Blackhawks also have eye on Leddy, future
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The Blackhawks need to get a new deal done with young defenseman Nick Leddy before the end of the season.
George LeClaire | Staff Photographer
You never want to pass on a chance to win it all.
I get it. I'm with you.
But with the NHL trade deadline approaching, it's crazy to suggest — as some have — that the Blackhawks acquire the likes of Alex Ovechkin ($9.5 million cap hit the next three years), Joe Thornton ($7 million next season) or Marian Gaborik ($7.5 million next season).
The cap is going down $6 million in 2013-14, and the Hawks still have work to do with their current players.
They need to get a new deal done with Nick Leddy before the season ends, when he becomes a restricted free agent. Since the Hawks plan to play until the very end, there will be precious little time after that.
Leddy turns 22 on Wednesday, and 22-year-old, puck-moving defensemen with a huge upside don't grow on trees. He's an offer sheet waiting to happen — hello, Doug Wilson? — so the Hawks will get him locked up as soon as possible.
Ray Emery, Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg are all unrestricted free agents after this season.
After next season — the summer of 2014 — Dave Bolland, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Corey Crawford are unrestricted free agents, and Andrew Shaw and Jimmy Hayes are restricted.
And just like that, in the summer of 2015 — after just two more full hockey seasons — Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are unrestricted free agents. Yes, that did happen fast.
The Hawks are planning for this. They don't want to find themselves $17 million over the cap again and having to dump half a team, but they made numerous deals in the difficult summer of 2010 that netted picks and players, and that is now bearing fruit.
There will probably be a couple of buyouts after this season — Rostislav Olesz and Steve Montador? — which will help for next year, but every dollar they spend now matters down the road.
So while the Hawks keep an eye on the trade market, they probably won't do anything to jeopardize the future.
All the credit in the world to NU athletic director Jim Phillips for wanting to be great in all sports. The guy is as sharp as they come and his effort is legendary.
But sometimes you wonder how realistic the goals are at Northwestern in a sport like basketball. In 13 years, Bill Carmody — fired Saturday — posted the only two 20-win seasons in school history. In the last 43 years, there have been only eight seasons of better than .500 basketball, and Carmody owns five of them.
He was the most successful men's basketball coach in NU history, albeit a low bar to leap.
"I hope they know what they're doing," Michigan State's Tom Izzo said over the weekend during the Big Ten tourney. "I'm sure they do because (Carmody) is a (heck) of a coach, and he's really good for our profession.
"It saddens me. Two or three times I thought (Northwestern) had teams that were going to get to the NCAA Tournament, and then the injuries just mounted up. I feel bad. I hope he stays in coaching."
The good cause
K's for Kids Club, a not-for-profit corporation that takes underprivileged children to Cubs games, will hold its fifth annual fundraiser at The Ram Restaurant in Wheeling on April 13 at 5 p.m., complete with food, beverages, raffle prizes and sports memorabilia auctions.
The group was formed in honor of the late Tom Bujnowski, a teacher, coach and Cubs fan who began bringing "K" signs to the bleachers in May 1998, on the very day Kerry Wood fanned 20.
Each year the group takes 40-50 needy children from a different organization in the Chicago area to a Cubs game.
For more info, visit ksforkids.com.
Reds manager Dusty Baker said that once he's done managing in the big leagues, he might like a shot at managing Team USA in the WBC.
That sounds like a fabulous idea. What GM wouldn't love handing over his best starter or reliever to a man who wouldn't think twice about burning out his own pitchers to suit his needs, let alone someone else's?
Of the 28 players listed on the Team Italy WBC roster, 18 were born in the U.S., and one each in Brazil, Canada and Venezuela. Five players were from California alone, and seven actually from Italy.
How is that a World Baseball Classic?
From sportspickle.com, the seven people you find in every NCAA pool: The guy who takes it way too seriously; the guy whose alma mater is in the tournament; the trash talker; the husband-wife team; the boss; random woman who knows nothing about sports; you.
Doesn't Matt Hasselbeck make sense as a backup QB?
And finally …
Omaha World-Herald's Brad Dickson: "CBS cut away from the exciting Missouri Valley Conference championship game to air the beginning of Indiana-Michigan. It could have been worse. If the Valley title game was on NBC, the network would have cut away to the opening of Notre Dame spring football practice."
•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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