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Forums :: Blog World :: Justin Lowe: Hold the Phone
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Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

Nov 2 @ 10:18 AM ET
Justin Lowe: Hold the Phone
After a better than expected start to the season, the Blackhawks have stumbled. After last night’s poor performance, a 4-0 loss to Edmonton, the Hawks fall to 6-5-3 which is good for 5th in the Central.

This start is eerily similar to the Hawks of 2017-18 last year. They exploded with a 10-1 win over Pittsburgh opening night which was followed by some strong wins. However, by November 1st they had an average record of 6-5-2. They also had a losing skid of 5 L’s in 6 games from October 18th to the 28th. They’re heading down that same path.
67hawks
Joined: 08.30.2012

Nov 2 @ 10:26 AM ET
Duclair (Columbus) -8 points
Hartman (Nashville) -7 points
Both would be in the top 6 in Hawks stats.

Replaced by aging Kunitz -2 points
Nice asset management. No wonder this team is struggling!
I Am The Breadman
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Richton Park, IL
Joined: 09.16.2018

Nov 2 @ 10:28 AM ET
Justin Lowe: Hold the Phone

After a better than expected start to the season, the Blackhawks have stumbled. After last night’s poor performance, a 4-0 loss to Edmonton, the Hawks fall to 6-5-3 which is good for 5th in the Central.

This start is eerily similar to the Hawks of 2017-18 last year. They exploded with a 10-1 win over Pittsburgh opening night which was followed by some strong wins. However, by November 1st they had an average record of 6-5-2. They also had a losing skid of 5 L’s in 6 games from October 18th to the 28th. They’re heading down that same path.

- Justin Lowe


This season is quickly turning sour. I only have some thoughts to some of your questions.

1. Schmaltz did need a message sent, but most nights, he isn't the only one that needs it. I'm uncertain about his future. I think it is with the hawks, but bridge or long term ... I'm thinking it will be bridge.

2. I see Bowman, Wirtz, or whoever making coaching changes, it's happened with Kitchen, and I can see it happening again. On Bowman and Q ... I couldn't guess who goes when. Maybe the hammer goes down by Christmas like you say.

3. PP really needs to change, passing and the players sent out there. This perimeter play is bad, the guys on NBC Sports Chicago say the pkers respect the shooters, but if you don't shoot, you are kept on the outside, they read the pass and steal and breakaway. Sharp said that's what makes 1-3-1 so dangerous, you give up breakaway chances.

Please beat the Flames ....
TommyHawk
Chicago Blackhawks
Joined: 05.23.2013

Nov 2 @ 10:29 AM ET
Kruger, Kunitz, Manning, and Rutta account for a combined $8.325 of wasted cap space. Not sure WTF Stan was thinking this offseason, but it irritated me then and it irritates me now how he’s got one foot in the water and one foot out.

Pick a lane and stick in it. This team as constructed is obviously not good enough, so make some decisions now before you clean out your office before Christmas.
hereismike1
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: IL
Joined: 09.06.2018

Nov 2 @ 10:33 AM ET
Well said. I would punt Stan and not look back. Maybe kick him upstairs so as not to rile Scotty, the only source of good hockey information this organization has coming from the Bowmans.

Get someone who can work with Q or at least try to not to waste the final years of Toews and Kane and Keith.

Try to sign Schmaltz around Christmas to a bridge deal. Even if he rebounds between now and then his numbers will be depressed. Make a good value signing for once. I guess to do that someone other than Stan will have to negotiate.
Z3Hawk
Chicago Blackhawks
Joined: 05.04.2017

Nov 2 @ 10:39 AM ET
Holy crap! The dreaded white jersey for Schmaltz. I still like the third line, but wow. I'm actually surprised Rutta isn't getting playing time.
- I Am The Breadman


Rutta is not getting playing time because he has no idea what an NHL D-Man is supposed to do. Rutta is awful. That StanBo gave him a big contract, based on poor play, was ridiculous. StanBo’s most recent moves have all been indefensible. Also gave Gus a chunk of money although for some reason much less than Rutta - also a waste of money as Gus cannot play defence.

