As with all teams in professional sports, the off season becomes the time to reflect on the previous year’s work, practice hard, gain new talent, and chuck the dead weight to the curb like the trash they are!
Yes, after spring training comes the summer dump. Free agents, general managers, player demands, and fan responses dictate the Wheel of Fortune for a player (or it goes they way of Tim Tebow getting signed to the Patriots and everyone in the United States facepalms so hard the population is concussed because why can’t he go away already?)
After the 2010 Stanley Cup victory, the Blackhawks did what anyone would do with a winning team and got rid of 80% of the roster. It seemed that once the city cleared out after the downtown parade, players such as Antti Niemi, Dustin Byfuglien, and Tomas Kopecky were barely out of their jerseys before getting shipped to other teams. As the summer approaches, we wait with baited breath to see if the team we’ve grown to love so much will be split and scattered just as it was in 2010. Bryan Bickell will be a free agent this summer and the General Manager of the Blackhawks, Stan Bowman, obviously wants to resign the breakout star of this playoff season. Bickell has said, “I think [Chicago] is a second home to me…I feel this is a home to me.” Bickell made $600,000 this season and clearly deserves a raise; this is all possible as the Blackhawks are not only two million dollars from their pay cap and they are getting rid of Montador and Olesz. Marian Hossa, feared to be leaving the Blackhawks, will be staying as his departure would hurt the pay cap and as he was a major asset in and on the road to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The newest rumor swirling around is that the Chicago Bulls are in talks about a contract extension with Luol Deng, a valuable player to the Chicago Bulls leading up to the playoffs until a viral infection confined him to a hospital bed during the playoffs. The cyclone of rumors circling around Deng had reports of his leaving the Bulls for the Wizards or the Cavaliers. The Bulls may also want to acquire LaMarcus Aldridge in the NBA Draft, which would mean having to give up Deng. Luol Deng’s future with the Bulls is uncertain as is that of Nate Robinson, the heart of the playoff team. The roster is already expensive as Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, and Derrick Rose remain the crown jewels of the current Bulls dynasty. On a related subject, reports are also coming in that Derrick Rose will absolutely, totally, most definitely, without a doubt, duh, no doubt play this fall.
There is some good news about all of the swapping and gaining of players in this season of change: The Cubs are finally getting rid of Carlos Marmol! Yes, the pitcher who loves to blow a lead and let the opposing team win in the ninth inning is packing his bags and headed to a new pitcher’s mound in a new town! Cubs General Manager, Jed Hoyer, said, “We realized in August of last year that we wouldn’t be able to trade him or acquire any value for him.” Marmol’s manager, Paul Kinzer, said, “[Marmol] loves Chicago, but I think in his mind he knows he has to get a fresh start.” We will go on record saying, “Hey, Chicago! Whaddya say? Marmol’s finally going away!” As it is clear that the Cubs will not be going to the playoffs, which is a major shock to all of us, perhaps now is the time to unload Marmol and start bringing up the eager players from the minor leagues to see what will work next season.
Finally, after a year away, former Boston Celtic and current hybrid of a human foot and a peanut, basketball superstar Larry “Hick From French Lick” Bird will be returning to manage the Indiana Pacers. Perhaps he can use all of his 1992 Dream Team magic to help the Pacers defeat Lebron and the Heat next season.
As sports is a forever-changing world, it’s good to show your long-time loyalty with some great threads. Luckily for you, Clark Street Sports has all of the sports merchandise you need, from Oduya shirts to Shaw jerseys, for a weekend of Stanley Cup parties and parades and everyday wear.
Sports are always changing, but never forget: Sports is good!