The St. Louis Blues made the first—and so far, the biggest—splash ahead of the NHL trade deadline by acquiring Steve Ott and Ryan Miller. That move set them up with two of the biggest rentals on the market, and fans immediately began to wonder when the Chicago Blackhawks would counter-punch.
Bringing Miller and Ott to St. Louis serves one purpose, and that’s to dethrone the defending Stanley Cup champions in Chicago. While the Blues have struggled with the Los Angeles Kings in the playoffs recently, the line of thinking seems to be that the road to the Final will lead through the Windy City.
If seems that the ‘Hawks are 100% happy with their roster as March 5 approaches though, and it doesn’t seem likely that they will try to match St. Louis’ cannonball of a move. Chicago’s general manager Stan Bowman spoke to various members of the media before the outdoor game at Solider Field last night and had this to say according to NHL.com:
I think you can’t be reactionary that way. Those guys haven’t even played a game yet in St. Louis. You kind of have to see how it all shakes out, but we’re more focused on what we can do. We have to play good hockey.
While on the surface it may seem like the Blackhawks are erring in not trying to respond in some fashion, it isn’t as if Bowman has stood idly by all season long. They addressed the need for scoring depth by trading for Kris Versteeg back in November. Chicago also attempted to plug their No. 2 center hole by adding Peter Regin via a deal with the New York Islanders.
Those trades in and of themselves can’t hold a candle to what Doug Armstrong went out and accomplished on Friday, however.
There are still a few days between now and the trade deadline, but it doesn’t seem that the Blackhawks are worried about the bulls-eye that is painted on their backs. The Blues did their part in “Cupping up.” The pressure is on everyone else to do the same, but at this juncture it doesn’t seem like Chicago will be making any sort of maneuver prior to the deadline.
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