ANALYSIS: Blackhawks make it all but official—The Rebuild is on

  
The Rink bowmanandquenneville-e1522955191942 ANALYSIS: Blackhawks make it all but official—The Rebuild is on rebuild Quenneville Colliton Bowman Blackhawks Barry Smith

 

My partner Gatekeeper and I theorized, a number of weeks back on the RinkCast, around the possibility of Jeremy Colliton replacing Joel Quenneville as head coach of the Blackhawks during this season. To be fair, and honest, while both of us felt Colliton’s matriculation was likely at some point in the future, neither of us saw it in the cards during this season.

But, there you go.

And there’s a lot to unpack here, obviously.

First, Quenneville and his staff are taking the blame for the Blackhawks’ 6-6-3 start and 3-game losing streak that foreshadows what could be a miserable November stacked with quality opponents.

And it does beg the question: did Q suddenly devolve from being a Hall of Fame coach, or is this roster arguably the worst he’s had to work with in 10 years? The answer is pretty clearly the latter.

That said, did it seem at times that Q’s passion might have been doused this season? Frankly, his post-game comments at times suggested he wasn’t going to tilt against windmills—as though he had quietly accepted the bad hand dealt to him.

Second, was it one thing—like say a miserably bad power play, or recently healthy scratching Nick Schmaltz—a player the organization has been pushing as a “future first line center,” evidence to the contrary be damned. Probably it was many things. And clearly the organization has been high on 33 year old Jeremy Colliton since the day he was hired to coach the Rockford Ice Hogs.

But don’t kid yourself; this is for the most part a highly unpopular move by a GM—well, an entire front office— that is not currently held in high regard by most of the fanbase.

Taking all of that together, this move seems to suggest the Hawks’ rebuild is pretty much fully on—even if the organization won’t say it.

Longtime Scotty Bowman right-hand man Barry Smith—a noted teacher of the game—has been moved from within the organization to assist Colliton—and this may be to add a bit of coaching gravitas to Colliton, who is the same age or younger than Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford, and may get some sideways glances from the likes of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane as well.

So another question has to be asked: if you are looking to simply jumpstart an underperforming veteran roster, don’t you replace Q with a Darryl Sutter or a Ted Nolan?  Yes, that’s what you do.

This move, clearly, feels like the “Silent Rebuild” (a term first coined here on The-Rink.com) is evolving into the “Obvious (but unstated) Rebuild.” Colliton is a very progressive hockey thinker, but, at this stage of his career, he simply doesn’t walk into an NHL dressing room full of multiple Cup winners and command full respect. At least not right away (hence, perhaps, the Smith move).

Sure, it’s possible, Colliton can press all the right buttons with this roster, catch lightning in a bottle, and win the Power Ball—and the Hawks will go deep into the playoffs without any extensive roster changes this year.

But more likely, there are going to be changes now throughout the organization. Everybody—except perhaps the front office who engineered today’s moves— are on some kind of notice.

Colliton is the Hawks coach of the future—the guy who is going to lead the next generation of Hawk talent (wherever that generation may actually be). He is not necessarily, make that probably not, the guy who is going to turn iron into gold with a current roster that lacks critical depth at center and defense.

And don’t be a bit surprised if the Hawks are somewhere between the wild card and basement of the conference on February 1—and some big sell-off moves happen over the ensuing thirty days. Maybe even sooner.

Like it or not, the coaching part of the rebuild is on. The question is, when will the roster start to catch up.

 

Comment below. Follow @jaeckel.

 

Center Ice Forums ANALYSIS: All but announcing The Rebuild is on.

This topic contains 9 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Under Qs moustache 1 week ago.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
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  • #9718

      My partner Gatekeeper and I theorized, a number of weeks back on the RinkCast, around the possibility of Jeremy Colliton replacing Joel Quennev
    [To continue reading full article, click here: ANALYSIS: All but announcing The Rebuild is on.]

    Apparently, all goalies are Vikings

    #9720

    @PuckinHostile on Twitter

    #9726

    fattybeef
    RinkRat

    Be interesting to see what happens if they look better but still get shredded by the more talented teams (the Tampa’s of the league).

    Certainly not all on Q but its also been 10 years.

    Strange things are afoot at the circle k.

