The Blackhawks players, those who still remain from the Stanley Cup winners, had some comments about the breakup of the Cup champions:
“A lot of those players are the best friends you had on the team so it’s kind of tough to see them go,” winger Patrick Kane said. “You’re losing Eager … Burish … Byfuglien (and) Versteeg. Who knows what’s going to happen with Niemi? Obviously you want him back. You have to realize that this league is a business.”
The departures likely will hurt the Hawks not only on the ice but also in a close-knit dressing room.
“Those guys are so easy to hang out with and you spend so much time with them that when they’re not around for a team function like this … you’re expecting them to show up,” winger Troy Brouwer said. “We know that’s not going to be the case and you just have to go on. We’re excited about the new players joining our team.”
Among those newcomers at the sold-out convention that runs through Sunday were Viktor Stalberg, acquired from the Maple Leafs for Versteeg, and John Scott, a free-agent signee from the Wild.
“The reality is that we’re going to be making changes,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “When you look at our lineup you’re always looking at the decisions we have to make. We’ve been in a tough spot and we’re trying to do the best we can to enhance our team and the future all well.”
The convention continues through Sunday.