Below is an excerpt from General Manager Stan Bowman's interview on the 2014-15 Blackhawks Insider podcast. CLICK HERE or on the SoundCloud file below the hear the complete conversation.
How worried do you get about the fatigue the D-men will endure the rest of this Cup run?
That question seems to come up a lot. We’re not as focused on that, truthfully. Looking at the minutes, I think every team leans on certain guys more than others. I think Anaheim is no different. Maybe we lean on our top four a little bit more than some teams do, but it’s very rare that you are going to get a team that has all six defensemen that play equal minutes. You are always going to have four that play more than others. We had a long layoff, a 10-11 day break there after the Minnesota series, so I think these guys have had a lot of time to recuperate, and it’s way more rest than you ever get during a season. I think before Game 1 we were very fresh; we’ve played a lot of hockey in just the first two games, so it’s something the coaches will continue to monitor. When you are at home you can get the matchups a little bit easier, so I would expect the minutes to be slightly different than they have been for Games 3 and 4. Our guys have been through this before, they’ve played a lot of minutes, and I have confidence in the players and coaches to work that out.
What was the point of recalling four players up from Rockford?
The reason we bring them in is that we like to have some players here as reserves in the event that we get some injuries. We’ve been fortunate to just have one injury to Michal Rozsival, but things can change quickly in a playoff series. If you send all of the players from Rockford home, and they're there for 10 days without doing anything, and all of a sudden you get a rash of injuries and you need somebody, it’s tough for a guy to just jump in when he hasn’t been practicing or doing anything. So that’s the main reason. We didn’t bring a lot of guys up because we do have extra players right now that are candidates that can go in at any point, but we chose the guys we thought would be the best fit in the event that we did run into some injury troubles. The point for them is to just stay fresh, stay on top of their game, be around the team, understand the series and be close to it with the coaching staff and be prepared in the event that we call upon them.
What is the hardest thing to do as a NHL GM in the salary cap era?
The simple answer would be to just keep your team together, just because the cap itself is a challenge when you have a lot of good players and success, then those players earn a lot of money, rightfully so, and as the payroll goes up it is a challenge to try to keep some continuity to your roster. I think you have to try to make sure you are continually drafting young players that are going to be able to contribute to some degree, even if it is just a role player. When you have home-grown players, it's just much better than the alternative when you are trying to go outside the organization and sign free agents. I think we’ve been committing ourselves to that over the past few seasons. Not only drafting, but developing and looking for free agents on the younger side as opposed to the July 1 free agents; we aren’t really in that market, but we are in the free agent market outside of that. I would say that's the biggest challenge.