Trying to capture the spirit of the thing that was either the Blackhawks’ 2013-14 postmortem or the 2014-15 pregame show, pick one:
1. Maybe Stan Bowman is telling the truth, or maybe he’s lying.
“I don’t think we’re going to have wholesale changes,’’ the Blackhawks' general manager said Tuesday. “That’s certainly not warranted.’’
Until, of course, Bowman makes wholesale changes.
Again, Bowman might be telling the truth, or he might not be. His actions will be the truth, not his words.
I don’t expect the truth, frankly, because telling the truth is not his job. Putting together a Stanley Cup champion is.
Bowman was hardly truthful about how many changes he was going to make after the Hawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, even as he made more changes. Truth is, Bowman had to lie. He had to retain as much leverage as possible while trying to trade away half his roster.
Same deal this season. I expect him to keep all the public leverage he can.
But he knows his team wasn’t good enough. His team isn’t playing for the Stanley Cup anymore. The Kings walked into the United Center and walked out with the Hawks’ berth in the Stanley Cup Final.
That’s not the plan. You can yammer on about how great the Western Conference finals were and how it turned on a crazy bounce, but the Hawks got some lucky bounces themselves, and in the end, they were eliminated, and that’s not acceptable. Bowman has to make changes.
If Bowman cares about the truth at all, then “wholesale’’ is the wiggle room he allowed himself.
For instance, is trading Brent Seabrook a “wholesale change’’? Is trading Patrick Sharp a “wholesale change”?
Trading them together, yeah, that’s a wholesale change because they’re part of the Hawks’ core that has been central in winning two Cups in the last five seasons.
But dealing one of them for, say, a No. 2 center isn’t necessarily a wholesale change, and really, who cares whom he trades if it makes the team better?
That’s the only thing Bowman owes anybody.
2. Bowman said signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to extensions is the "highest priority."
“Looking at next year, there’s no doubt that’s what we’re going to do,’’ Bowman said. “I’ve made it clear. We’ve never wavered from that. There’s no doubting the importance of those two players. The direction this franchise has taken has really been in tandem with those two players. When Patrick and Jonathan came on to the scene, it really sort of breathed life into our franchise and into our team.’’
Signing your best players seems like a gimme, but it wasn’t always that way with the Wirtz family, was it, Jeremy Roenick?
In 1996, “Billfold” Wirtz and Bob Pulford, the exchequer of the penurious fiefdom, refused to pay their best offensive player as he headed toward free agency. St. Louis offered Brett Hull in a deal. The Hawks traded Roenick to the Coyotes for Alex Zhamnov and two cacti.
Attention, new Hawks fans: This is how idiotic the franchise could be, right from decimal point on the top of Billfold Wirtz’s head.