    #9730

    Marsha Brady
    RinkRat

    Earlier this offseason there seem to be a hint/rumors of discord going on in the front office with upper management and direction regarding the likes of …e.g.  Pacioretty, JVR, Neal moves. How much has McDonough become involved in day to day operations? For last few years Bowman has tied this franchise hands and has a lot of blame to take. Did he actually get his hands tied this offseason? Was this his only option? Wait until the Hawks came back down to reality and a pre-emptive strike to fire Q to get those “Limited” and “NT” clause veterans to start thinking about a new change of scenery? Does this reak more of McDonough than Bowman?

    #9731

    DK002
    RinkRat

    John, fairly shocked this morning.

    So Stan now has the spotlight all to himself now.  He can’t hide behind Q anymore.  And this is Stan’s team -warts and all.  How bout that roster huh? We’re going to find out just how good or  bad Stan’s kids are.  You just fired a HOF coach – what kind of message does that send to the vet core of this team?  If you thought this team hit bottom well stay tuned kids.

    I think what’s even more concerning is the possible trades – selling off some of the team’s stars come February.  I have no faith in Bowman to make a good trade after what we’ve seen from him the last few seasons.  This will stunt the Hawks rebuild even more.

    We’re about to find out what kind of GM Stan really is…God speed.

     

    #9734

    matt_ahrens
    RinkRat

    Coming into the season the biggest question in my mind was whether or not the remaining core could bounce back from a year or two or three of decline. I thought if the core didn’t bounce back, they’d fire Q, trade some or all of them, and rebuild.

    But then they did bounce back. Even Kane, who I wasn’t worried about, is off to his best start ever. In theory, with their play so far this season, those five guys and their head coach should have kept the Cup window open a couple more seasons with what they’ve done to start the season.

    But the rest of this roster just isn’t very good aside from Joki and ABD. AA and Kruger play their roles well enough to contribute. It’s really Schmaltz and Saad who have disappointed but the rest of the D and the bottom six aren’t too good. I mean, a few guys who could play bottom of the roster roles, but there is still a big gap between the best players on the team and the rest of the players on the team.

    To me, that’s on Stan and the rest of the front office.

    But they could have changed their plans based on how well the core has done. Why not take a chance on some real hockey trade and see what you could get for 8 or 20 or even 15 or any of the rest of the roster. Sure, hold on to the top prospects in the organization but if the defensemen depth is so good, there should be some attractive assets in the group. And then actually spend the money from the Hossa trade next summer and bring in some real free agents (or trade for some now and resign them.)

    Alas, it was not to be.

    But what is to be now? What do 2, 7, 19, 50, and 88 think of this? Jeremy Colliton could be a good coaching prospect, but how many years until he’s able to win a Cup? How many of the core want to stick around for that?

    Firing Q made sense if the core was in steep decline. But did the recalibrate this decision after seeing their current level of play? It’s hard to believe they did. Even though it has probably been under consideration for the last ten months or so, firing Q seems impulsive. I know sometimes you need to take a step back to take ten steps forward, but this seems like many steps back and it is going to take longer than it could have to be back in contention.

     

    #9736

    Chico Maki
    RinkRat

    McDonut said Stan’s decision making has been excellent.

    ACK!!!!

    #9737

    Phil M
    RinkRat

    McDonut said Stan’s decision making has been excellent. ACK!!!!

    So he is being a good yes man?

    #9738

    Alan Parsons
    RinkRat

    I called it.  I said between games 15-18 if the Hawks were not league average on special teams, either Ulf and Kev would be fired or all of the coaches including Q.

    This move was necessary if they want to shed NMCs.  Nobody was going to quit on Q.  But now…?

    I think they move Keith and Crawford and get as much as possible.  And then they have to look really hard in the mirror about who else to try to move.

    #9740

    I called it. I said between games 15-18 if the Hawks were not league average on special teams, either Ulf and Kev would be fired or all of the coaches including Q. This move was necessary if they want to shed NMCs. Nobody was going to quit on Q. But now…? I think they move Keith and Crawford and get as much as possible. And then they have to look really hard in the mirror about who else to try to move.

    You just saw what this team looks like without Keith last game. I don’t think he needs to pack anytime soon. Ditto for Crow, Kane, Toews, and Seabs. El Gato would be another, as would Schmaltz. The rest won’t get much attention except as a buffer for the expansion draft. And this is why the Hawks pretty much suck. Not to mention the poor faceoff %, losing board battles, perimeter play, and the special teams nightmares that comprise this dumptster fire.

    I’m pretty sure the Hawks feel they are like Pittsburgh from a few years back. Change a coach, add a couple players, and SCF here we come. The rest of us that don’t drink our dinner and dessert every night might see this a little differently.

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