Analysis: Colliton seems to get it

  

With one quote this past Saturday, regarding his team’s aging, injured #1 goaltender, young Blackhawk head coach Jeremy Colliton may have summarized the entire state of the team.

Speaking to the media about Corey Crawford taking the ice again after his latest concussion, Colliton remarked:  “positive he was out there, but I’m not sure if it means a ton. Hopefully, he continues to feel better.”

Even taken at straight face value, this statement (especially the “not sure if it means a ton” part) speaks volumes.

First, Colliton recognizes what all but the most silly Hawk fans do at this point—that this Hawks season is essentially lost.

Second, that even a “healthy” Crawford (relatively speaking) is not going to give you much more at this point than the tandem of Cam Ward and Collin Delia.

And make no mistake, Colliton is a Delia fan (“he gives us confidence”—say no more).

But taking that a bit further, what all this suggests is, even while the marketing department and team media may occasionally float the trial balloon of “the playoffs are still possible,” Colliton is not mired in the hopes and expectations of a gloried past or a depressingly bad present. Rather, he’s looking ahead—as Hawk fans should hope the entirety of the front office is as well.

To the kind of future that calls for pure, unvarnished player assessment and honesty—right now.

While some in the media, and the fans who follow them, have gotten way out over their skis about Erik Gustafsson’s ability and upside, Colliton clearly seems to see both the potential and the ongoing issues of the 26-year old Swedish defenseman. Colliton has said as much, and he’s followed up with action: a recent benching and a couple of healthy scratches.

Obviously, Colliton is trying to send a message to a player—and most likely also using the crucible of a lost season to decide whether Gustafsson (and others) can or should be part of a future resurgence of the Blackhawks. Because if Gustafsson doesn’t care about or respond to reduced TOI or being stapled to the pine at the end of a game now, he probably won’t when midseason games matter again in a couple of years.

Ditto Dylan Sikura, a recent college prospect, heavily hyped by GM Stan Bowman and the rest of the organization last year and this summer, who has struggled to establish a foothold in the NHL under both Colliton and his predecessor—likely hall of fame coach Joel Quenneville.

What makes Colliton’s forthrightness stand out now is that the rest of the organization seems to be trying to reformulate stale marketing spin (“Believe In One Goal”), with a roster that has more than one foot firmly entrenched in the past. Which brings us back to Colliton’s recent comment on Crawford’s return to the ice—something the media and some fans were quick to jump on as a flicker of “hope.”

But the truth is, while Crawford should be applauded and greatly respected for his battle to regain his health and keep his career going, the harsh reality is that he probably played his last truly meaningful game as a Blackhawk last season, or maybe even in Game 4 of the first round series loss to Nashville the year before.

Like it or not, the rebuild is here—with rebuild-level losing and turnaround timing in not just months, but likely years.

But there’s an earnestness and a seriousness about Colliton that is refreshing and encouraging right now—and reminiscent of Quenneville. So, while the organization and, again, some in the media, are now pushing the narrative of “The Four Horsemen of a Fully Repaired NHL Defense in 2019-20” (junior and NCAA prospects Adam Boqvist, Nicolas Beaudin, Ian Mitchell and Chad Krys), you can bet Colliton will only play those prospects who are fully ready—for their sake and the team’s.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot of hope of an “imminent turnaround” being peddled right now. And what I’m about to say may not go down well for some—it’s probably false. The Hawks, at this writing, are tied with Detroit for the next to worst point total in the league. And they are likely more than 1 or 2 players away from the upper echelons of the league.

It’s going to take time. The Hawks need to be better at every position. At certain ones, a lot better. And not every “hawwwwwt” prospect is going to pan out, maybe not even half of them.

Take heart, though. Jeremy Colliton (at least) has a hard, discriminating eye on what a better future will ultimately look like. And hopefully the rest of the organization, including his front office bosses, shares that vision.

Please comment below.

Center Ice Forums Analysis: Colliton seems to get it

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • #11557
    John Jaeckel
    Keymaster

    With one quote this past Saturday, regarding his team’s aging, injured #1 goaltender, young Blackhawk head coach Jeremy Colliton may have summarized t
    [To continue reading full article, click here: Analysis: Colliton seems to get it]

    Apparently, all goalies are Vikings

    #11558
    Falconero
    Participant

    All good (and true) points JJ.  But will “One Goal” Mc Donough accept these facts and let the rebuild happen?

