Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman went all in at the trade deadline. He made some odd moves (Kimmo Timonen) and a few that made sense.
Of the latter, he acquired Antoine Vermette to sure up the ‘Hawks down the middle. Perhaps in preparation for a series like the one he’s playing in now against Anaheim’s two Ryans.
In order to get pending UFA from the Arizona Coyotes, Bowman had to pay a steep, steep price. Chicago parted with their 2015 first round pick and heralded prospect pick Klas Dalbeck. In return, they received a prized rental center who had 35 points in 63 games with the fledgling Coyotes.
Instead of lighting up the Blackhawks, Vermette sputtered recording only 3 assists in 19 games. His lack of offense bled into the playoffs with 2-points through 10 games played.
Following the marathon triple overtime Game 2, where Vermette played 21:14, the lowest time on ice of the forwards, he learned he would be scratched for Game 3. Naturally he was not thrilled with the decision and his emotion took over.
“I thought I had a good game. I was playing well. So it came as a surprise and disappointment,” the 32-year-old Vermette said. “I’m not going to lie — I was not happy with that. But my job is to be ready whenever I have a chance to be in the lineup — and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Asked if he felt tired after the triple-overtime victory in Game 2, Vermette’s curt response said it all: “Nope.”
The ‘Hawks dropped Game 3 and Vermette found himself back in the lineup the next game. And just like the storyline of a cheesy movie, he went from zero to hero in Game 4; scoring the game winning goal in double-OT to even the series against the Ducks.
In his post game press conference, head coach Joel Quenneville acknowledged Vermette’s frustration and later success, “… You can understand where he was at. Very disappointed. He’s a great pro. Stayed with it … I’m glad he finished it for us. That was a huge goal for us. Huge, goal, huge.”
As for Vermette, he deflected the story from him to the team, “… at this time of the year, you don’t want to make an individual or a personal story. The main focus is about the team’s success. That’s all that matters. I’m glad we won tonight … The emotion [of being scratched], it’s not a pleasant one. As a proud competitor, like anybody else on this team, you want to be part of the team. You think you can help the team. I think that’s a natural emotion to get. At the same time very supportive of the group. Hopeful we get a couple more wins here.”
Emotion. The thing that brought him headlines when he was scratched, became something he reveled in after Game 4.
“Emotion, in the corner, it was pretty fun. This is a fun group. We had a good celebration. Hopefully we can do that again.”