Today the Chicago Blackhawk management announced that Mike Smith would take the job of attempting to resurrect a franchise that is considered the laughing stock of the original six. Many felt he would only take the job if he was given complete control. It is still uncertain as to whether he will actually be the outsider given true power over the powers that be.(Mr. Potter a.k.a. Mr. Wirtz)
“I don’t have any real detailed plan. I think the initial process is simply to sit down with the people who work here and find out what they’re doing and get a sense of how things operate. I know there’s a challenge ahead of us, but in sports there is a challenge every day. To win and have a winning franchise you need good people and you need good people who are good players. Through it all, the bottom line will be we’ll have good people who are good players and good people in all positions within the organization.” Pulford retains the title of GM, but he claims in name only.
“He is (the GM),” said the 63-year-old Pulford. “He has all those duties. He has the power to make all the hockey decisions, trades, scouting, everything.
At the Sept. 19th Blackhawk exhibition, I spent some time talking to Ty Jones and Nathan Perrott. I approached Jones and identified myself as the Hockey’s Future Hawk editor and asked if I could talk to him about training camp.
He agreed and I asked about his experiences starting with the 1998 training camp through this 1999 camp. I told him everyone I talked to in the organization had him tabbed as a can’t miss NHL caliber player, but that last preseason he seemed very tentative and a step behind the play, and I wondered was going through his mind then.
Ty: When you finally come to a camp where the parent club is taking a long look at you, you feel afraid of making any mistakes. You could look at many of the guys brought into Hawk camp and their biggest problems on ice were just that fear of error.
Q2: Ty, I am wondering how you felt going back to junior, just waiting to get back here this September and then ending up unable to get any ice time (due to tailbone and finger injuries).
Ty: Going back to junior was a change. Here in the NHL the play and abilities are so accelerated that junior was much less challenging.
Q2:Did the Hawks have things they asked you to specifically work on in junior?
Ty: All I was asked to do is go out and play. Concerning my inability to play in preseason, all I could do now is lift and train.
Q3: Are you expecting to go down to Cleveland and play?
Tonight’s exhibition pitted lines centered by two centres picked within two spots of each other in the first round of the 1998 Draft. In fact the Maple Leafs traded down, out of the #8 slot, where the Blackhawks took Mark Bell, because the Leafs management knew that Nikolai Antropov was a project and would be there at #10. .
They both won about the same amount of face-offs. Antropov was bigger but was less able to maneuver in the jammed spaces that occur during the game. In the open ice he moved easily and passed the puck quickly, always looking to set up scoring opportunities for his linemates. In the first period, Bell was behind the Leaf’s net moving out.. Antropov attempted to take control, but Bell maneuvered back and forth behind the net, gaining room on Antropov. But as he started out, Glen Healy poke checked the puck away in what looked to surprise Bell.
In the third period Bell came in on defenseman D.J. Smith and Jimmy Waite, and was able to let off a lightning quick snap shot which Jimmy waite stopped chest high. On the way back up the ice Smith checked Bell. Then att the end of the shift Bell lost it and cross-checked Smith, and continued after the whistle to let Smith know his displeasure. He saw an early dressing room.
Another Hawk prospect who obviously came to play was Geoff Peters. When Leaf centre Kevyn Adams tried to get the puck loose from Thibault, Peters followed him to the corner and dropped the gloves. Peters put him to the ice with a solid left hand.