Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said he just got the new collective-bargaining agreement Saturday and would need a few days to study it before identifying the biggest changes.
“We haven’t been able to dive into every little detail,” Bowman said. “We certainly know the significant things that have changed. For the most part it’s a similar CBA to the old one, with a few new wrinkles. We’ll spend our time making sure we know it inside out.”
The salary cap this season is a prorated $70.2 million. Next season it falls to $64.3 million, which could leave some teams scrambling to get under it.
Bowman doesn’t believe the Hawks will have a problem.
“The good news for us is we have a lot of young players that are on the doorstep, if they’re not here already,” Bowman said. “They’re going to be significant players either this year or next year.
“We have some who are turning pro at the end of this year, guys like (Mark) McNeill and (Phillip) Danault — all those young players have low salaries and they’re not even on this team yet.
“The bulk of our players up front are signed beyond this year, so their numbers will stay constant. There are a few guys up at the end of the year, but we don’t have a large number of guys that are going to get big increases or we don’t have a lot of spots to fill that we wouldn’t use to promote from within with our players either in Rockford and juniors.
“I think it positions us very well going forward.”
One key change to the CBA is that a player with a large salary sent to the minors, such as Rostislav Olesz, will have the bulk of his salary (everything over $900,000) count against the cap.
Last season the Hawks sent Olesz and his $3.1 million salary to Rockford, where it didn’t count against the cap.
Joel Quenneville isn’t sure how many games goalies Corey Crawford and Ray Emery will play in the shortened season.
“Their play will dictate how much they’re playing,” Quenneville said. “We’ll get them their proper rest, but the busy stretches there, I’m sure we’ll see both of them in back-to-back games.”
Is Quenneville going to be able to play the hot hand?
“Well, you know, a lot of the decisions come with if they’re playing well,” Quenneville said. “The next game is you’re playing to win that game and if you feel like they’re ready to go, I don’t think you want to get in the way of that.”
Crawford said he has not had a discussion with Quenneville about how many games he might start. “I have no clue,” he said.
Marcus Kruger sat out Monday’s practice with the flu and is doubtful for Tuesday. The Hawks are taking precautions to keep the flu bug out of their dressing room.
“It can cause major disruptions to your team,” Joel Quenneville said. “We’re aware of how bad it is this year, so we’ll make sure in a 48-game season that we’re on top of it.”
The new guys:
So far Joel Quenneville likes what he has seen of new defensemen Sheldon Brookbank and Michal Rozsival.
“I like both of them, and just watching them both here in practice we feel they can really help our team just having some predictability on the back end and some experience and size,” Quenneville said.
“I like their positioning. I really like how they handle a lot of situations.
“You can never have enough defensemen.”
It will be interesting to see where rookie winger Brandon Saad starts the season.
“His potential’s huge,” Joel Quenneville said. “In Rockford, watching him play, he’s had some stretches where he was great and had some stretches where he was just OK. He’s coming off an outstanding weekend, and he won (AHL) player of the week.
“He’s capable of playing at our level and being a good player at our level.
“We’ll see right now, whether it’s numbers or opportunity. But we certainly think that he can definitely play and play with top guys.”
Winger Jimmy Hayes was recalled from Rockford following Monday’s practice. … Joel Quenneville said there is room for Viktor Stalberg on the power play. “He will definitely get a chance,” Quenneville said. … New assistant coach Jamie Kompon will head the power play, according to Quenneville.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.