SBD/Issue 206/Franchises

Tallon Out As Blackhawks GM Primarily Due To Free Agent Snafu

Tallon Reassigned To Senior
Advisory Position With Blackhawks
The recent "snafu involving contract procedures with eight unrestricted free agents cost" Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon his job, according to Len Ziehm of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Blackhawks President John McDonough said that the change in leadership probably would not have been made "had it not been for the fiasco last week." McDonough: "We should be better at doing our business. Ultimately, that's on me. It's my mistake." Meanwhile, McDonough yesterday introduced Blackhawks Assistant GM Stan Bowman as GM, despite Bowman also being involved in what McDonough characterized as an "organizational error." Bowman "cited the need for front-office improvement." Bowman: "We need to be better at that, and we will be" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/15). In Chicago, Chris Kuc reports Tallon was "reassigned Tuesday to a senior advisory position" with the team, and notes another factor in the loss of his GM position was a "communications gap between" him and McDonough. Blackhawks Chair Rocky Wirtz said that having a "younger man in the GM position would be a benefit." Wirtz: "We're going to be in a better position by promoting Stan. This is good for Dale, too, in my humble opinion. Stan is 36. We know Stan's abilities. There are a lot of teams that would like Stan to be their GM. ... Dale is 58. We always want younger people. Dale is at the tail end of his business career. I'm at the tail end (and) I'm 56" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/15). McDonough: "People have been talking throughout the last year about some friction between Dale and I. I would say there have been some style differences. I might be characterized as aggressive and assertive, but at the same time calculated. Dale's was every bit as effective; it was just a different approach." McDonough, who was named Blackhawks President in '07, added, "Anytime a new president comes into an organization he has an idea of the type of people he would like. I think that within a period of time that Dale and I worked very effectively together" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 7/15).

NOT JUST ABOUT FREE AGENT SITUATION: SI.com's Allan Muir wrote a "lot of the speculation about this firing will center on the improperly-filed qualifying offers that failed to reach eight of the team's restricted free agents in time," but "no one should think that a GM is actually licking stamps and dropping off contracts in the mail." Tallon, like Bowman, was a "rare holdover" from the era of late Blackhawks Owner Bill Wirtz, but Bowman "had his connections to the new group thanks to the hiring of his father, Scotty, as a senior adviser last summer." Tallon had "no ties to the new regime." The restricted free agent situation "may have led to Tallon being pushed out the window, but he clearly put himself on the sill" (SI.com, 7/14). Chicago Tribune reporter Chris Kuc said of the free agent situation, "I think ultimately they wanted to get rid of Dale Tallon in that job, and I think they used this as the excuse to get rid of him." Kuc: "One thing that I have learned in watching this team since John McDonough took over is what John McDonough wants he gets. If you are not a John McDonough guy, you are going to see the door" ("Chicago Tribune Live," CSN Chicago, 7/14).

TALLON DESERVED BETTER: The GLOBE & MAIL's Eric Duhatschek writes, "This is a bottom-line business and the bottom line in Chicago was that under Tallon's watch as the primary hockey voice, the Blackhawks became relevant again." Bowman is "brand new at this," and the "best thing that can be said for this move is that Bowman can learn a lot from the man he replaced, someone who rid the team of its losing culture and made them a factor again on the Windy City sports scene." Duhatschek: "For that, Tallon deserved a better fate than he received" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/15).

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