Yesterday was another banner day for the Chicago Blackhawks.
With regards to the ongoing investigation into the team/their handling of the 2010 alleged sexual abuse and harassment of two former players by former video coach Brad Aldrich, as well as the lawsuit brought against them by a former Michigan high school student regarding a 2013 sexual assault involving Aldrich, the Blackhawks are looking to use what was or was not their legal duties in the case as their defense.
I’m not well-versed in the inner-workings of our full legal system, but to me it appears that the team is using a defense of just throwing their hands up and saying, “wasn’t our problem.” Maybe that’s too simplistic of a summary, maybe it’s not entirely correct, but that how they come off from a layman’s perspective.
• I was sitting at home yesterday, watching TV with my wife around 1:30 in the afternoon. I turned towards her and started to stare at our fireplace behind the couch she was sitting on. She looked back at me and asked, “What’s up?” Normally that question would be answered by me saying I’m pondering what to do for dinner or if I should go for a run later, or what players the Blackhawks will protect in the Expansion Draft. But yesterday, I just had a feeling. “I just feel like there’s going to be a hammer dropping today and I don’t like this feeling.” I told her, in regards to the Blackhawks current situation. A Friday afternoon in July? Feels like the perfect time for a news dump.
• I’m not patting myself on the back, but my feeling was correct. Yesterday, around 3:30 p.m. CT, four different pieces of news and new developments were reported regarding the sexual assault cases again the the team.
New Developments in Blackhawks Sexual Assault Cases: A Motion to Dismiss and Morehttps://t.co/LbsZHGqvve
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) July 9, 2021
• The Blackhawks made a motion to dismiss the lawsuit stemming from the 2013 incident, stating that the student cannot prove that the Blackhawks provided positive employment recommendations for Aldrich after he left the club in 2010.
• We also learned that the players involved in the lawsuit from the 2010 incident will not be cooperating with the “independent review” that the Blackhawks are paying for to be done by Chicago Law Firm Jenner & Block.
• It also came out that the advocacy group “Army of Survivors,” formed by the Larry Nassar abuse survivors, has called upon the U.S. Olympic Committee to suspend Stan Bowman from being the General Manager of Team USA’s 2022 Men’s Olympic Hockey team unless/until they investigate and clear him of these current allegations against him and the Blackhawks.
• And we learned that the Blackhawks’ likely main point of defense in the cases against them from the alleged 2010 incident will likely hinge on the fact that, since the player was not a minor, disabled, or in an elderly care facility, they were not legally required to report anything.
Basically, the Hawks say that since the Blackhawks player Aldrich allegedly assaulted in 2010 was not a minor, not disabled and not in a care facility, management didn't have to report it. Here's the full paragraph: pic.twitter.com/DiypBrYtor
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) July 9, 2021
• A reminder that the legal compass and moral compass often do not point in the same direction.
• This defense may actually get the Blackhawks off the hook, but again as I stated before, I’m not a lawyer. Just like I got the sense that something newsworthy was going to drop yesterday afternoon, I am getting the sense that somehow the organization is going to come away without an legal responsibility for what may or may not have happened to the former players in 2010 and will also avoid legal issues with the case from the incidents in 2013. I get a sick feeling that the team will get out of all this, and within that same feeling, I get the sense that no further repercussions will be levied against the team or the front office.
• While the team may get off the hook legally, the court of public opinion, as Satchel Price of the Chicago Sun-Times puts it, will not let them off that easily.
The Blackhawks seem determined to win these legal battles at all costs but in the court of public opinion they’re shaming themselves and showing how little has changed in the last 11 years https://t.co/VQH4Sj9oKP
— Satchel Price (@SatchelPrice) July 10, 2021
• This is the same organization that still gets Patrick Kane’s many off-ice incidents thrown at them, still gets calls for the name and logo to change every day, is harped on for racism by fans and former coaches, and still has a statue of Bobby Hull outside of the United Center. These stories from 2010 and everything that happened afterwards with Brad Aldrich will never be scrubbed from the team’s reputation, especially if the Blackhawks come away with no punishment.
