Here’s the deal: Time is running out
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org February 25, 2012 11:30PM
Hawks winger Patrick Kane gets off a shot Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings. | Evan Gole~Getty Images
Updated: March 27, 2012 8:29AM
LOS ANGELES — There isn’t much time left for Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman. He has until 2 p.m. Monday to make a trade to improve his team, which has dropped in the standings after a strong start.
Bowman made the trip with the Hawks to California, but things have remained relatively quiet on their trade front while other moves have been made around the league. Bowman continues to talk to other teams daily.
The Los Angeles Kings have completed the only blockbuster so far, acquiring center Jeff Carter and his lucrative, long-term deal from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for top-two defenseman Jack Johnson and a first-round pick. Carter made his Kings debut Saturday against the Hawks.
“With big deals or other deals, everybody realizes that change is part of our business, and it can affect players different ways,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “But as a team, usually it’s a response in a positive way [that] you’re looking for. [But] everybody has got their own needs that they have to worry about.”
The Hawks need depth up front, preferably a center, and a defenseman, which Bowman has been looking to add for weeks. Other Western Conference teams in the playoff race — the Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, Nashville Predators and Phoenix Coyotes — have made additions.
By putting defenseman Keith Ballard on long-term injured reserve, the Vancouver Canucks also look ready to make a significant deal by clearing Ballard’s substantial cap hit. Quenneville said that as of Saturday the Hawks have not discussed putting injured defenseman Steve Montador on LTIR (injuries that sideline a player for a minimum of 24 days and 10 games). Montador, who will miss his 10th game Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks, has a $2.75 million cap hit.
“[Bowman has] been working on it for some time now,” Quenneville said of trades. “We’re down to a couple of days here. Hopefully, we can add somebody who can help our team.”
If the Hawks make a deal, there only will be 18 games for players to adjust and find chemistry.
“Every guy is different,” Quenneville said. “Every situation is coming to a different team as far as the role and job descriptions. Some guys get a lot more than others. The [fitting] in there, it doesn’t take too along.”
Duncan Keith and rookie defenseman Dylan Olsen remained paired together. Quenneville said he didn’t envision putting Olsen to the right of Keith when Olsen was recalled after Niklas Hjalmarsson and Montador were injured Feb. 7 in Colorado. But he called it a nice pair.
“For a young guy to be called up, he’s been really good,” said Keith, who also guided 20-year-old Nick Leddy last season as his blue-line partner. “Being a left-handed shot playing the right side can be difficult as far as some of your angles and getting blindsided, but he’s been pretty good at it. It’s a tough side to play I find, and he’s been good. We talk a lot out there. I think the communication has been pretty good between us.”