What looked like a quiet day for the Blackhawks turned into anything but when they signed Peter Regin in the afternoon and then provided some pre-Fourth of July fireworks a few hours later by announcing they had inked center Brad Richards to a one-year deal.
And, oh by the way, they're still working on mega contract extensions for stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
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General manager Stan Bowman has been one busy guy.
"It's a big moment for us to be able to add someone of his caliber as a hockey player and an individual," Bowman said of Richards, a 14-year veteran who spent the last three seasons with the Rangers. "He brings so many things to the table for us -- he's got the experience and his leadership and his character off the ice -- it's really the whole package that we're excited about."
Richards joins a team loaded with quality forwards, including Kane, something that was a big selling point for the 34-year-old who may at long last be the No. 2 center the Hawks have been looking for.
"It's exciting because you know if you're playing center on the top two lines you know you're playing with two great players," Richards said.
And to think, less than a week ago, the veteran forward had no idea what was in store for him in free agency. Then his agent called and said Bowman had expressed interest at the draft, and from then on it was just a case of trying to make the salary cap numbers work.
"When my agent mentioned Chicago I was very interested," said Richards, who has 867 points in 982 regular season games and 90 points in 188 career playoff games. "After I talked to Stan and Joel (Quenneville) on a conference call Monday night, it made me more excited to try and figure this out.
"It wasn't hard for me to love Chicago. It was just trying to figure out how to get it work with the cap."
That's exactly the same way Regin felt.
"I'm very excited to be coming back," said Regin, who also signed a one-year deal. "Knowing the situation the Hawks were in, I had to be patient.
"It was always my No. 1 choice."
The 28-year-old was acquired from the Islanders in February, and despite scoring 4 points in 17 regular season games and playing in just five playoff games, he made an enough of an impression for the Hawks brass to want him back.
"Peter came in for us down the stretch last year and showed a lot of versatility," Bowman said.
Now Regin is hoping to translate that versatility into more ice time.
"It's up to me to prove I belong in the lineup every night," he said. "I plan to perform and play every game -- that's my goal."
Tuesday's signings leaves the Hawks about $2 million over the salary cap, just something else to keep Bowman busy with.
"We have some ideas what we're going to do," the GM said. "We'll certainly make it work."
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