2010 NHL free agency: Blackhawks to match Sharks' offer for Niklas Hjalmarsson

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nhjalmarsson.jpgWhen the San Jose Sharks signed restricted free agent defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to a four-year $14 million offer sheet on Friday, it seemed like the Blackhawks were going to be put in the tough position of possibly seeing a young and helpful player leave town given the Hawks’ cap situation. Instead, the Blackhawks wasted very little time in matching the Sharks offer and retaining their player. Chris Kuc from the Chicago Tribune tweets confirmation.

General manager Stan Bowman says Blackhawks will match Sharks’ offer sheet to defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

With a cap hit of $3.5 million per year, the Blackhawks now find themselves that much more up against the salary cap. According to CapGeek, they’ve only got about $113,410 left to reach the cap. While the Blackhawks can go up to 10% over the cap and then have to get back down below it before the season, they really don’t have much of a need to go making their situation worse before it gets better because it’s about as rough as it can be.

The Hawks only have 15 players under contract and trying to get five more, which include one goalie and at least two defensemen while staying under that allowed limit of overage is daunting to say the least. Restricted free agent goalie Antti Niemi is going to salary arbitration if he can’t negotiate a new deal with the team and he’s likely to get something between $2 million and $3 million if he can’t get a deal done. What the Blackhawks will do to try to position themselves for better cap space bears watching.


Commodore rips into Babcock on social media

Mike Commodore
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Former NHL defenseman Mike Commodore may have been coached by Mike Babcock, but that doesn’t mean he’s a fan of Mike Babcock.

Commodore played in just 17 games for the Detroit Red Wings during the 2011-12 season and that was enough for him to muster up some pretty harsh feelings toward his old coach.

As Babcock’s new team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were being embarrassed in Detroit on Friday, Commodore took to Twitter to show fans just how much he was enjoying his former coach’s struggles.

Things got especially interesting after Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin scored just 20 seconds into the second period to give Detroit a 3-0 lead.

“3-0 nothin Babs you posing arrogant piece of (bleep),” said Commodore via his Twitter page. “Welcome back to the rink where everyone that met you hates you.”

Commodore wasn’t done there:

And there was much, much more.

To get a look at all of Commodore’s Babcock-bashing tweets, click here.




Friday’s loss serves as ‘harsh lesson’ for Blue Jackets

Jasper Fast, Nick Foligno, Henrik Lundqvist
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Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.

Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.

Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.

The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.

“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.

Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.

The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.

“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”