Stan Bowman is lying, right? Blackhawks fans had better hope so.
It’s pretty much the job of general managers to lie. Lying helps maintain leverage and creates cover for pursuing trades. Sometimes it’s a GM’s only option, and Bowman has shown expertise at it.
Take the summer of 2010, for instance. About 10 minutes after Patrick Kane shot that puck through Michael Leighton’s legs and into legend, Bowman had to restructure the Hawks’ bloated payroll. This would require some regular lying.
Bowman said his trade of Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel and Ben Eager to Atlanta was enough to get under the salary cap and he was done ripping apart his championship team. That was the indication. That had to be the indication so Bowman could then rip apart more of his team. Say goodbye, Andrew Ladd and Kris Versteeg.
In today’s case challenging Bowman’s veracity, Patrick Sharp is on the block.
According to his agent, Rick Curran, Bowman said Sharp is not available the way hockey analyst Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet in Canada claimed.
"A complete fabrication,'' Curran said, but he apparently didn’t say it that matter-of-factly. He apaprently didn’t say it with Bowman’s standard undertaker tone. Nope, according to Our Guy Chris Kuc’s story, Curran was angry and loud.
"I had met with Stan about six or seven days earlier and I knew there was absolutely no truth to anyone suggesting that in spite of whatever negotiations were going on on behalf of (Jonathan) Toews and (Patrick) Kane that Patrick Sharp was available for trade, because he’s not,'' Curran said. "Then when Kypreos said it, knowing that it wasn’t true. I just got really pissed off. There’s no way a guy should say it with such certainty when it’s absolutely not true. So I called Stan, because I recognize that things can change, and said, 'Is there any change?' And he said, 'Absolutely not.'''
"There is no way this guy should get away with saying what he said and have Patrick and his family have to suffer the consequences of an absolutely irresponsible remark.''
Curran went on and on about his client and how Bowman has consistently said Sharp is not available, and here’s the deal: Hawks fans should hope Bowman is lying to Curran.
Sharp has to be available in trade. Sharp and Brent Seabrook and Johnny Oduya and everybody right up to Toews and Kane. The idea is to make the team better. Make it Stanley Cup caliber again. It obviously isn’t at that level because the Kings ripped the Hawks trophy out of their arms and hearts in their own rink.
Now, I don’t expect Bowman to carry on much of a conversation about dealing Toews or Kane because I don’t expect another team to offer enough value that forces Bowman to make that deal. Instead, I expect Bowman to announce the Hawks have re-signed the goal-dust twins.
I also don’t expect Bowman to have much patience for someone looking to acquire Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith. But after that, who’s on Lines 1, 2 and 3 and what are they offering?
And that includes wingers who lead the team in goals and points in the regular-season scoring while going through painful droughts in the more critical postseason and who will turn 33 next December.
It doesn’t matter that Sharp is an alternate captain. It matters that he might be more valuable to the Hawks in trade. There’s nothing screaming “untouchable’’ to me.
But if Curran is telling the truth, if Bowman isn’t offering Sharp around the league in advance of this weekend’s draft, then Bowman isn’t doing his job.
In fact, it would be a dereliction of Bowman’s duty. Bowman would be creating an obstacle to improving a team that lost it’s championship reign because it lost lead after lead after lead in the Western Conference Finals, including three leads in the seventh game, one of which was a two-goal advantage.
That’s not the way a championship team reacts. That’s why this Hawks team has to be changed, perhaps significantly in terms of big names among the top six forwards and/or the top four defensemen. That means Sharp is available. He should be. Please tell me Bowman is lying.