The big news coming out of Chicago during the summer was the signing of Marian Hossa. But how could you blame everyone for focusing on that?
Hossa signed a long 12 year deal that will keep him in the Indian Head Sweater until he is 42 years old. And, of course, the biggest part of this signing is that he left Chicago's rival, the Detroit Red Wings, to join the Hawks.
But on that same day of the Hossa signing, the Hawks made another big acquisition that no one even seemed to notice.
Veteran John Madden spent the first nine years of his career with the New Jersey Devils. He became a free agent this past summer, and was offered many long term deals from multiple teams. Yet he turned all of them down to sign a one year deal worth $2.75 million to play for the Blackhawks.
Madden obviously see's that the time is now for Chicago to win. You have to respect a guy for turning down not only security in a multiple year contract, but also more money to join a team for less with a better chance to win.
Madden is widely respected around the league, and is by far one of the best defensive forwards in the league. He has won the Selke Trophy (awarded to the NHL's best defensive forward) in 2001, and was a finalist for the award in 2003, 2004, and 2008.
He has made an immediate impact with Chicago this year, holding down the center position on the third line. Every second he is on the ice, he is going all out playing hard at both ends of the ice. His back checking has been very noticeable, and he has been one of, if not the most, consistent player on the Hawks so far this season.
Not only was he brought here for his talent, but he was also brought here to be a solid veteran leader on a very young team. Many of the young players on the Hawks can learn so much from this talented veteran. On and off the ice, Madden's knowledge will go very far with helping this young Blackhawks team trying to achieve the ultimate goal.
It's a shame that Madden has not been in Chicago his entire career. In just 11 games, he already has a very big following. Just imagine if he had spent all of his 723 career games played wearing the Indian Head Sweater. He would be an instant Blackhawks legend.
Chicago Blackhawks fans know their hockey. They can tell from a mile away whether you are a hard worker on the ice, or not. What they love the most are the hard working grinders that show up to play every single night. That is why after just 11 games, John Madden is already a fan favorite.
Let's enjoy this fun ride right now, but let's hope after this season the Hawks are able to lock John Madden up to a longer deal so he can finish his great career here in Chicago.