'I expected Tony to do this, and I wish him nothing but the best,''
Sutter said. ''It's not that the Blackhawks didn't make a good offer.
It's not like we were offering peanuts. There's a lot of money out
there, and Tony will try to get every nickel he can. I don't blame
him. It's the player's right. I won't lose any sleep over this. It's
out of my control. But we do know we've got to replace Tony, and
we've done our homework.''
Sutter shouldn't loose any sleep over this, it isn't his fault. The person who should be having nightmares of Tony Amonte scoring a o.t. goal against his Blackhawks is GM Mike Smith. Smith is the one who refused to trade Amonte. One rumor had Amonte going to the Isles for DiPietro and Isbister. The strange thing is Smith went out on record at the 2000
NHL entry draft and said that DiPietro deserves to be the #1 pick of the draft over Heatley and Gaborik. So what the hell was Smith thinking in not trading Amonte to the Isles. If I was a Hawks fan I would be mighty pissed.
From: billbarrisles [mailto:billbarr@...
Sent: Monday, July 01, 2002 11:49 AM
Subject: [Islanders-Soundtigers] Life after Amonte
July 1, 2002
Hawks prepare to part with sniper
By LEN ZIEHM
Blackhawks coach Brian Sutter wouldn't be surprised if today's start
of the NHL free-agency period resembles last year's.
''Last year, about four of the biggest free agents re-signed with
their teams. Don't be surprised if that happens again,'' Sutter said
after watching a scrimmage on the third day of the Hawks' prospect
camp at The Edge in Bensenville.
He listed today's biggest free agents as Bill Guerin of the Boston
Bruins, Curtis Joseph of the Calgary Flames--who acquired the
goalie's rights Sunday in a trade with Toronto--Teemu Selanne of the
San Jose Sharks, Darius Kasparaitis of the Colorado Avalanche and
Bobby Holik of the New Jersey Devils.
Sutter has no illusions, however, about the departure of his captain.
He expects popular right wing Tony Amonte to sign with another team
within a few days. Contract talks with the Hawks were never amiable.
What the Hawks will do to compensate for Amonte's imminent departure
remains to be seen. Sutter conceded that finding scoring help is the
Hawks' top priority, and general manager Mike Smith made a minor move
to correct that Saturday, trading a fourth-round pick in the 2004 NHL
entry draft to the Montreal Canadiens for left wing Sergei Berezin.
Berezin, 30, is a veteran of 427 NHL games but he's no Amonte. In his
best season--1998-99 with the Toronto Maple Leafs--Berezin had 37
goals and 59 points in 76 games. That was his only 30-goal season,
but he had four seasons of 20 or more. Last season, while splitting
time between the Phoenix Coyotes and Canadiens, Berezin had 11 goals
in 70 games. He also had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens in
Amonte's totals last season were subpar for him--27 goals, 39 assists
in 82 games. He owns the longest active consecutive-games streak in
the NHL (410) and was a 40-goal scorer three times and a 30-goal
scorer eight times prior to last season's dropoff.
''Tony didn't have the year everybody thought he'd have, and part of
the reason is that he's a human being,'' Sutter said. ''You're darn
right it [the expectations and contract talks] affected how he
played. But if I'd let it bother me, it would have affected how the
Even with Amonte's numbers down, the Hawks scored 96 points and ended
a four-year absence from the playoffs.
''We had the best three scoring lines in the league until Stumpy
[Steve Thomas] got hurt,'' Sutter said. ''We want more from our third
and fourth lines.''
Whether the help will come from free agent signees or youngsters,
even some from the prospect camp, is uncertain.
''Three or four of the players out here [in the present camp] are as
good as any teams' young players,'' Sutter said. ''But you have to be
realistic with kids. You have to make sure your bases are covered
with experienced people.''
The best ''experienced people'' would be costly in today's market,
which Sutter described as ''totally'' out of whack. In player
salaries, the Hawks have ranked only in the middle among the NHL's 30
''But we're about one contract away from being in the top five,''
Sutter said. ''Money doesn't buy you happiness. When you spend, you'd
better spend smartly. Spending doesn't mean you're going to win. The
key isn't signing the big-name guys. It's keeping your young guys
This is Islander-Sound Tiger Country.
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