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Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman focused on Final, not trades

Updated: June 20, 2013 12:26AM



BOSTON — With the NHL draft only 10 days away in Newark, N.J., general managers across the league surely are spending plenty of time on the phone tossing around trade possibilities.

Not Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman, however. He has more pressing issues to worry about.

“Teams are understanding we’re still playing,” Bowman said after Wednesday’s GM meeting in Boston. “I talked to a lot of the guys there, and they said, ‘We haven’t bothered you.’ … It’s hard to talk about making moves when you’re still playing. Your focus is there, and I don’t think you can concentrate on [moves] as much as you need to in order to give it fair treatment. I think this is the way it is every year in terms of the teams that are still playing. You tend to get to them when the season’s over.”

The draft — which will be held June 30, all in one day — is typically a hotbed for wheeling and dealing simply because all the GMs are in one place together, and the possibility of acquiring and dealing draft picks lends some urgency that the rest of the summer does not.

Bowman suggested the Hawks could be active during the draft. They have several pending free agents — Nick Leddy and Marcus Kruger are restricted, Bryan Bickell, Viktor Stalberg, Michal Rozsival, Ray Emery, Michal Handzus and Jamal Mayers are unrestricted — and the salary cap is dropping from $70.2 million to $64.3 million.

The Hawks also don’t have a second- or third-round pick in this year’s draft because of the Johnny Oduya trade last season.

“We’re always looking,” Bowman said. “The draft’s an important part, so if you can acquire picks, that’s good. That’ll play itself out over the next 10 days.”

Bowman declined to say whether the Hawks are in negotiations with any of their pending free agents, saying there will be plenty of time between the end of the Final and the July 5 start to free agency.

In other news at Wednesday’s meeting, the GMs approved all the recommendations put forth by the NHL Competition Committee, including making visors mandatory for all incoming rookies and testing out hybrid icing in the preseason. Hybrid icing — the details of which are still to be worked out — is designed to eliminate violent, dangerous collisions at the end boards on races for the puck.

Players union special assistant Mathieu Schneider said the league also is looking to crack down on diving, but that there are a lot of “gray” areas that make legislating embellishment difficult.



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