Manning a total waste of money - should have been a huge red flag that Philly wouldn’t resign him for basically the same money as his expiring contract - they knew something. Kunitz - whew. Whatever TB did that got him 13 goals last year should be documented/bottled. However, again TB knew something by season’s end as Kunitz is barely a player now. TB didn’t want him back. Kunitz may never score with the Hawks. We had a younger Sharp who loved the Hawks, could still skate and score, and could teach and Q treated him like garbage - with no respect - last season and he just retired. Then we get a 40 year-old Kunitz for no reason and Q just keeps trotting him and his zero goals out there. Kunitz is just blocking young forwards at this point.

What do you say about Ward? All I know is that in many of his starts he seems to give up a LOT of goals. Didn’t think he was the answer - he is a waste of money. Craziest component is StanBo seems to have given him an NMC which is insane! Especially so when the team has Forsberg, even Delia if he continues to develop. Again a huge red flag as Hurricanes couldn’t get rid of him fast enough.

Not like StanBo has not been spending money, as these contracts add up. However, not one actual impactful player who makes the Hawks better. Total waste of money ignoring accepted thinking and huge red flags.
riozzo
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Cornwallis Island
Joined: 06.17.2014

Nov 2 @ 10:39 AM ET
This team is so bad I considered flipping to political commercials, as there is less lying than what we were led to believe...
I Am The Breadman
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Richton Park, IL
Joined: 09.16.2018

Nov 2 @ 10:46 AM ET
Holy crap! The dreaded white jersey for Schmaltz. I still like the third line, but wow. I'm actually surprised Rutta isn't getting playing time.
- I Am The Breadman


Rutta is not getting playing time because he has no idea what an NHL D-Man is supposed to do. Rutta is awful. That StanBo gave him a big contract, based on poor play, was ridiculous. StanBo’s most recent moves have all been indefensible. Also gave Gus a chunk of money although for some reason much less than Rutta - also a waste of money as Gus cannot play defence.

Manning a total waste of money - should have been a huge red flag that Philly wouldn’t resign him for basically the same money as his expiring contract - they knew something. Kunitz - whew. Whatever TB did that got him 13 goals last year should be documented/bottled. However, again TB knew something by season’s end as Kunitz is barely a player now. TB didn’t want him back. Kunitz may never score with the Hawks. We had a younger Sharp who loved the Hawks, could still skate and score, and could teach and Q treated him like garbage - with no respect - last season and he just retired. Then we get a 40 year-old Kunitz for no reason and Q just keeps trotting him and his zero goals out there. Kunitz is just blocking young forwards at this point.

What do you say about Ward? All I know is that in many of his starts he seems to give up a LOT of goals. Didn’t think he was the answer - he is a waste of money. Craziest component is StanBo seems to have given him an NMC which is insane! Especially so when the team has Forsberg, even Delia if he continues to develop. Again a huge red flag as Hurricanes couldn’t get rid of him fast enough.

Not like StanBo has not been spending money, as these contracts add up. However, not one actual impactful player who makes the Hawks better. Total waste of money ignoring accepted thinking and huge red flags.

- Z3Hawk


I agree with what you on most of what you say, but Ward is the only signing I'm okay with. Not the nmc or the aav, but I'm okay with him. He's not horrendous, and he can only last so long with a piss-poor team playing in front of him. Same with Crow. I wonder if this season, and the front office planned it/okayed it, but get a bunch of placeholders in a garbage season. The season(s) following will be better with more help on the way. Also, Delia has been playing well. I won't write him off just yet.
gazza53
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Northbrook, IL
Joined: 09.15.2017

Nov 2 @ 11:05 AM ET
The Hawks lack heart and grit and until they find
that it's time to buckle up for the ride to the bottom

McD, Stan, Q, all need to go

Give me some of this

https://www.sportsnet.ca/...pect-game-altering-brawl/
kwolf68
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Mt. Lebanon, PA
Joined: 12.18.2010

Nov 2 @ 11:12 AM ET

Pretty much. Not shocked, continual bungling from the GM has finally taken its toll. His bungles didn't matter as much in the past (Kimo, Runblad, etc) because there was enough talent there (largely gifted to him by previous parties) to make up for the stupid poop he did.
CTblackhawkfan
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Hamden, CT
Joined: 06.14.2013

Nov 2 @ 11:17 AM ET
What I can't understand was the rush to give Ruttu his contract before season ended
Why give Gus 2 years? Why give Manning 2 years, Chris K signing head scratcher ?
They won't say rebuild but that's where we are.
We are hand tied with Seabrook's contract 4 more seasons?
I don't want to squeak into playoffs , I want to win Stanley cups!
Maybe we don't do anything until Feb and at trade deadline hard decisions have to be made i.e. Crow , Keith ?

