If there is anything that is certain in life, it is death, taxes, and the Chicago Blackhawks making a coaching decision this offseason. Any competitive culture established by Joel Quenneville, who was not considered a “Stan Bowman hire,” was quelled by Bowman’s main guy, Jeremy Colliton. Colliton was a good guy (at least he didn’t help cover up sexual misconduct like his predecessor) with good intentions, but the saying goes that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And hell is one way to describe his tenure.
Wow. I am just full of idioms and clichés today. Here’s another one for you: It was gracious for Kyle Davidson to grant Colliton some leash considering how disastrous the team had been under him. Don’t forget, the Blackhawks began the season 1-9-2 with Colliton at the helm. It was clear Davidson was ready to move on, as he only gave him roughly a week to prove his worth, which of course he was unable to do. Then, as you know, Derek King took over and carried out the duty of head coach for the remainder of the season.
Opinions on Derek King are mixed. I think he was remarkable by taking a thankless job that was doomed to fail. He at least restored a culture that prioritized “just playing” hockey. He helped bring along young players, and helped launch Dylan Strome back to prominence after struggling under Colliton. He was a breath of fresh air. But is he the coach of the future?
It would seem that Davidson is going to move expediently. He stated on the Laz and Powers Podcast (Mark Lazerus / Scott Powers of The Athletic) that he wants to make the coaching decision early on and that he would not string Derek King along unnecessarily. Well the first steps have been taken with firings of assistant coaches Marc Crawford and Rob Cookson yesterday (5/1).
As you’ll note, Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times stated that Crawford had been with the Blackhawks organization for three seasons with only one year remaining on his contract. If this suggests anything, it is that no one is safe during the Kyle Davidson rebuild. Not Derek King, not Jonathan Toews, not Patrick Kane. Anybody’s head will roll if Davidson deems it advantageous to the team.
It is unclear at this point who the next head coach will be, or when he will be hired. But I do think that every day that goes by reduces the likelihood of King retaining the position. The firing of Cookson and Crawford is the omen of coaching changes on the rise. I would imagine we will hear some direction soon. So who will it be?