Early exit forces slower Blackhawks to think fast: Cox

Early exit forces slower Blackhawks to think fast: Cox

We’ll never know how great the Chicago hockey dynasty could have been.The guess here is that it would have rivalled that of the Habs of the late 1970s, the Islanders of the early 1980s and the Edmonton Oilers with Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.Think about the Stanley Cups the Hawks could have won if the salary-cap system hadn’t forced them, between 2010 and 2015, to divest themselves of Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Patrick Sharp, Kris Versteeg, Troy Brouwer, Brian Campbell, Nick Leddy, Dave Bolland, Brent Sopel, Antti Niemi, Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw and others.Maybe they would have gotten rich and soft, older and more comfortable, and wouldn’t have been able to do more than they’ve done.Doubt it, though.Article Continued BelowIn Byfuglien, they’d still have a 32-year-old dominant defenceman. Leddy is still just 26 and Saad is 24, players who would have been insurance against the decay of the roster.But they all had to go somewhere along the way because the Hawks had to abide by NHL salary-cap regulations. Of course, three Cups (2010, ’13, ’15) means the team and its fans still made out very, very well. But you have to believe that had Stan Bowman been able to keep more of that group together, the Hawks could have won two more.

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