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FlightZone: Bryan Bickell Still a Chicago Blackhawk

Stan, don't you dare trade him before this post goes up.

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And we're straight to the news today. I've left enough links to last all weekend, just in case I manage to escape the AIH Cheveldungeon™ before tomorrow's FlightZone.

Central Division

The annual 'Hawks Convention featured Chicago fans lining up to see Bryan Bickell as a Blackhawk for the last time. (WLS-TV)

Meanwhile, the words "training camp" have begun to seep into the Marcus Kruger negotiations. I wish they'd hurry up and get this over with so that we can start using Kruger as a contract comparable. (ESPN)

Just when I thought I was out of Mile High Sticking articles, they pull me back in with one on possible d-pairing combos. Given the options, I like the idea of a Holden - Redmond 3rd pairing, which of course means it'll be Stuart - Guenin because Avalanche. (MHS)

Between Tyler Seguin, Patrick Sharp and now Johnny Oduya, Magic Mike: Hock3y (working title) looks to be greenlit and in pre-production. (Dallas Morning News)

Radek Faksa has had a tough road since being drafted 13th overall in 2012. The NHL is a hard league, but we sometimes forget the absolute slog it can be to get there in the first place. (NHL)

A four year deal could be a win-win for both Nashville and Craig Smith. The past couple of years have served to solidify him as a solid top-six option in the Music City. (The Tennessean)

BREAKING NEWS: Stable ownership and a fair amount of on-ice success can lead to increased attendance and improved financial footing. (Memphis Daily News)

So who's looking forward to Kevin Shattenkirk making more than Alex Pietrangelo in a few seasons? Which isn't to take anything away from the Captain Kirk - William Shatner love child; he is pretty good. (GreenwichTime)

It's time for a sneak preview of Troy Brouwer, St. Louis Blue. (RMNB)

And in Jetslandia:

Pacific Division

Josh Cooper expands on a one-line thought I had: how the Kesler deal is indicative of a team determined to win while their perceived window is open, regardless of the future headaches. (Yahoo! Sports)

Speaking of which, I don't think Rob Vollman holds the Kesler deal in especially high-esteem:

Including but not limited to Nick Merkley, Kyle Capobianco, Adin Hill and Conor Garland, the Arizona Coyotes had a solid draft beyond Dylan Strome. (Hockey's Future)

While I think I know what he meant, the line from Dave Tippett about giving "More attention to the people that we think matter" still makes me cringe. Though there definitely are a whole slew of prospects who could be rocking the brick red next season. (Peoria Times)

I feel like Dougie Hamilton's quote of "...I always thought I was going to be a Bruin for life" runs contrary to a lot of reports which came out of Boston. Now I don't know what to believe. (Sportsnet)

I'm not a fan of this new reality where Michael Frolik talking about winning goes under the Pacific Division heading. Yes I'm still bitter. (NHL)

Tyler Pitlick seems painfully close to a breaking point between putting it all together and becoming an NHL afterthought. (Edmonton Journal)

Joining Pitlick on the newly re-signed float is defender Brandon Davidson, and we have been given this fancy new organizational depth chart to celebrate. It makes for a very interesting scan; our long-suffering Oilers brethren are right to call Eetu Laurikainen "A great damn bet". (Lowetide)

Talks regarding an Anze Kopitar contract extension have begun, and are apparently LA's "highest and most forefront priority". They're also rumoured to be vital, imperative, fundamental to the team's future success, and really, really important. (LA Kings Insider)

The Daniil Tarasov era in San Jose ends before it ever began. (The Hockey News)

Our Shark-obsessed frenemies have broken down their team's five most difficult road trips. The Winnipeg Jets feature in exactly none of them. (Blades of Teal)

Prospects at the Vancouver Canucks development camp played blindfolded dodgeball. Click the link and enjoy the video in all its glory. (Sportsnet)

Atlantic Division

Straight from the Sweeney's mouth, the Bruins are still in conversations with a couple of free agents. Anything that might push Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid further down the depth chart is probably a good idea. (MassLive)

The battle for Boston's backup position continues, at least until the Bruins sign Jonas Gustavsson. (NESN)

Look, it's absolutely fantastic that Zac Rinaldo is holding this 3rd annual charity event in Hamilton today, one complete with a kids' 3 on 3 ball hockey tournament, gala dinner and patio afterparty. My only quibble is having to hunt down completely separate websites to find out where the proceeds are going. (Fight For A Cause)

It's the lowest of the low bars, but Johan Larsson was one of Buffalo's best forwards last season. He had the 3rd highest 5v5 Close CF% Rel. on the team, and his most common linemates were better when playing with him in all 5v5 situations. Look for Larsson to be a quietly excellent part of Buffalo's rebuild, which is good because he has nothing left to prove in the AHL. (Buffalo News)

I hadn't even thought of the "irony" that Ryan O'Reilly hit a Tim Hortons, nor do I enjoy any angle of it. Let's be thankful that no one was hurt, hope that O'Reilly receives any help he needs and expect a stern punishment for his egregious decision. (Buffalo News)

It's a hard-knock life for Anthony Mantha. He has one bad season complete with a fractured right tibia, and folks start pegging Tyler Bertuzzi and Andreas Athanasiou ahead of him on the depth chart. (MLive)

