The Chicago Blackhawks' 2nd annual Fan Convention starts this evening at the Hilton downtown. Last year's convention was, by all accounts, a huge success. This year?
After two seasons of carefully cultivating an image of a franchise on the rise, they came off looking like a total Clown College this offseason with the offer sheet/RFA fiasco, followed by the firing of Dale Tallon. Now, less than a week after Tallon's firing, they have to go before their fan base, a large portion of which liked Tallon, and try to polish this turd. Good luck with that.
Although I still believe Tallon got a raw deal, the fact that the Blackhawks are showing a killer instinct in the front office might not be a bad thing. The telling will be if the Bowmans don't start turning positive results, will the ax fall as quickly? Unfortunately, we'd need to see some failure first, which I don't think any Blackhawks fans want to see.
The overall theme of the Convention will be different...whereas last year's was about getting players in front of fans and marketing the team, this year's will carry the burden of expectations.
All season long there will be undue angst and hand-wringing over The Three and their contracts beyond this season. The Hawks have a full season with valuable commodities - contracts will be moved, you may rest assured.
The signing of Hossa and Madden mean the Hawks are in a "win now" mode. Some people might think they're the team to beat in the West, but our friends in Detroit, who are left to muddle through with only 6 or 7 future Hall of Famers, may have something to say about it before it's all over.
Tonight is the big night, with all the announcements - the new marketing slogan, any big events for the upcoming season, trotting out all the players for big applause - the formal announcement that the Winter Classic jersey will be the Alternate jersey for the upcoming season.
Tomorrow and Sunday is for fans to attend seminars, play skills-based games, and stand on line for hours on end to get autographs. Hockeenight will be in attendance tomorrow, and will try to churn up something of interest to bring back to you loyal readers.
In the meantime, Blackhawks Buzz will be there this weekend, so they might have better information over there.