• All this happening while the team is trying to navigate the Seattle Expansion Draft and the NHL Entry Draft coming up this month. Blackhawks General Manager and President of Hockey Operations Stan Bowman is going to be front and center, representing the Blackhawks at these mega offseason events, unless somehow that changes in the next two weeks. It’s just hard to picture that right now.
How in the actual hell is Stan Bowman going to go in front of microphones and cameras in the next few days for the Expansion and Entry Drafts?
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) July 9, 2021
• Not only that, Bowman is currently at the helm of a team trying to trade one of their most storied players of all-time, Duncan Keith. Bowman has a track record that doesn’t shine brightly when it comes to impactful trades. What we’ve heard so far since Keith asked to be moved out, is the Edmonton Oilers are the most likely trading partner with Chicago, but that the two sides are trying to play every card they have to make a deal work.
• Edmonton wants the Blackhawks to retain salary on Keith, and the Blackhawks want a prime player in return. So you can see why the teams are having a hard time meeting in the middle. Edmonton will not want to give away a young talent and the Blackhawks don’t want to spend money they don’t think they have to.
• In Elliotte Friedman’s latest 31 Thoughts, he reports that the Blackhawks have been looking for either of two young talents from the Oilers in a trade involving Keith…
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) July 10, 2021
• Understandably, the Oilers have so far said “no” to those offers. So we continue to wait as the back-and-forth continues.
• There’s always a chance that the Blackhawks end up just NOT trading Keith at all if a deal doesn’t make sense. But at that point, already knowing that he was shopped on the market, it would be likely that Keith’s time with the Blackhawks starting next season would already be counting down to the trade deadline.
So per Frank Seravelli, the Hawks won't retain on Keith and as a result the Oilers have reduced their offer.
(i.e. what I said about expecting the Oilers to offer positive asset(s) for a full salary Keith with no cap dump the other way looks about right)
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 9, 2021
• You know, yesterday I mentioned Bo Burnham’s “Inside” standup special and again today, I have another reference to it. In his song, appropriately titled “Shit” he starts by asking how everyone is feeling tonight? He replies with how he is feeling, “I am not feeling good.” And that is exactly how I would express my feeling surrounding the Blackhawks currently. Not feeling good. At all.
• Deep breath. Enjoy this moment of Zen from Stephen Johns.
• Elsewhere in Blackhawks news, today is Reese Johnson’s 23rd Birthday!
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) July 10, 2021
• In league news, the NHL will hold a virtual GM’s meeting to go over the rules of the upcoming Expansion Draft. Protection lists are due on Saturday, July 17th.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 10, 2021
• In back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning news, Barclay Goodrow had some fun at the expense of Damien Cox. Which is always a welcomed chuckle.
Sooo how bout now?? https://t.co/aFtda9qq7M
— Barclay Goodrow (@bgoodrow23) July 10, 2021
• And speaking of the COVID postseason bubble and that leading into this season, it appears that Canadian officials wanted stricter guidelines and protocols from the NHL heading into this season regarding their handling of COVID.
Canada wanted stricter virus protocols from NHL https://t.co/xVM2Lodpu6
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) July 9, 2021
• Luckily, Canada is starting to catch-up to the United States in terms of vaccinations and by the start of the season in October, we should be as back to normal as we’ve ever been with regards to the NHL season.
• And finally, mixing offseason golf and hockey, Mike Modano with an incredible shot at the American Century Championship…
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) July 10, 2021
• I need to hit the links.
• That will do it for today. Go enjoy your Saturday!
• REMINDER: Be sure to send in your questions for Monday’s Mailbag segment! Use the hashtag #BNHawksMailbag on Twitter or send them to Mario.tirabassi at bleacher nation dot com.