It looks like we have drafted some good skating defensemen but they need time to develop and are 2 to 3 years away?

Sometimes taking a step back to take 2 steps forward, I can live with a rebuild but not Chris Kunitz was signed for leadership!!! I call BS
Great job JL
DarthKane
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: I love sarcasm.
Joined: 02.23.2012

Nov 2 @ 11:18 AM ET
"3) I was quite underwhelmed by Stan Bowman’s decisions this offseason. Let’s take a quick look at through 14 games, Ward (good – that signing made sense), Manning (not good), Kunitz (not good), Davidson (not good). Not looking good for Stan. "


There was also Kahun, whom I would say was a decent addition. Not spectacular, but not bad either.

I wonder how much the Manning and Davidson signings were driven by the injuries to Murphy and Forsling. Was Stan reluctant to make a bigger move knowing those guys would be back (eventually)?

I still think Stan needs to make some moves. Even if the Hawks were playing better some of the same moves would be required. In the near term, Forsling should replace one of Manning or Davidson and Sikura should replace Hayden or Martinsen. In the long term Murphy will replace either Manning or Davidson (whomever is left) and I think the Hawks still need another d-man. They also need to improve the bottom 6. Even though he was scratched I'd move Schmaltz back up to the top 6 and add (likely via trade) 2 bottom 6 forwards.
nickmo2699
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: IL
Joined: 01.06.2012

Nov 2 @ 11:19 AM ET
I'd say it's 50/50 Stan or Q and right now, how could you fault Q when he has to roll out failed draft pick after draft pick and a top heavy roster every night. Salary cap, drafting, building is the job of the GM not of the Head Coach.

Now does Q have some input? YES of course, but not to the extent that the roster looks this way. Kempny was on Q but at the same time, you cant look at players in other systems and say that is necessarily on Q. Head coaches have their systems and they make adjustments here and there. But sometimes players are unwilling to do things differently. Stan is solely responsible for what we see today.
DarthKane
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: I love sarcasm.
Joined: 02.23.2012

Nov 2 @ 11:21 AM ET
What I can't understand was the rush to give Ruttu his contract before season ended
Why give Gus 2 years? Why give Manning 2 years, Chris K signing head scratcher ?
They won't say rebuild but that's where we are.
We are hand tied with Seabrook's contract 4 more seasons?
I don't want to squeak into playoffs , I want to win Stanley cups!
Maybe we don't do anything until Feb and at trade deadline hard decisions have to be made i.e. Crow , Keith ?

It looks like we have drafted some good skating defensemen but they need time to develop and are 2 to 3 years away?

Sometimes taking a step back to take 2 steps forward, I can live with a rebuild but not Chris Kunitz was signed for leadership!!! I call BS
Great job JL

- CTblackhawkfan


I don't mind Gustafsson's deal. He's not perfect but $1.2 million is manageable and doesn't impact the Hawks' ability to make another move. Plus the contract is very tradable to the right team. Manning, Davidson and Rutta can all go as far as I'm concerned.

I'm not worried about Seabrook, he's much improved over last season and he's not the issue this year.
EbonyRaptor
Joined: 03.28.2013

Nov 2 @ 11:25 AM ET
This team is so bad I considered flipping to political commercials, as there is less lying than what we were led to believe...
- riozzo


Now that's funny

I don't care which "side of the aisle" you're on - those political commercials are gag-worthy. I keep the mute button handy for those commercial breaks in the Hawks game.
DarthKane
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: I love sarcasm.
Joined: 02.23.2012

Nov 2 @ 11:25 AM ET


Garn.
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Nellie Lake, ON
Joined: 06.11.2011

Nov 2 @ 11:25 AM ET
Schmaltz is a role player and not a saviour game winning goal scorer night after night. He's solid - he's not the problem. But Stan could give him an 8 year 7 mil per contract - why not? It would fit into Stan's pattern of moves over the years.

