In the end, it appears that blunder cost him his job, as reports out of Chicago early Tuesday morning indicated that Tallon was removed from his position, and replaced by Stan Bowman.
The popular consensus this morning appears to be one of shock and disbelief, and it's hard to disagree. Since taking over in June, 2005, the Blackhawks have had a renaissance of sorts in the Chicago sports landscape, and have once again become one of the top teams in the NHL's Western Conference.
Most, if not all of that is because of Tallon. For example:
December 5, 2005: Traded Matt Ellison and Eric Meloche to the Philadelphia Flyers for Patrick Sharp.
Result: Sharp, 27, has become one of the Blackhawks' best players, scoring 20 goals in each of the past three seasons, including 26 in just 61 games this past season, while Ellison has played just seven games for the Flyers, and none since 2006-07. Meloche never played a game for the Blackhawks, and recorded one goal in 13 games for the Flyers. He too has not played in the NHL since 2006-07.
July 10, 2006: Traded Tom Preissing, John Hennessy, Michal Barinka and a second-round pick to Ottawa for Martin Havlat and Bryan Smolinski.
Result: Another one-sided deal in favor of the 'Hawks, as a journeyman defenseman and two prospects that have never amounted to anything turned into the team's MVP in 2008-09. While he had his problems staying on the ice, and he didn't exactly leave Chicago on a positive note, Havlat scored 64 goals and recorded 161 points in 172 games for Chicago. The day before acquiring Havlat, the Blackhawks traded Mark Bell to San Jose for Hennessy, so, if you want to look at it that way, the trade was actually: Tom Preissing, Mark Bell, Michal Barinka and a second-round pick for Martin Havlat and Bryan Smolinski. It's still a clear win for the Blackhawks.
February 3, 2007: Traded Brandon Bochenski to the Boston Bruins for Kris Versteeg.
Result: Bochenski has played for six teams in four seasons, scoring 24 goals in 128 games. Versteeg, 22, scored 22 goals in 78 games during his rookie season, and was a finalist for the Calder Trophy. Of course, he was part of the qualifying offer mishap this offseason, and recently signed a three-year, $9 million contract.
Prior to taking over as general manager, Tallon worked as an assistant general manager and director of player personal with the Blackhawks. Aside from the players mentioned above, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Dave Bolland, Cam Barker and Dustin Byfuglien were brought into the organization during his tenure in the front office.
Of course, that's not to say it's all been rainbows and lollipops. There have been mistakes, and not just this summer's mishap with the qualifying offers. Tallon has been incredibly bold in free agency, and last year's signings of Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet are looking to be disappointments. Maybe not in terms of talent and ability, but in terms of possible salary cap ramifications. Of course, it's worth pointing out that Stan Bowman, the new general manager, has reportedly been the Blackhawks' "capologist" in recent years.
The jury is still out on this year's 12-year contract given to Marian Hossa (short-term, it looks good ... but let's look at it again in four or five years).
Doesn't it seem like the good kind of outweighs the bad here? If this is because of the qualifying offer's, that seems to be an incredibly over-the-top, knee-jerk reaction, especially since they didn't lose anything in the end.
UPDATE: While it's true that the Blackhawks have removed Tallon from the general manager's position, he hasn't been "fired."
He's been reassigned.
From the Blackhawks' website:
"We are very proud to promote Stan to his new position of General Manager," Blackhawks President John McDonough said. "He brings a comprehensive knowledge of hockey, along with a tremendous intellect and methodical approach to building a successful team and sustaining success. His involvement with our organization and strong understanding of our roster and our system create a very natural and strong transition. Dale will continue to be an important part of our organization, as he has been for many years."Tallon will stay on as senior advisor of hockey operations.