Thoughts, questions and things that make you go hmmm - FOX 32 News Chicago

Thoughts, questions and things that make you go hmmm

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Playoffs

On Sunday, when Los Angeles dropped a 2-0 decision to the Coyotes, Kings head coach Darryl Sutter wasn't happy. He was especially upset with his power play.

In postgame comments, Sutter called out his point men for not getting shots on goal. Sutter didn't pull any punches, which is his way for the most part, and mentioned his players need to avoid getting their shots blocked.

Keep in my mind, at that time the Kings were ahead three games to one in the series, but Sutter still went out of his way to call out some players.

I wonder how many defensemen last season had more of their own shots blocked than Duncan Keith?

If memory serves me correctly, Joel Quenneville never publicly put the onus on Keith to get his shot through to the net. Different strokes for different coaches but players who are given the privilege of playing on the power play have to perform. Sutter certainly realizes the same.

By winning every playoff series so efficiently, the Kings should have a big advantage over whomever they play from the East.

Not to split hairs but...

Although the Blackhawks are at the top of the NHL in average attendance, which is close to 21,500 per game, this seemed a bit odd.

When the Hawks faced the Blues at the United Center on February 19 the attendance was 22,077, one of the larger crowds of the season.

Facing elimination in Game 6 the UC crowd was 21,636, which at the time struck me as being a little low. Maybe it is only matter of playoff tickets being more expensive and Coyote fans not traveling very well.

Possibly fan interest dropped off after the Hawks fell behind three games to one. Or maybe there is no significance in having a larger crowd in February than for a playoff elimination game. Either way, the attendance for next season will be interesting to keep an eye on.

Hossa

Adding to an anxious off summer for the Blackhawks is the real concern regarding Marian Hossa's condition. It has been speculated Hossa suffered a serious concussion after the vicious cheap shot be Phoenix forward Raffie Torres.

Even if Hossa returns 100 percent healthy for training camp, which is not a given, there is no telling what lingering psychological effects will remain. Hossa is 33-years-old and commented he has never had the same type of head injury before. Not only might Hossa's long-term health be in question but it will be interesting to see if he can be the same dominant player once again.

Kane

Many were waiting for the Blackhawks to make an official statement in regards to the off season antics of Patrick Kane. Unless Kane is charged with a crime or requires some sort of treatment, most likely the Hawks won't be issuing any statement. There is a school of thought which is used in politics and applies here. Never try to defend what doesn't need to be defended.

Apparently because Kane wasn't arrested and charged with a crime the Blackhawks probably think it is best to not say anything. There will be fans who look at not issuing a comment as trying to ignore the situation and in some ways that would be correct. Others who die out political fires and handle such awkward public situations for a living would concur with Hawks management.

Hockey message boards are consumed with Kane trade possibilities. Kane isn't untouchable and if a deal could be constructed for Rick Nash, certainly Stan Bowman would listen. Before wasting too many keystrokes fans need to remember Kane's off ice issues can prevent the Hawks from getting fair value.

If the reason for trading Kane is specifically because he is a bad actor off the ice, others have heard the same. Hawk fans should know internet access is available in every NHL city. Before Kane the Blackhawks never had a number one draft pick in their history. They will be very cautious before dealing Kane.

My thinking is Kane won't be traded now but his off ice antics aren't cute anymore. If Kane were to be shipped off to the majority of cities around the NHL he wouldn't be nearly as popular or as wealthy. Certainly they do sell Chevrolets in Columbus, but not nearly as many as in Chicago and by this time Kane should realize the same.

Montador

Steve Montador's time in Chicago has been one of the unusual and unlucky happenings concerning the 2011-2012 campaign.

First, Montador benefitted greatly from GM Bowman reaching to ink the UFA defender before July 1. Bowman traded a seventh round draft pick in either 2012 or 2013 to Buffalo for the rights to sign Montador. Bowman snagged his man by signing Montador to a four year deal worth $11 million, which also included a limited no trade clause.

As luck would have had it Montador's season came to end early because of concussion concerns. Although it appeared Montador was thought to be a key acquisition, he never really seemed to fit in. Oddly enough Montador began the season playing forward and his last game was also while playing wing.

When Montador returned from a concussion after missing seven weeks, he wasn't used at his most familiar position and didn't last long. Montador once again was inserted at forward for a March 27 match versus New Jersey. He was checked while going to the net and was forced to miss the rest of the regular season and the playoffs with another apparent concussion.

Montador's last concussion adds to the uncertainty of the offseason. There hasn't been any mention as to his progress or lack thereof. With a large contract containing a no movement clause plus health issues, Montador is not a trade candidate.

The Hawks will hope the 2012-2013 season finds Montador in good health and a big contributor to on ice success. Otherwise there will be another hole to fill.

CBA and Mega Contracts

There has been a lot of concern about players receiving huge contracts which are spread out over a very long term. Some around the NHL believe those contracts circumvent the salary cap. Such deals are thought to be disingenuous because the player will be too old to play out the full term and the salary tappers off a great deal in the last few years. One mega contract which came under scrutiny in 2009 was Hossa's.

In July of 2009 Hossa agreed to a 12 year contact worth $62.8 million. The deal had annual cap hit of $5.275 million until 2021. The concern is after the 2016-2017 season Hossa's salary drops to only $1 million per year. One reason for this might be so the player can retire in the final years of his contract and not leave much money on the table. Often there is suspicion the club knew beforehand a player would retire before finishing the contract. In that case the team would benefit from a lower annual salary cap hit.

As we know the last CBA agreement had flaws and this is one issue which can be easily corrected. All that needs to happen is a certain percentage, like 15-20 percent of the contract amount has to be required to be paid out during the final third of a contract term.

In the final four years of his contract Hossa will be pushing 40-years-old, and will only receive approximately 6 percent of his total $62.8 million.

Follow me on Twitter@AlCimaglia

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