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Following the lockout of the 2004-2005 season, new General Manager Dale Tallon set about restructuring the team in the hopes of making a playoff run. Tallon made several moves in the summer of 2005, most notably the signing of Stanley Cup-winning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and All-Star defenseman Adrian Aucoin. However, injuries plagued Khabibulin and Aucoin (among others), and the Chicago Blackhawks again finished with one of the worst records in the league (26-43-13). A somber note was struck in February of 2004, when ESPN named the Blackhawks the worst franchise in professional sports.
The Chicago Blackhawks reached another low point on May 16, 2006, when they announced that longtime tv/radio play-by-play announcer Pat Foley, the voice of the Hawks for 25 years, was not going to be brought back for a 26th year, a move unpopular amongst most Blackhawks fans.
Despite GM Tallon's desperate moves, the Chicago Blackhawks finished 14th in the Western Conference in 2005-06. Their reward? They picked up talented young forward Jonathan Toews third overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
Tallon made another step in the right direction on July 11th, 2006, when the Chicago Blackhawks acquired left winger Martin Havlat and center Bryan Smolinski from the Ottawa Senators in a three team deal that involved the San Jose Sharks. The 'Hawks dealt Mark Bell to the Sharks, Michal Barinka and a 2008 2nd round draft pick to the Senators, while Ottawa also received defenseman Tom Preissing and center Josh Hennessey from San Jose. Havlat gives them the talented, 1st-line caliber gamebreaker they so desperately needed. The Havlat trade was soon followed by another significant change to the Blackhawk line up, wing Kyle Calder was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for center Micheal Handzus.
The move caused a stir in Chicago. Calder had won an increase in his contract through arbitration, but rather than ink their leading scorer, the Chicago Blackhawks decided to address their need for a proven center by acquiring Handzus.
Nevertheless, the team has still not won the Cup since 1961, the longest drought of any current NHL team.
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