Red Wings Turn to Experience as Blackhawks Turn Away

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 11:  Mike Modano #9 of the Dallas Stars is pursued by Kyle Quincey #27 of the Los Angeles Kings for the puck during the third period at Staples Center on November 11, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings defeated the Stars in a shootout 3-2.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The other day, I wrote about how Cup-winning experience is actually a good thing.

The Blackhawks’ summer payroll purge has resulted in a Cup-winning team jettisoning a decent part of its Cup-winning experience.

And that could wind up being a fatal mistake for Chicago. Obviously, a lot of the experience purge is due to salary cap considerations, and so are — to a certain extent — out of GM Stan Bowman’s hands. But there are still ways to retain talent and experience working within the constraints of the cap.

Experience has come up a few times this week.

The Red Wings signed Cup-winning, 40-year-old Mike Modano to a one-year deal that will see him centering the Wings’ third line.

The Wings are a team that have always treasured success and experience. While I don’t think the move will ultimately pan out for the Wings, I can see where they would want a guy like Modano in the room.

Modano would represent another way to reinforce the principles of hockey success, assuming he plays well enough to be taken seriously.

And of course, Peter Forsberg’s annual retirement reconsideration always draws interest from NHL teams.

Part of that interest is driven by the memories of Forsberg’s immense talents. Some of is driven by the desire to get a deal, the same way people buy garbage at garage sales, hoping it turns out to be a priceless antique. But Forsberg also draws interest because of the experience he brings to a team. While his physical abilities have consistently waned, he still sees the game like very few players. And to a lot of NHL GMs, that makes Forsberg worth the risk.

The Blackhawks are shedding experience and flying in the face of what some other NHL GMs are doing. They’re taking a big risk. Other than the Devils of the 1990s and the NFL’s New England Patriots, there aren’t too many successful teams that dismantle themselves, feeling they have too much success and experience on the roster.

I’m not sure the Blackhawks will be one of those rare exceptions.