CHICAGO (AP) - General manager Stan Bowman won't be strapped by pressing salary cap concerns as he was a year ago when the Chicago Blackhawks were coming off a Stanley Cup title.
Chicago jettisoned 10 players who played roles in the championship and it took time for the new players to mesh this season, resulting in a slow start that left the Blackhawks scrambling to make the playoffs. They were eliminated in the first round after a seven-game series against the Vancouver Canucks, the league's top team in the regular season.
Now the Blackhawks are sorting through their season and Bowman's top priority will be re-signing goalie Corey Crawford. He beat out veteran Marty Turco for the No. 1 job and then played well in the first-round series, including an overtime loss in Game 7. Crawford is one of the team's restricted free agents.