Blackhawks' Bowman in sweet spot for deadline
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With the NHL trade deadline two weeks away, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has to be careful not to upset the team chemistry in the locker room or on the ice.
And just like that, we're about two weeks away from the NHL trade deadline.
Do you know where your team is?
In Chicago, it's not hard to find. The Blackhawks remain atop the NHL standings and are on a roll again following a couple days off, courtesy of head coach Joel Quenneville.
The Hawks would seem to need very little right now, with terrific depth on defense, two strong goaltenders and talent throughout the forward lines.
"If we can get better, I'm interested," Hawks general manager Stan Bowman told reporters in Dallas before the Hawks pounded the Stars. "We have a good thing going here. I'd like to add to the mix as opposed to trade players away."
Bowman's in an interesting spot. The Hawks could always use more size, as the game will become much more physical in the postseason, something that's been an issue the last two years.
But this team has great chemistry and has come together in such a way that Bowman has to be careful not to upset the balance in the locker room, or on the ice.
"You have to give the guys credit as well as acknowledge that there's a good thing going with the group we have here," Bowman said. "If we don't end up making a trade, I'd be comfortable with the group we have."
An experienced center, one particularly adept at winning faceoffs, couldn't hurt as the Hawks think about a long playoff run, and Bowman admitted he might shop for depth in the middle as insurance against injuries.
"Even with that, those guys have played pretty well," Bowman said. "Marcus (Kruger) and (Andrew) Shaw have proved they're legit players and they can handle the responsibility. So there's really not one glaring area (in need) of improvement."
Bowman has managed the cap brilliantly, while building depth through trades and the draft. The Hawks have several kids they could use for bait while subtracting nothing off the roster, and more prospects on the way.
What Bowman has to weigh is encroaching on next year's cap space against knowing the Hawks are favored to win it all, and he shouldn't pass on a player who might be the final piece of the puzzle.
Any way you slice it, the Hawks are in a great position. If they do nothing, they're still the best team in hockey. If they add a significant piece, all the better for a physically brutal postseason run.
Deadline fever? Not quite. But it's worth keeping an eye on.
With the compressed season, shortened schedule and early deadline, teams will have a tough time deciding when to pull the plug. At this point, there's probably only four or five teams in the entire league that would admit they're out of it.
"Everyone else is trying to decide, 'Do I want to trade or do I want to acquire?' It's probably going to come right down to the end, like it always does, before teams decide they're looking to the future," Bowman said. "I've had tons of conversations, but nothing's even close."
Applaud Brent Seabrook for defending himself Saturday, but the Hawks don't need him in any more scraps, especially considering his history of head injuries.
He caught one on the chin from Antoine Roussel early in Saturday's bout and was out of it from there. Seabrook came back and appeared to be fine, but it's not worth the risk and he's not a guy who has to prove his toughness.
Big Ten tourney
After watching game after game of close finishes, terrific coaching and great play over the weekend at the Big Ten tourney, the NCAAs can't possibly be as good, right?
By the way
I already hate my bracket.
No one else cares about your bracket, just like they don't care about your fantasy team or what sport you played in high school.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on never wanting to win 20 games in a row again: "When you win that many games in a row, you're very likely going to lose up to three games when that thing is done. It's just such a letdown. And in the playoffs you can't afford that."
From @TheFakeESPN: "Elvis Dumervil fires agent, lets him know via phone call, email, regular mail, text, IM, billboard, TV commercial and airplane banner."
Is Devin Hester still here?
And finally …
S.F. Chronicle's Scott Ostler: "Rory McIlroy has struggled since inking to swing Nike clubs and said recently, 'It doesn't make a difference what deal or what clubs I play.' There's your new slogan, Nike."
•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM, and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.
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