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Keeping Blackhawks In Stanley Cup Contention Is Priority For Stan Bowman

We all knew it was going to happen. It had to happen. The Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks were going to see big changes because of salary cap requirements. And according to Bob Verdi, the Blackhawks team historian, it’s a much more difficult process than one might think.

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In a perfect world, all members of the Blackhawks presently being fitted for well-earned rings would return for 2010-11. But such a scenario would mean a payroll in excess of $70 million, a fiscal impossibility given the NHL salary cap for next season that does not even allow $60 million. So, general manager Stan Bowman, as he warned, had to respond via trades and departures, a penalty legislated by a simple fact: the Blackhawks enjoyed a surfeit of depth that facilitated their championship run.

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But make no mistake. Bowman is doing what he can to keep the team a Stanley Cup contender. And there’s history to look back upon when Hawks fans lament the trading of some of their favorite players:

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Take a deep breath for some historical perspective. In the spring of 1972, Bobby Hull left Chicago for Winnipeg of the World Hockey Association. Fans here were absolutely distraught. The greatest scorer in team annals, the finest left wing ever, the goodwill ambassador for the sport… gone. There was no hope for the Blackhawks. But the players Hull left behind didn’t like hearing they were garbage, adrenaline reached feverish levels, Ralph Backstrom was brought in just before the trading deadline and voilà.

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The 1972-73 Blackhawks, who were supposed to be dead and buried, went to the Stanley Cup final.

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