Tittered By Twitter: The Story of an NHL Player, A GM Dismissal and Some Dirty Laundry
It is a dull Tuesday in the Twitterverse. There is a hockey blogger snit from the night before over scoops. One says he had it first. The other stipulates it was on Chicago TV, and tries to denigrate the whole idea of scoops. It is the same old personal discord between two bloggers who communicate via blogs than anything else.
But the story they are bitching about is what this article is really is about. It is about the sudden dumping/reassignment of the Chicago Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon. For what played out yesterday was some dirty laundry that fell within twitter in the mid-afternoon.
It was when a former player from that team lights off a couple of shots that reverberate through the dull din and awaken the hockey fans and writers from the doldrums of a quiet Tuesday afternoon.
When Martin Havlat was a free agent this past July 1st, he was pretty set on returning back to Chicago. With several injury-plagued seasons and some issues in Ottawa, in Chicago he found a home. Last year he had the most productive of his career with almost 30 goals and 77 points with a whopping +29. He wanted a longterm deal to stay in Chicago.
Chicago’s GM was Dale Tallon. He was brought in 2005 to raise what was considered the NHL Titanic. Chicago has fallen from grace and was basically rolling into an abyss. With Tallon at the helm, they made draft picks that reaped quick dividends. This past season, they knocked out Calgary from the playoffs, only to be beaten by a powerful former champion in Detroit.
All seemed on its way, and this summer would be just retaining that successful collection plus some to fill some other roles.
Enter a former Chicago Cubs Executive, John McDonough. Installed as Blackhawks president in 2007, with the task of making money for a franchise that was in the dumps, he has changed the interior body-politic. Some are saying it is McDonough who put forth that ridiculous $58.6 million contract for Brian Campbell last season.
In fact, it is said that this free agency’s burn of Havlat for Marian Hossa is also courtesy the new regime, who basically de-fanged the GM who got them to this successful juncture and now is trying to take the reins.
Evidently it was Havlat and his agent Allan Walsh that first put together the constructs of a deal that Chicago then took and offered to Marian Hossa instead. One can firmly project on who that person might be when not a bad word is said about Dale Tallon, who Havlat calls: “a father figure”.
Per Walsh’s own twitter account: “Havlat received multi year offers from several teams…except Chicago. After 3 months of negotiating a long term contract, Chicago would……not offer anything more than a 1 year deal. So much for taking care of the team MVP.”
Yesterday, he added his opinion on the Chicago move: “Dale Tallon is a stand up guy and I have unqualified respect for him. He is honorable and loyal to a fault. Huge loss for Chicago. What happened betwwen Marty and Chicago had nothing to do with Dale Tallon. Dale is a friend and will always be a friend.”
Dale Tallon is reassigned, as the man who handles the faxes, contracts and CBA issues, Stan Bowman is made GM. Curiously enough, this is the same man one would assume would be responsible for taking care of RFAs (restricted free agents). You know, the ones Chicago screwed up and had to pony up larger contracts to hold Kris Versteeg and Cam Barker, and the NHLPA filed a grevaince over.
So, as we all scry forward trying to read, conjecture and decipher all that is going on beneath the Blackhawk vaneer, Martin Havlat and his agent’s tweets throws out some interesting notions into the digital ether of hockey fans, bloggers, writers and other interested parties. Far more juicy that the usual banal and promotion that Conan O’Brien skewers on his Twitter Tracker on the Tonight Show.
For those tweets might be the only thing laid bare to this internal strife in Hawk Country. Dale Tallon is reassigned. Scotty Bowman’s son sits as the new GM. And McDonough sits with blood on his hands as the team sits over the cap with several RFAs to deal with for next season. But we will never get the real story by Tallon, when he is still retained by the organization.
A young team on the rise might be affected by the oldest issue in the book…ego and hubris. It remains to be seen if the talent can offset some of the questionable issues that seem to be striking a chord like a Chuck Barris gong to those watching from afar.
But, for a hour in the twittersphere, there seemed to be a peek to what mechanics are in motion. Though, to be fair, there was some open conjecture to those I spoke to that the Twitter version with the name Martin Havlat, is not him at all, but his agent or someone at his agency. His agent denies this. Per Walsh to me this morning: “…Havlat(s) twitter account is Marty’s personal account and we (as his agents) play no role in it’s contents.”
Either way, it gives a look to what might be an internal battle on who wants to take credit “The Greatest Sports-Business Turnaround Ever”, coined by Forbes Magazine as they sit poised with a slew of large contracts and a cup-run or BUST.
Today, much more comes out, as Darren Dreger from TSN has the story with far more there.
“My negotiation with Chicago was not between Dale and my agent, it was between Dale and McDonough. Why? Because McDonough couldn’t stand that Dale was so successful and getting the credit for building the Hawks from a last place team to making the Conference Final in three short years. Remember, we were also the youngest team in the NHL last year.”
Darren Dreger, TSN.ca
Some seedy linens were laid bare just for a moment, and they were clearly a Blackhawk uniform.
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