Stan Bowman’s on lookout, but no deal is in works
By Adam L. Jahns firstname.lastname@example.org November 18, 2011 11:24PM
Calgary Flames forward Paul Byron (left) collides with Blackhawks defenseman Sami Lepisto in the first period Friday night. | Mike Ridewood~Getty Images
Updated: December 20, 2011 8:10AM
CALGARY, Alberta — With Rostislav Olesz and his $3 million-plus cap hit in the minors, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman will have $6 million to $7 million at his disposal to improve his team, if needed.
“Give or take,” Bowman said of the amount.
The NHL’s never-ending rumor mill already was churning Friday, but don’t expect anything soon. There’s no reason to make changes to a team that leads the NHL in points.
“We’re not in a rush to spend money,” Bowman said before the Hawks played the Calgary Flames. “It’s a bit of an oddity for us. In the last couple of years, we’ve been so tight against [the salary cap].”
The Hawks won’t hesitate to make moves later in the season, especially when the trade deadline approaches and with injuries to take into account. Bowman said they’re monitoring players who might become available, but “nobody is giving up on their season yet.”
“We don’t have anything that we’re close to doing or looking at,” said Bowman, who’ll stick with a 23-man roster. “We’re always looking ahead at what might be there, but we’ll see what happens.
“Right now, we’re not looking to do anything in particular. We’re happy with the players that we have, as well as the start that our top guys have gotten off to.”
Bowman still said he’s doing what he can to field the best team, which just means sending down the underachieving Olesz and recalling Ben Smith. Smith figured to have a spot on the Hawks but was derailed by a concussion in the preseason. The organization has no problems with paying Olesz more than $3 million to play with the Rockford IceHogs.
“We were hoping that we would be able to get more out of [Olesz],” Bowman said. “He had some opportunities, but we were looking for more from that role. . . . We’re optimistic Ben is going to be able to provide some of that for us.”
On the mend
Michael Frolik sat out against the Flames after injuring his shoulder against the Vancouver Canucks.
“It’s sore, and I can’t really be strong, so we’ll see with an extra day,” Frolik said. “Hopefully, it’ll be all right.”
Frolik injured his shoulder when he tumbled hard into the boards.
“I tried to hold up, but I was at full speed, and I couldn’t,” he said. “I just tried to slow myself, but I hit the boards, and my stick got stuck a little bit. My stick hit me. It kind of hurt.”
Defenseman Brent Seabrook sat out against the Flames and is doubtful for the game Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers. The Hawks hope to have him back for the California portion of their road trip.