This has been a game changing week for the Chicago Blackhawks. For starters the team went 0-3-0 in the games from October 31st until November 6th, a truly devastating road trip that brought back flashbacks of last season. The other monumental move has been the firing of Head Coach Joel Quinneville for Jeremy Colliton, a 33-year-old coach coming up from the Rockford IceHogs.
On October 31st, the Hawks headed north to Vancouver to face the Canucks. Prior to the game Patrick Kane was removed from the line up due to illness, and during this game, the Hawks could have used their points leader. The Hawks lost 2-4 to the Canucks, a game that was tied until 9 minutes into the 3rd.
Next stop, Edmonton. It was sad to say that even though Patrick Kane was back, he wasn’t truly back. There was a lack of energy coming from the Blackhawks, all the energy they did have was being used on racking in penalty minutes (21 PIM). The first period went scoreless, but Edmonton answered twice per period, ending the game in a 0-4 loss for the Blackhawks.
Last stop for this trip was Calgary where the Flames were lying in wait for a battle. The Flames started the scoring but pretty soon the Hawk were able to take the lead. The Hawks were able to maintain a steady lead until 14 minutes had already passed in the third period. The Flames scored three in a row, causing the Hawks to lose 5-3.
Each game had a feel of last season’s monstrosity. The absence of a great player, a defeat that was disheartening, and a game that could have been won but was lost due to lack of defense. There are consequences of course to a streak like this that led the Hawks to be 6-6-3 and it seems that drastic measures were taken.
Coach Q Fired
Nearly 3 days following the Hawks’ defeat to Calgary, Stan Bowman pulled a (dumb) move that shocked fans and sports analysts alike. Bowman fired Joel Quinneville, the Head Coach of the Chicago Blackhawks for a decade. Joel had won 3 Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks and had a record of 452-249-96.
I’ll be honest, I’m still in shock. Quinneville has done so much for this town and you fire him 16 games into the season. Of course it can be argued that following last season’s disappointing end that there is motive to drop him, but just 16 games in? It makes no sense.
Players met their new coach, Jeremy Colliton for their first team practice with him. Colliton coached the IceHogs, Chicago’s AHL team last season when they went 40-23-4-4, and he was appearing in his sophomore season when promoted. Colliton was drafted to the New York Islanders and appeared in 57 NHL games. Barry Smith, a snake, has been named the assistant, in place of Ulf Samuelsson (Ulfy no!) and Kevin Dineen. Smith created a power struggle between Quinneville and Bowman over the past 6 seasons.
It seems that there is mixed emotions when it comes to the new coach and his assistant. Patrick Kane seemed to be taking the firing hard on himself, tearing up a bit in a post game interview at practice:
“When I first heard the news, I was just kind of thinking, you know, ‘I wish I wasn’t sick that game in Vancouver, I wish I maybe felt good on that road trip. Could have played better and maybe something like this doesn’t happen.’ Kinda the thoughts running through your head.”
Can you hear my heart snapping? Kane is the points leader so far this season for the Hawks and he’s still taking responsibility. Say what you want about young Kaner but this boy is a grown up now, taking the responsibility that a whole team should carry because it isn’t on one guy.
I like to be positive, I don’t like when people are so negative regarding sports, so maybe this change in coaching won’t be as bad as we think. Something may turn out well but we don’t know for certain just yet. The Hawks play again Thursday October 8th against the Carolina Hurricanes at 7:30 PM CT.