Ahem. They got to play it 'till everyone's brain short-circuited.
But that celebration was mostly short-lived. At least for Stan. Because Stan knew deep down inside, that he had a nightmare in front of him. A cap situation that could only be summarized as a clusterfuck on horse steriods. And Stan didn't have any solutions.
Not surprising really. I mean, the dude got the job because his dad is a super-genius that the franchise wanted to attract and keep around. And it's not like they won the cup off of his ingenuity. The roster that took the ice this year had very little to do with him, and everything to do with Dale Tallon, years and years of bottom feeding, and obvious draft picks. So really, no matter how many times the Chicago faithful (all five of them) repeat to themselves that everything will be OK, and they'll find a way out of cap-hell, there isn't really any reason to have faith, or believe that anything other than an utter collapse is imminent.
Today Antti Niemi goes to salary arbitration. In order to fit under the cap, the Hawks are hoping that he's awarded a contract where he has to pay the team about $5 million a year for a decade. They're really relying on the arbitor demanding that Antti sell his family's yam farm (or whatever the hell they grow in Finland) and sacrifice three of his closest relatives to the Spirit of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Otherwise, they're - to put it scientifically - fucked.
This has been causing Stan a great deal of stress. I mean, considering his team actually can't even afford to pay their Stanley Cup winning goaltender the league minimum, he's got to be worried about the perfect storm in front of him. The guy just won a Stanley Cup, goaltenders with less to brag about are signing multimillion dollar awards, and the backup on the same damn team is pulling down $5.6 million a year. That's just hillarious.
Well, it's less hillarious to Stan. He's not taking it so well. In fact, we here at The Winged Wheel have proof. We've got the insight you just don't get elsewhere. Lucky for you I'm currently stuck in enemy territory, and through covert operations I managed to spy on Stan for a whole day, tracking his every move. And without further ado, I present:
"A Day in the Life of Stan Bowman."
- 7:15 am: Chelsea Dagger alarm goes off. Stan blindly reaches up and drops a fist down on the snooze button.
- 8:25 am: 10 "snoozes" later, Stan throws the alarm clock across the room. Pulls a bottle of Grape Burnetts from under his pillow and takes a 45 second swig.
- 8:30 am: Stan rolls out of bed, landing on the floor. Drags himself up and to the kitchen where he pours himself a bowl of Rice Krispies and Wild Turkey. Grabs the Tribune, flips to the Sports section to read another thrilling article designed to teach the Chicago masses about the complicated icing rule they haven't been able to figure out yet.
- 9:00 am: Doorbell rings. Opens to find a gift basket from Atlanta Thrashers's Rick Dudley. Angrily signs and throws it in the corner with decaying flowers he got from the Maple Leafs' Brian Burke.
- 9:15 am: Hot shower and a good long cry.
- 9:45 am: OK, now it's a cold shower. Still crying.
- 10:30 am: Assistant, concerned that he hasn't shown up at the United Center yet, enters to find him shivering in the fetal position of the floor of his still running shower, sobbing uncontrollably. Helps him to his feet, and lets him cry on his shoulder.
- 11:00 am: Managed to finally get dressed in sweatpants and an "I Heart Dad" tee, Stan calls for a cab because he's still drunk from breakfast.
- 11:25 am: Finally convinces the company to send a driver after persistent insistance that despite his affiliation with the Blackhawks, he's really not that close to Patrick Kane.
- 12:00 pm: Arrives at the United Center, passes Huet's agent in the hall. Smiles through grit teeth. Afterward, punches himself in the dick.
- 12:15 pm: More crying.
- 12:30 pm: Listens to 29 voicemails full of hysterical laughter from GM's returning calls about their interest in Cristobal Huet or Brian Campbell.
- 1:00 pm: Assistant enteres office with his usual summer lunch: Three bottles of Tums and a glass full of Whiskey and Nyquil.
- 1:30 pm: Stands on the roof of the United Center, stares down at the earth below for about an hour.
- 2:30 pm: Receives a call from IT, confirming that CapGeek.com has been blocked from the United Center servers.
- 3:00 pm: Meeting with scouting corps going over the affordable prospects. A kid someone found playing street hockey on the south side with a 2 x 4, a tennis ball, and a garbage can seems promising to fill out the fourth line, but his contract demands may be a little high.
- 3:25 pm: Throws darts at large portrait of Dale Tallon. Eventually charges the picture, throwing punches at the drawing's face. Patrick Kane walks by and offers him advice on his form.
- 3:45 pm: Checks in on group of top notch accountants and numbers gurus for an update on their project assignment - reinventing math. Not going well.
- 4:00 pm: Calls Marian Hossa to see if he has dinner plans. Reluctantly agrees that Tomas Kopecky can come too, and that he gets to pick the restaurant.
- 5:00 pm: Dinner at Chuck-E-Cheese. After Hossa threatens to quit, Stan agrees to give Kopecky quarters to play the games. The two share a laugh over a joke about Hossa playing after 40.
- 5:15 pm: Freaks out because he forgot to feed Denis Savard. Calls his assistant to ask him to throw some scraps into the cage he's been kept in since being fired over nothing.
- 6:00 pm: On his walk home, native Chicagoan approaches him, asking "Don't I know you?" Receives puzzled stare after explaining he's associated with a hockey team. Spends 20 minutes describing hockey.
- 7:00 pm: Gets home, calls his dad and begs him to find him a different job. Cries.
- 7:45 pm: Fires up the PS3 to play NHL10. Still can't manage to get through a season without being fired in the Be A GM mode.
- 9:00 pm: Prayer. Deplores the lord to please not let the sun rise in the morning.
- 9:15 pm: Passes out clutching a copy of the pre-lockout CBA, stained with booze and tears
...is it October yet?