Havlat's Comments Throw McDonough under the Bus

Vince RichardsCorrespondent IJuly 17, 2009

Going into the offseason, former Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon made it clear to hockey fans that re-signing Martin Havlat was the organization's top priority. Hours into free agency, the Hawks signed Marian Hossa to a 12-year, $63 million deal, leaving Chicago fans with the question, "Does this mean Martin Havlat is out of the picture?"

Reports said the Chicago Blackhawks sat down with Martin Havlat and his agent for a brief amount of time and could not come up with a deal. Ultimately, Havlat wanted to stay in Chicago for a long period of time, at least longer than Chicago offered.

Tallon and the Blackhawks offered Havlat a short-term deal over one or two years, but he was looking for six or seven.

Given Havlat's injury history, signing him to a long-term deal was not in Chicago's plan.

With Havlat upset that the two parties could not make an agreement, the meeting ended.

Not long after, Chicago introduced Marian Hossa as their newest member, leaving Havlat no choice but to find a new home.

Although it appears that Martin Havlat wanted to stay in Chicago, some things just don't work out, and Havlat let the hockey world know how he felt.

Havlat talked with TSN about Tallon, John McDonough, and the rest of the Blackhawks organization after Tallon was reassigned. Havlat was quoted saying, "My negotiation with Chicago was not between Dale and my agent; instead, 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."

Sounds to me like Havlat was more upset at the dismissal of Tallon than he was at the Blackhawks organization for not bringing him back. Havlat says Tallon "was like a second father" to him in Chicago and to see him get removed from GM after such success was unexpected and unappreciated.

After claiming Havlat as his top priority, Tallon sat down with Havlat in order to discuss their futures. Havlat also told TSN, "McDonough knew long ago he was going to fire Dale. He wanted someone he could claim as his own. He wanted to stand up at that convention and claim credit for signing this guy or that guy."

In other words, Havlat thinks McDonugh fired Tallon as GM because he was bringing in so much talent and bringing back such a rich tradition to Chicago. With that, McDonough replaced Tallon with Stan Bowman, a person McDonough could claim he brought into the GM position and, therefore, get more credit for Chicago's success. 

The fact that Havlat and Tallon went to dinner shortly before these comments make us wonder how much of what Havlat said came from Tallon. Maybe it was Tallon who told Havlat that he and McDonough do not get along, and McDonough is upset with Tallon for getting all the credit.

After comments directed towards McDonough, he brought Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz into the mix by saying, "I was part of a very special team, but that team does not exist anymore. I am really disappointed that Rocky would let something like this happen."

Havlat also posted on his Twitter account, "The rest of what happened in Chicago to come soon."

With all this being said, McDonough and Tallon need to forget about Havlat's complaints and focus on continuing to bring successful hockey back to Chicago. They will settle their differences, but McDonough, due to his recent actions, is still a target.

The Hawks' president better hope Stan Bowman can fill Tallon's shoes or else all of Chicago will label McDonough as someone who is selfish and trying to take all the credit.