What would you do?
Your entire article highlighted how Stan's decisions were "not good". Did you not answer your own question? Or do you want the fold to say it for you.

StLBravesFan
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: IL
Joined: 07.03.2011

Nov 2 @ 11:25 AM ET
Players other than Kane, Toews and AdB have scored a total of 17 goals in 14 games. That includes 3 by Saad.

That may be common in today’s NHL, but it’s not a good balance for long term success. You can’t count on the Big Three scoring 2+ goals per game.

Is that on Q? Stan? Are the players in the “bottom” 15 skating spots every night capable of collectively scoring more than one per game?

Ward: in 8 games, he’s allowed less than three only once - and four or more five times. Save % of .887. Not his fault? Leaky defense from the five in front of him? OK - but - he’s the last line of defense - and that line seems to have holes in it.

Schmaltz - lot s skills, talent, potential - speed, quickness, good hands - and still only 22. They gave up on DuClair and Hartman - too soon? Too soon for sure on Schmaltz, I think.

bhawks2241
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Chicago, IL
Joined: 09.17.2013

Nov 2 @ 11:32 AM ET
Players other than Kane, Toews and AdB have scored a total of 17 goals in 14 games. That includes 3 by Saad.

That may be common in today’s NHL, but it’s not a good balance for long term success. You can’t count on the Big Three scoring 2+ goals per game.

Is that on Q? Stan? Are the players in the “bottom” 15 skating spots every night capable of collectively scoring more than one per game?

Ward: in 8 games, he’s allowed less than three only once - and four or more five times. Save % of .887. Not his fault? Leaky defense from the five in front of him? OK - but - he’s the last line of defense - and that line seems to have holes in it.

Schmaltz - lot s skills, talent, potential - speed, quickness, good hands - and still only 22. They gave up on DuClair and Hartman - too soon? Too soon for sure on Schmaltz, I think.

- StLBravesFan



Agreed. Management can't give up on Schmaltz but also can't him a long 6 mil per contract.

For all the Schmaltz bashing on here today have posters not watched the last few games bc Toews has been atrocious. Several terrible turnovers that led directly to goals and his hot scoring start has certainly tailed off.

This team looked good bc he was playing like one of the top 5 forwards in the NHL. No surprise he cooled off and so did the team.
nickmo2699
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: IL
Joined: 01.06.2012

Nov 2 @ 11:33 AM ET
Agreed. Management can't give up on Schmaltz but also can't him a long 6 mil per contract.

For all the Schmaltz bashing on here today have posters not watched the last few games bc Toews has been atrocious. Several terrible turnovers that led directly to goals and his hot scoring start has certainly tailed off.

This team looked good bc he was playing like one of the top 5 forwards in the NHL. No surprise he cooled off and so did the team.

- bhawks2241


Water always finds its level
I Am The Breadman
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Richton Park, IL
Joined: 09.16.2018

Nov 2 @ 11:35 AM ET


- DarthKane


Thanks for the info. He and Bowman seem to be on good terms, and I imagine he'll have a contract. Rockford or nhl backup, time will tell.

2 other points you brought up. Stan reluctant to make a big trade to improve d. Saad-Faulk. I have hindsight, but I didn't want to see it. Maybe reconsider that avenue?
Also, you said the Brandon's and Rutta can all go, "maybe" even Gus. Ditching all at once/ahl demotion (not saying you said 1 over the other, or are in favor of ditching all at once) but which should be traded to garner the best return?
EbonyRaptor
Joined: 03.28.2013

