In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Tuesday was a big and heavy day for the Chicago Blackhawks organization. The fallout from the investigation and Stan Bowman stepping aside is being felt on Wednesday. What do the findings mean for the franchise moving forward and for teams like the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets? The Vancouver Canucks are getting Travis Hamonic back and are the Buffalo Sabres and Vegas Golden Knights talking trade?
Bowman Leaves Blackhawks, What Else Is Coming
Yesterday’s news and rumors post were published just prior to the press conference held by Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz and CEO Danny Wirtz in relation to the Jenner & Block findings. From that presser came statements that revealed just who and how many people knew about the sexual abuse claims and that nothing was done. Stan Bowman has stepped aside as general manager with Kyle Davidson acting as the Interim GM.
The investigation will now expand beyond the Blackhawks and both Kevin Cheveldayoff (GM of the Winnipeg Jets) and Joel Quenneville (coach of the Florida Panthers) will be questioned by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Bettman wouldn’t comment specifically about the next steps but Quenneville and Cheveldayoff had both denied knowing about the allegations when they were first asked in July.
The blowback from the statements made in the Blackhawks availability will be felt for a while through the NHL. Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat commented on Bowman leaving and said, “It’s a big change. Probably a change that needed to happen. I understand it.” This is just the start of things potentially changing for the team and other teams where executives were involved. The trickle-down could affect a number of franchises.
Quenneville and Cheveldayoff Choose Not to Comment
Quenneville will coach the Panthers tonight against the Boston Bruins and then meet with Bettman on Thursday. The coach said, “I respect you all doing your job here and have your own questions here. But I won’t be commenting further until my meeting with the commissioner.”
Cheveldayoff also reserved comment and said he looked forward to chatting with Bettman as soon as possible and to be as cooperative with the NHL investigation as possible. He noted he was one of the 139 witnesses interviewed in the case and gave all the information he had during that interview. NHL insiders have noted there are some potential gaps in Cheveldayoff’s previous statements that will need to be filled in.
The court of public opinion seems to have already sealed the fate of these two men and there are some calling for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to speak up as they would have been around during that time. The report doesn’t name members of the 2010 Blackhawks roster, but in it there are specific references to John Doe being harassed by fellow teammates over the incident. Toews being the captain at the time, his leadership is being called into question.
Possible Blackhawks GM Candidates
TSN mentions that the Blackhawks will likely get to work looking for a replacement GM and there will be some obvious candidates. According to Darren Dreger:
“Jimmy Rutherford is well rested, he’d prefer to be the president of hockey operations, but would take a GM job for the right fit. Jeff Gorton, formerly of the New York Rangers, you’ve got Ray Shero as an experienced GM as well. Not to mention there will be a long list of guys who believe they should be on that list of candidates, but that will come in time.”
Arthur Staple of The Athletic writes that the Blackhawks should put a call into Ed Olczyk to become the new president/hockey ops to Jeff Gorton about becoming GM. He writes, “Lot of work needs to be done inside the org and in the community. Two people who would help.”
Hamonic Has Reported to the Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks got some good news this week as veteran defenseman Travis Hamonic had reported to the team. Hamonic’s future this season was very much in question after he took a leave of absence to deal with a personal matter and didn’t report to training camp.
The team decided not to replace him on the roster and it appears that was a wise decision. Hamonic will join Abbotsford of the AHL in the coming days, Canucks general manager Jim Benning said.
Golden Knights and Sabres Trade Talk Chatter
Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff reports there’s been “increased chatter” between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Buffalo Sabres about Jack Eichel. The problem for the Golden Knights is twofold. First, they won’t have access to Eichel for some time and they’d like a player who can come in and make an impact immediately. Second, there are questions about how long Mark Stone will be out. It might require a third team to get involved to retain salary.