After dramatically making over his team during an offseason that was far too long for his liking, general manager Stan Bowman was as curious as everyone else to see how the new-look Blackhawks would handle a brutal eight-game stretch against playoff teams to open the season. While Bowman’s job is to always play the long game, not sweating the short term, he’s clearly pleased with how his wheeling and dealing has played out so far. “Coming out of the gate with some tough opponents, it was not an easy schedule,” Bowman said Tuesday in his first remarks since training camp opened. “So to be where we are now, we’re happy. But we have a lot of hockey left.” He surely was less happy a few hours later, after the Hawks had lost 4-2 to the expansion Golden Knights. The Knights, now a stunning 7-1-0, dominated most of the game, playing simple and direct. John Hayden’s early short-handed goal and Patrick Kane’s late goal were the only tallies for the Hawks, who were misfiring on passes all night, were outshot for the seventh time in 10 games and went 0-for-3 on the power play. In his first NHL start, Oscar Dansk, the Golden Knights’ third-string goalie, made 29 saves, including a huge stop on Kane on a 2-on-1 in the second period and another on Patrick Sharp on a breakaway in the third. Bowman made it clear in a fire-and-brimstone news conference last April — just two days after the top-seeded Hawks were swept out of the playoffs by the Predators — that change was coming in a big way. The biggest move was reacquiring Brandon Saad from the Blue Jackets, a deal that sent Artemi Panarin to Columbus. Saad has made a significant difference in the Hawks’ lineup, helping to fill Marian Hossa’s skates while elevating Jonathan Toews back to his prime levels.
Stan Bowman pleased with early returns from offseason overhaul
Chicago Sun-Times | Oct 25