Mike McKee hasn't yet gone the way of Rasmus Bodin and become a footnote in Detroit draft history, but the clock's ticking. (Detroit Free Press)

The legend lives on of a mysterious General Manager who saved Toronto from themselves by signing Dave Bolland to a completely ridiculous contract. With a copious amount of GIFs, here's a look at how Dave Bolland failed both the eye-test and fancy stats evaluation in 2014-15. (Litter Box Cats)

Beaulieu's spot in the top-six is likely secured, along with Markov, Subban, Petry, Emelin and Gilbert. But the final NHL spot is going to be a veritable knife fight between Pateryn, Tinordi and Barberio, all of whom require waivers to be sent down. (Montreal Gazette)

Surely Marc Bergevin is but waiting for the right moment to sign Alex Semin? Montreal better have some sort of increased goal-scoring game plan, or else here's to another season of Carey Price saving their bacon. (Sportsnet)

Ottawa definitely deserves an A grade for the return they got for Robin Lehner. And say what you will about  Sabres GM Tim Murray, but the man acts decisively when he has faith in a player. (HockeyBuzz)

The Lightning are laughably stacked at forward, including 2011 1st round draft selection Vladislav Namestnikov. It's important to note that while re-signed to a two-way contract, Name is no longer waiver exempt and I can't imagine he would successfully clear. (Tampa Bay Lightning)

Tampa Bay's 2010 draft class was rather mediocre now that (almost) everything's said and done, but it's important to note that this is before Stevey Y was able to wave his magic wand at the scouting staff. (Raw Charge)

Corey Pronman played the role of soother for any Leaf fans who may still be having a conniption over drafting Mitch Marner and/or the Phil Kessel trade. (Maple Leafs Hot Stove)

There may be a market for Roman Polak, but the Leafs are probably married to Stephane Robidas until his deal expires. Fun. "Contracts, Imprisoning me, All that I see, Absolute horror". (Editor In Leaf)

Metropolitan Division

Columbus' top-nine should be good enough to make up for giving Gregory Campbell a roster spot. Err, I mean, wow. Such penalty kill. Much grit. Very toughness. (BlueJacketsXtra)

Newly re-signed prospect Stefan Matteau has never been a 1st round selection I've been overly fond of, though 2012 was not exactly a draft overflowing with options. Their 2nd round pick looks like a keeper though, and at least Stefan's last name will never cease to send chills down my spine. (ProHockeyTalk)

Yesterday, I mentioned how I had yet to hear of any development camp disasters. Devils' Head Coach John Hynes chewing out prospects is probably the closest we'll get. Also, my goodness does it ever sound like Vojtech Mozik just can't catch a break. (Fire and Ice)

In what is still a tough pill to swallow for some folks, Garth Snow is actually a pretty good GM. (CBS New York)

Antti Raanta sounds like he was down in the dumps after being traded from Chicago to the Rangers. And by down in the dumps, he actually said, "I was so excited. I was ready to pack my bags and come right there". Hopefully he can spin being Lundqvist's understudy into a Cam Talbot-like opportunity. (Blueshirts United)

R.J. Umberger, Vincent Lecavalier, Andrew MacDonald and Luke Schenn add up to $17.7 million against the cap in 2015-16. All but Luke Schenn and his $3.6 million remain under contract in 2016-17. The question will rapidly become which Philadelphia player or prospect manages to make Andrew MacDonald's millstone of a contract even remotely palatable. (ProHockeyTalk)

Mark Friedman is not that player, but he's the kind of organizational depth that will make it easier to part with whoever is. (CSN Philly)

Olli Määttä sounds optimistic both about being ready for training camp and arriving there with a good level of conditioning. With the departures of Christian Ehrhoff and Paul Martin, and Rob Scuderi still on the roster, the Penguins better keep their fingers and toes crossed. (TribLIVE)

With Tom Wilson, Michael Latta, Liam O'Brien, Zach Sill and now Chris Brown all in the organizational fold, one expects the team's "Batman v Superman: Superhero Face Punch" themed Halloween party to be a rousing success. (Washington Post)

And Those Who Remain

Get your right-click ready to "Save image as...", courtesy of this extremely handy chart from the AHL. Is anyone else tempted to recite this like a multiplication table before going to bed? No, just me? Okay then:

This story of how Bryan Berard and others were robbed of their savings is just brutal. (National Post)

Dreams of multiple expansion applications from the Seattle area seem to be vanishing before our eyes. Funny how a $500+ million expansion fee and lack of an arena will do that. (KING5)

Speaking of absentee arenas, I get the feeling Ken Campbell doesn't think too highly of Markham's decision-making back in December of 2013. It is a shame they didn't even get to the Kansas City stage of missed opportunity. Though in all seriousness, the article's points are valid. (The Hockey News)

It has been a mildly bizarre offseason, and the continued availability of Brad Boyes is simply another example. (TSN)

And finally, the great Martin Ručinský has retired at the age of 44. He's been away from the NHL for long enough that we forget he had 612 points in 961 games. (IIHF)

Thanks for reading! To reward you for scrolling all the way to the end, here is an extremely bright video of a cannon firing. You can imagine who it's from: