The Chicago Blackhawks are in possession of the Stanley Cup for the second time in four seasons. It is time to tip your hat to the man who put the 'Hawks in a position to celebrate.
Give it up for general manager Stan Bowman, ladies and gentlemen.
As the guy tabbed with a fair amount of criticism over the course of his tenure, Bowman should be afforded his day in the sun before the Blackhawks begin making preparations for the future of the franchise. By the way, that starts Sunday with the 2013 NHL draft.
I'm sure right now Bowman is more concerned with a very short offseason than basking too long in his club's ultimate triumph. Let's toot Bowman's horn before we begin weighing in on a summer filled with tough decisions.
The 2010 championship had Dale Tallon's stamp all over it. I have not been shy about questioning moves Bowman made in the aftermath of the title and in subsequent seasons. Now that Chicago is the toast of the NHL, I won't be shy about giving him the kudos he deserves.
The core was in place when he took over. Bowman did extend the contracts of Brent Seabrook and Patrick Sharp, however. He moved the monster contract of Brian Campbell to Florida, previously thought to be impossible.
He turned Jack Skille into Michael Frolik, a key defensive cog for the Blackhawks in 2013. He fortified Chicago's blueline depth in re-signing Johnny Oduya and picking up Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank.
Bowman gave up a fourth-round pick in obtaining Michal Handzus at the trade deadline, too. At the time, I questioned whether Handzus was enough for the playoff run. Regardless of what side of the debate you are on, the veteran center gave his all and contributed in a big way to the title run.
Bowman drafted both Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw. These youngsters had a big impact on the fortunes of the Blackhawks this spring.
I'm sure I'm not through taking Bowman to task for the decisions he makes. In a matter of days, Bowman will once again be under the microscope. I will weigh in just like anybody else.
However, Bowman deserves a slap on the back for the job he did assembling the 2013 Stanley Cup champs. If you can call Bowman out when you believe he's erred, you have to stand up and give the man his due.