Nov 2 @ 11:36 AM ET
Sometimes extenuating circumstances play a key role and the uncertainty of Crawford's ability to come back and be a top goalie surely would have played a key role in the direction taken by the Hawks front office this summer. But, instead of taking a decisive move, one way or the other, they took a middle of the road approach which was not the right move if they wanted to go "all in" to win this year, nor was it the right move if they wanted to go "all in" on starting a rebuild with the objective to be better positioned to win in the next couple years. This indecisive middle of the road stuff results in middle of the road teams - which is all the Hawks can aspire to at this point. This is a year that will not be fully utilized to go in one direction or the other and another year closer to Toews and Kane falling out of elite status.
Chunk
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Orange, CA
Joined: 11.06.2015

Nov 2 @ 11:41 AM ET
"3) I was quite underwhelmed by Stan Bowman’s decisions this offseason. Let’s take a quick look at through 14 games, Ward (good – that signing made sense), Manning (not good), Kunitz (not good), Davidson (not good). Not looking good for Stan. "


There was also Kahun, whom I would say was a decent addition. Not spectacular, but not bad either.

I wonder how much the Manning and Davidson signings were driven by the injuries to Murphy and Forsling. Was Stan reluctant to make a bigger move knowing those guys would be back (eventually)?

I still think Stan needs to make some moves. Even if the Hawks were playing better some of the same moves would be required. In the near term, Forsling should replace one of Manning or Davidson and Sikura should replace Hayden or Martinsen. In the long term Murphy will replace either Manning or Davidson (whomever is left) and I think the Hawks still need another d-man. They also need to improve the bottom 6. Even though he was scratched I'd move Schmaltz back up to the top 6 and add (likely via trade) 2 bottom 6 forwards.

- DarthKane


The part that irritates me the most about these two signings, is what have they shown that is notably better than guys like Hillman, Dahlstrom, etc. Signing these two (especially for the money Manning got) just made a crowded situation more so.

I've been on the fence about Q for a while, as I don't see any significant changes, but I don't know who else would be much better. Right now (yes it is very convenient), I would say you move him out. I agree that there aren't many great pieces here aside from a select few.

With what you have seen now for the past three years, to continually push the same concept is silly. If you are giving up 5-6 (conservatively) odd man rushes per game, change something. "We need to be better in the puck area". You also need you d-men to work together and quit pinching when there is little to no upside to it. I know it would be less entertaining to watch, but teams have been competitive for years concentrating on D and pouncing on mistakes.


walleyeb1
Chicago Blackhawks
Joined: 09.25.2014

Nov 2 @ 11:45 AM ET
1. On Schmaltz, I’d defer any decision until later. Rocky needs to tell McD to put a hold on everything. I wouldn’t allow Bowman to make any moves or decision at this point.

2. On the power play, it’s too bad we don’t have the option to simply decline them. Seriously though, I wouldn’t think about making any coaching changes as far as assistant coaching staff in terms of hiring or firing. Besides taking Keith off the power play not sure what can be done to fix it.

3. Stan simply needs to go, not sure as to how timing of this needs to be approached. In the meantime as mentioned earlier he should immediately be stripped of all decision making authority.

4. This is where it gets trickier, but I’d fire Bowman and Q simultaneously. I’d probably let Dineen be a placeholder and keep the assistant coaching staff as is until a new GM is hired.

5. I’m not expecting much of a different outcome in Calgary. I’m generally lowering expectations, that way if something good happens it’ll be a pleasant surprise.
I Am The Breadman
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Richton Park, IL
Joined: 09.16.2018

Nov 2 @ 11:46 AM ET
Agreed. Management can't give up on Schmaltz but also can't him a long 6 mil per contract.

For all the Schmaltz bashing on here today have posters not watched the last few games bc Toews has been atrocious. Several terrible turnovers that led directly to goals and his hot scoring start has certainly tailed off.

This team looked good bc he was playing like one of the top 5 forwards in the NHL. No surprise he cooled off and so did the team.

- bhawks2241


Agree, from where Schmaltz left off last year and where/how he is playing now in a contract year ... the right balance needs to be struck on his contract. It's too soon to give up on him. Hopefully, the message is just what he needed. He did well after the stint in Rockford.

Toews has been suspect with his recent play. He still drives a good line, but he isnt free from critiques. I like Kahun, but he needs off that line, to me it was just 19 and 12. Even that can be scrutinized over.
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