HawkCast: Hawks Insider With President John McDonough
/ Chicago Blackhawks
Steven from Buffalo Grove: Do the Blackhawks have all the pieces of a Stanley Cup winning team right now? If they acquire a second line center or any top six forward do we look like a team destined for the cup?
McDonough: We have been invited by the National Hockey League to open the season in Prague next year. Some details still need to be worked out, no decision has been finalized. If it all comes together and we come to an agreement on terms there is a very strong chance that the Blackhawks will open in Prague next year. It’s going to give us an international, stronger international appeal. We are flattered that the league has invited us to participate. So if in fact we conclude the details there is a very good chance that will happen ...
The NHL is very savvy in their marketing and they understand that having one of the Original 6 teams in a major market, going over the Europe and playing a game would probably have a very strong appeal. Chicago is an international city - the Blackhawks are on the rise – it makes all the sense in the world. I would think those are factors and team performance has been better. We’re thrilled to be on the invitation list so we will see.
Ralf Larwig from Germany: I'm a die hard Hawksfan from Germany. Now I've heard that the Hawks probably will open the 2009/2010 season against the Panthers in Prague/Czech Republic. This would be a great opportunity for me to see my favorite NHL-Team live. Do you know some details yet?
McDonough: Well the realistic expectations for this year is to make the playoffs. We talked about that earlier in the season when we created the ‘One Goal’ campaign. This was something that was a thread that weaved throughout the entire organization. Step one is to make the playoffs, you can’t win the Stanley Cup or you can’t go deep in the playoffs if you don’t make them and we haven’t done that now for I believe eight years. So let’s get there first and then worry about where we go once we get there. We’ve said this before the ultimate goal of this franchise is to win the Stanley Cup. It’s also a goal of this franchise to be good and to stay good. So both of these are priorities for us right now. I am very happy with the job that the hockey operations people have done. Dale and Stan and Al MacIsaac and Scotty Bowman, who has also played a major role, and Rick Dudley. All of these people have put this very good young team together. Without really having a time table on it that would be my answer.