Thursday's NHL: Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman pledges to cooperate with investigation

By Stephen Whyno
Associated Press

Chicago Blackhawks executive Stan Bowman pledged Thursday to cooperate with an investigation into allegations that an assistant coach sexually assaulted two players in 2010.

The team’s president of hockey operations and general manager refused to answer a question about a meeting concerning the allegations 11 years ago that he was reported to be part of. Bowman cited ongoing litigation — the Blackhawks face two lawsuits — as well as the investigation being run by a formal federal prosecutor.

Chicago Blackhawks executive Stan Bowman pledged Thursday to cooperate with an investigation into allegations that an assistant coach sexually assaulted two players in 2010.

“The review itself is something that I do plan to participate in and I’m going to give it my full cooperation,” Bowman said. “We have some experts that we brought in. From my understanding these are well-respected people in the legal community, and I intend to fully cooperate with them.”

Bowman has been with Chicago since 2005 and been GM since 2009. The team won the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2016 with him in charge of hockey decisions.

His video news conference prior to the NHL draft was Bowman’s first media availability since the allegations were first reported. Bowman opened by saying the team does not condone sexual assault or harassment.

“We take this very seriously,” Bowman said when asked about the situation. “I take this very seriously. But we have to let the process play itself out. That’s where things are today. We’re going to let this play itself out.”

Longtime Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, now with Florida, said recently he reached out to the organization to say he “will support and participate in the independent review.”

The investigation into one of the NHL’s most high-profile franchises came after the two lawsuits were filed. The first alleges sexual assault by former assistant coach Bradley Aldrich during the team’s run to the 2010 Stanley Cup title, and the second was filed by a former student whom Aldrich was convicted of assaulting in Michigan.

The unidentified former Blackhawks player said Aldrich assaulted him, and that the team did nothing after he informed an employee. The lawsuit, filed on May 7 in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges Aldrich also assaulted another unidentified Blackhawks player. The former player who sued and is seeking more than $150,000 in damages.

According to TSN, two Blackhawks players told then-skills coach Paul Vincent in May 2010 of inappropriate behavior by Aldrich. Vincent said he asked mental skills coach James Gary to follow up with the players and management.

Vincent was called into a meeting with Bowman, then-team President John McDonough, hockey executive Al MacIsaac and Gary the next day, according to TSN, which reported he said he asked the team to report the allegations to Chicago police, and the request was denied.

Vincent has said he stands by everything he said to TSN.

Ice chips

... Forward Barkley Goodrow, who just finished helping the Tampa Bay Lightning win consecutive Stanley Cups, has signed a six-year contract with the New York Rangers.

General Manager Chris Drury announced the signing on Thursday, less than a week after acquiring the rights to the unrestricted free agent from the Lightning for a seventh-round draft pick in 2022.

Goodrow skated in 55 games with Tampa Bay this past season, collecting six goals and 14 assists along with a team-best, plus-16 rating. The 28-year-old, who can play the wing or center, also led the Lightning in hits (111).

In the postseason, Goodrow had two goals and four assists in 18 games, adding 68 hits. He is also an outstanding penalty killer.

Goodrow has played 331 career NHL games over parts of seven seasons with San Jose and Tampa Bay, registering 32 goals and 61 assists. He has won 52% of his career faceoffs.

Prior to joining the Lightning, Goodrow helped the Sharks advance to the Western Conference final in 2018-19. He had the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 7 of the Sharks’ opening-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights that postseason.

... The Philadelphia Flyers shipped one-time cornerstone defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, also throwing in two picks in next year's draft to rid themselves of his salary over the next two seasons.

Moving on from Gostisbehere gives the Flyers about $4.5 million in salary cap relief, setting them up to continue a roster overhaul.

“He is a very good offensive defenseman and an excellent skater. He will be a solid addition to our blue line this season and will be a key power-play player for us," Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong said.

Philadelphia Flyers' Shayne Gostisbehere plays during an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils, Monday, May 10, 2021, in Philadelphia.

Arizona gets second- and seventh-round draft picks in 2022 in addition to Gostisbehere and his contract.

The 28-year-old Gostisbehere had nine goals and 20 points in 41 games with the Flyers in 2020-21. He also scored five power-play goals and had nine power-play points.

Gostisbehere was named as a finalist and finished second in 2016 in the voting for the Calder Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the top rookie in the NHL.

But his play tailed off dramatically after his rookie season and the defenseman simply called “Ghost” in Philly could never regain the spark.

The Flyers missed the playoffs last season and general manager Chuck Fletcher has been busy. Philly traded for Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis last week and the cap space acquired in the Gostisbehere deal is a sign more moves could be on the horizon.

“This was a difficult decision but one we thought was necessary given the reality of the salary cap,” Fletcher said. “Shayne has been a quality player for this organization since the moment he arrived in Philadelphia and has been a part of many special moments in his seven seasons as a Flyer.”

... The San Jose Sharks have re-signed forward Rudolfs Balcers to a two-year contract before he hit the market as a restricted free agent.

The Sharks also signed pending restricted free agent forward Joachim Blichfeld to a one-year deal Thursday.

The 24-year-old Balcers had eight goals and nine assists in 41 games last season after being brought back for a second stint with the Sharks organization after being traded to Ottawa in the Erik Karlsson deal in 2018.

“We were excited to bring Rudolfs back to our organization last season and he became an important part of our lineup in what was his first full NHL season,” general manager Doug Wilson said. “He showed that he is a versatile forward who can provide offense for our club as a Top-9 forward. We are happy to have him."

Balcers has 14 goals and 20 assists in 92 career games with Ottawa and San Jose.

The 22-year-old Blichfeld had one goal in five games with San Jose last season. He also had 12 goals and 10 assists in 25 games in the AHL.