The Chicago Blackhawks turned a lot of heads in the Windy City this weekend, and it wasn't because of the ice girls.
The signing of Flyers forward Daniel Carcillo has definitely polarized 'Hawks fans. Optimistic? Apoplectic? Most of us were in one of those two camps following Carcillo putting his name on a one-year, $750,000 contract.
So do we have reason to believe that Carcillo will contibute to a cup contender next season, leave the organization in flames, or wind up somewhere in bewteen?
Let's break down the pros and cons of Chicago's newest and most contoversial pick up.
Bad Cop: "He's a classless goon and I hate him!"
Good Cop: "He's an agitator for players and fans alike."
Carcillo definitely employs some shady tactics on the ice. He delivers a bevy of cheap shots and is a notorious flopper. He also seems to really enjoy his work and is effective to a certain extent as a chippy fourth-liner.
This is an area that was sorely lacking on the 'Hawks last season. Try as he might, Viktor Stalberg doesn't bring the tools required to get under the skin of opponents.
Carcillo will be asked to skate 10-12 minutes and pester opponents. He posseses the attributes to do just that.
Bad Cop: "He's a more thuggish version of Adam Burish."
Good Cop: "He's more talented version of Adam Burish."
Burish put up career-numbers for the Stars this past season: 8 goals and 6 assists. In 2007-08, Carcillo had 13 goals and 11 assists in 57 games. Two year's ago in Philly he notched 12 goals and 10 assists.
Carcillo is a capable skater who has the talent to get the puck in the net. By most regards, he has good hands when he's not using them to swing at opponents.
When he reins in the lunacy a bit, he can be physical and add to the offense. Of course, last year's numbers with the Flyers (4 G, 2 A in 57 games) suggest that he can easily lose sight of the skills he does possess.
Burish was lamented as a gritty piece of the team that wasn't replaced last season. If GM Stan Bowman picked up a guy who can pester the opposition and rack up 20 points (Burish never hit 10 points with Chicago), great move.
Bad Cop: "He picks up a lot of them."
Good Cop: "He draws a lot of them."
FifthFeather.com just came out with a great entry concerning this issue which takes into account the number of penalties that had to be killed by the Flyers last season.
Carcillo earned a lot of game misconducts that don't result in shorthanded time on the ice. On the other hand, he also goads opponents into nearly the same number of penalties.
Penalties are the price a team pays for playing it fast and loose with their energy players. The list of fourth-liners who don't take bad penalties is short.
Bad Cop: "Grade-A Cementhead, can't be controlled."
Good Cop: "Edgy guy who will defer to team leaders."
Carcillo will begin the 2011-12 season on suspension for an altercation with the officials in between periods in game four of Philadelphia's playoff series with Boston. Is it realistic for us to think that coach Joel Quenneville and team leaders can tone down Carcillo's antics?
To me, this seems like a calculated risk. If Carcillo can get a handle on his emotions, he adds a lot to the fourth line. If he isn't capable of fitting into the locker room, I'd imagine that Bowman will get him out of town quickly.
Bad Cop: "I hated this guy on the Flyers!"
Good Cop: "I love this guy on the Blackhawks!"
Way different sport, but I can't think of a player Bulls fans universally despised more that Dennis Rodman when he was with the Pistons. Cheap-shots, nutty behavior, etc.
Chicago gave Rodman a shot when he came to the Bulls in 1996, and everyone benefited. They were able to get past the uniform and appreciated what he brought to their team.
A.J. Pierzynski is another guy currently in town who draws the ire of opposing fans, only to be a favorite of the team for which he is playing.
Carcillo likely won't be reporting to camp with pink hair (though who knows), but does bring with him attributes that make it easy to hate the guy. Those same qualities may make him a bad guy when he's on the other bench, but an asset when he's in ours.
Were Burish and Ben Eager "classy" players? Labels can change along with sweaters.
The verdict is definitely out on Carcillo, but Bowman obviously believes the guy is worth a roll of the dice.