Blackhawks throw convention in shadow of labor dispute
Last weekend the Chicago Blackhawks feted fans with a convention at the Hilton Chicago Hotel, hoping to stir up buzz before they hit the ice, open up training camp and launch into the season — that is, if the season opens without a hitch.
The players haven’t expressed concerns about a possible work stoppage, though; nor has Coach Quenneville or General Manager Stan Bowman. The NHL players are represented by Donald Fehr, and if that rings a bell, it might be because he played that same role for Major League Baseball players’ union. Fehr has been quoted saying a strike would be a “last resort.”
But for fans, labor issues were not of concern at the convention. They’re just hoping their team can find a way to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs. That’s been a problem the last two years (of course the ‘Hawks were Stanley Cup winners just three years ago).
Kane, Hossa speak
And, for the first time since his horrible concussion from a Raffi Torres hit, Marian Hossa addressed the media. He is progressing with his recovery, but has not returned to the ice. Hossa said he is biking, lifting and doing some cardio to begin his training for the season. “The way I feel right now, I believe I'll be ready for the camp," Hossa said. He spent a lot of his time this summer resting as he recuperated from his head injury.
Olczyk was the Blackhawks first round draft choice in 1984 (3rd overall). He played 16 years in the league with six different teams, and won the Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994. After his playing career, he was the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins for two seasons. Now Olczyk is the lead analyst for the NHL national broadcasts, and of course, he handles that role locally for the Blackhawks.
Olczyk was humble this weekend about the outpouring of support from his former teammates and the many NHL organizations he was involved with over the years. He doesn’t have to choose one team to represent him in the Hall of Fame. However, if he had to, he said, it would be the Blackhawks.
Olczyk is very proud of his roots: “Growing up in Niles, then Palos Heights, to being an Olympian (1984), to the pros, and now in the broadcast booth, I take great pride being an American-born player and being from Chicago," he said. He credited all the coaches that helped him have this long, enduring career, as well as his family; his parents, he said, told him to “never sell yourself short.”
The date of the induction will be determined at a later time.