Blackhawks didn't have to shed cash to sign Big Three

Finally we have an answer to at least some of the salary cap dilemmas the Chicago Blackhawks are facing. But perhaps more important to this season, we have answers to the dilemmas they aren't facing.

It turns out no money had to be shed to sign the Big Three -- Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith -- but general manager Stan Bowman acknowledges it was a very complicated process that included constant consultation with the league.

“We spent days going over this with the league,” Bowman said. “It is a pretty intricate process, the way they count things. And as a result we spent a lot of time with the league making sure we understood how they computed it and making sure that everything would work and it did.”

Sources say Keith’s camp wanted his contract submitted to the league before it was signed so they didn’t run into any problems in the way Marian Hossa ’s contract is being scrutinized after the fact. That added another layer to the whole deal.

Bowman admits to what we all know: this summer there will be some shedding of salaries. But for now, Bowman was emphatic, “We can play with this team the rest of the year.”

In fact, Bowman is hoping, if a piece needs to be added, the Hawks will have the wherewithal to do what they need. With the trade deadline still several months away, there is time to figure all that out. It sounds like the fans and players aren’t the only ones glad this chapter is over.

“It is confusing so I don’t blame anybody but at the same time the important thing is we are able to do this and we’re comfortable with where we are at,” Bowman said. “Now we can move forward.”