Minnesota Wild winger Martin Havlat's Twitter jabs at his former team the Chicago Blackhawks this summer have tantalized fans for weeks, as he promised "the real story" about his treatment by the Hawks as a free agent would one day be revealed. The tease reached critical mass this week, as Havlat responded forcefully to the removal of "father figure" Dale Tallon as general manager:
"Lot's of people are telling me to stay quiet but shouldn't the fans know the truth? It's your loyalty, season ticket money and emotions here."
As B.D. Gallof wrote this morning on The Faster Times, Havlat unleashed "a couple of shots that reverberate through the dull din and awaken the hockey fans and writers from the doldrums of a quiet Tuesday afternoon."
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The problem with his criticism of the Blackhawks' management this summer was that it was becoming a tease: a series of pointed innuendos unsupported by critical details.
The minute a player claims that a fan should reconsider his or her season-ticket commitment to that player's former employer, it's the player's responsibility to go beyond 140 characters on Twitter and spill the truth. Anything less would reach the level of unprofessionalism Havlat himself has alleged the Blackhawks have engaged in during his negotiation.
To that end, we offered Havlat, through his agent, an unfiltered forum here on Puck Daddy for an op-ed piece explaining his comments about the Blackhawks. Honestly, we just wanted to hear the rest of the story -- here or anywhere else.
Luckily for Blackhawks fans and for those following this Twitter drama, Havlat decided to speak candidly with Darren Dreger of TSN; the resulting story brings his bitter, candid thoughts this summer into focus.
The removal of Tallon as GM, in favor of assistant GM Stan Bowman, has been portrayed as a political move by Blackhawks team president John McDonough. Despite public lauding of Tallon's efforts, McDonough has had to fight back rumors that he wanted to remove Tallon from the general manager's position has far back at last year.
From Havlat, via Dreger, the office politics between Tallon and McDonough are brought to light:
"My negotiation with Chicago was not between Dale and my agent, it was between Dale and McDonough. Why? Because McDonough couldn't stand that Dale was so successful and getting the credit for building the Hawks from a last place team to making the Conference Finals in 3 short years. Remember, we were also the youngest team in the NHL last year," Havlat said.
"I was too closely identified with Dale. McDonough knew long ago he was going to fire Dale. He wanted someone he could claim as his own. He wanted to stand up at the convention and claim credit for signing this guy or that guy."
So petty jealously, then? The strongest statement about Tallon, McDonough and loyalty:
"Every single player on that team is with Dale. I still talk to the guys all the time, hockey players know a phony when they see one."
Ouch. As for his Tweet about season-ticket holders reconsidering their options, Havlat said:
"It's up to the fans now to be heard on this. If you care about the direction of the team, do something about it."
If Tallon had followed that advice weeks ago, it would have made a stronger statement than Havlat could ever make.
Kudos to Havlat for going on the record, and going on the record strongly, regarding this issue. Supposedly, McDonough is due on the Danny Mac Show on 670 The Score today (via NHL Digest) for comment. We'll have coverage when it happens.