed in some time, and on a couple of rushes up the middle he seemed to have been shot out of a cannon. Dave Bolland, for one, followed his example, and their intensity was infectious.

As the Hawks came back from an early deficit to win, neither of their goals were pretty. Rookies Jimmy Hayes and Marcus Kruger both scored on loose pucks in front of the Detroit net. Yet both had a playoff look to them—taking advantage of opportunities—and both were the product of the Hawks' overall intensity, as they clearly took the fight to the Wings.

So was Kane trying to make up for the loss of captain Jonathan Toews, out with an unspecified upper-body injury? (Toews was obviously at less than full strength in their previous win Sunday against the Saint Louis Blues, and it's significant to miss a key game against the Hawks' archrival and the top team in the NHL.) Or was it perhaps in response to the trade talk generated by a Sunday New York Times piece suggesting Kane could be dangled in a trade for a marquee goaltender?

That trade rumor was spread by none other than former Hawks star Jeremy Roenick. If it goosed Kane, it also likely had the same effect on goalie Corey Crawford, the one true star of the victory over the Wings in what has to be considered the second straight "goalie win" (coach Joel Quenneville's phrase) for the Hawks.

Otherwise, there's nothing to be gained here from trade rumors. Their recent nine-game skid aside, the Hawks have the talent to compete for the Stanley Cup, and were atop the NHL standings only last month. A hot goalie like Crawford and a rededicated Kane are just about all the Hawks need to regain their elite status (as they already have with their four-game win streak, if not yet in the actual standings); although a healthy Toews and Niklas Hjalmarsson would be nice, and nobody would turn away another steady defenseman.

Still, Monday's approaching trade deadline found even the Tribune's David Haugh getting into the trade speculation, suggesting Hayes could be dangled as bait. Haugh quickly and judiciously backed off that—but why not toss in Kruger as well, or scrappy Andrew Shaw or impressive new defenseman Dylan Olsen (currently being shepherded by Duncan Keith)?

The better question is why? Why panic? General manager Stan Bowman will make the ultimate decision, but he seems to be sitting on a sterling group that is just beginning to come together. Maybe the uncertainty of the trade deadline is providing a sense of urgency, but if it reminds the Hawks of what their true abilities are, it will have served its purpose even if the team stands pat.

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