    Falconero

    #11559
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Fans want to judge Colliton based on his won/loss this year. It wouldn’t have mattered if Q was still here the record would probably be close to what it is.

    Next year and the year after is when Colliton can be judged. He needs to get the assistant coaches he wants (got 1) and not given the ones he had to take. Once he can run training camp the way he wants and teach the players his way of doing things it will work IMO. Of course some of the vets may not want to do that again and if they don’t let the front office know you want out. Waive those NMC and go someplace else.

    He has proven he can coach in Mora and in Rockford. We have seen some positive changes with the Hawks yes slowly but still improving. His hands are tied with what he can work with. At least the younger players know his game style and adjust easier than the vets.

    I think Colliton was original hired to take Q’s place when the time was right and it was the right time. I have a feeling Colliton may end up being the C of the future. It just depends if the front office gives him time or not.

    #11561
    Mewirtz
    Participant

    Great post, John.

    #11562
    Eric Neuman
    Participant

    Two questions John:

    What is the perception that Bowman is willing to retain money on some deals to move contracts and free up cap space for this summer? Would the Hawks be willing to eat 1.5 million per year to get rid of Anisimov, who does not look like he has a future with this team?

     

    Do you think the Blackhawks will try to make a run at either Jake Gardenier or Tyler Meyers in the off season?

    #11563
    Mister Ricochet
    Participant

    JJ:

    “But taking that a bit further, what all this suggests is, even while the marketing department and team media may occasionally float the trial balloon of “the playoffs are still possible,” Colliton is not mired in the hopes and expectations of a gloried past or a depressingly bad present. Rather, he’s looking ahead—as Hawk fans should hope the entirety of the front office is as well.

    To the kind of future that calls for pure, unvarnished player assessment and honesty—right now.

    But there’s an earnestness and a seriousness about Colliton that is refreshing and encouraging right now—and reminiscent of Quenneville.”

     

    What has changed that has gotten this franchise to this low?  Q out and Colliton in and yes I agree he has no loyalties or ties to the storied past, that’s good.  He also doesn’t have an adverse relationship with Stan that Q did, that’s good.  ………. Tough to execute an onganIzational plan when the GM didn’t hire the coach and the coach does as he chooses.

    You point out JC’s unvarnished, serious, untethered and unvarnished approach to this group.  Would love to see Rocky look over the organIzation in the same way.  For instance is the marketing department allowed 100,000 miles near hockey decisions?  If not the rebuild will be at best retarded……. For instance is ShovelFace allowed to nix moving a Keith cuz it’s bad for marketing?

    So yea, Colliton gets it IMO.  Gotta like his approach so far but as poster Eddie Walker points out he needs to be allowed to hire his own people, run things his way within the organIzational plan (is there one?) and only then can he be evaluated properly in 2-3 yrs.

    Still say the ball is in Rocky’s court.   Has ShovelFace been given too much power to influence anything that happens on the ice and is StanBow the right guy for the unspoken rebuild?

    #11564
    Mister Ricochet
    Participant

    Two questions John: What is the perception that Bowman is willing to retain money on some deals to move contracts and free up cap space for this summer? Would the Hawks be willing to eat 1.5 million per year to get rid of Anisimov, who does not look like he has a future with this team? Do you think the Blackhawks will try to make a run at either Jake Gardenier or Tyler Meyers in the off season?

    Eric, should the Hawks TAKE on salary ala Carolina/AZ and extract a top prospect and draft pick for doing so?

    #11565
    Mister Ricochet
    Participant

    Oh yea, nice work here JJ.   Would love to see more blogs out of you.   Soooooo much more material to work with than when they were running off cup wins.

    #11576
    John Jaeckel
    Keymaster

    Oh yea, nice work here JJ. Would love to see more blogs out of you. Soooooo much more material to work with than when they were running off cup wins.

     

    Thanks everybody.

     

    Eric, to answer your questions:

     

    On retained $$, I think it depends how much and how long. I strongly believe (as does Gate) that for Seabrook, they will wait and see if there’s a compliance buyout with the next CBA before retaining $$. Crawford or Anisimov maybe. But then again, at this point, if Crwford can even play again, I think all you get is a conditional pick and have to retain some $$. Or better yet he goes on LTIR for the rest of his deal.

     

    I could see them maybe going for Myers, but Bowman seems to prefer highly mobile defensemen who are under 6′ tall and 150 pounds, so who knows?

     

    I think they are maybe more likely to sign a forward AND THEN deal for a defenseman through forward depth.  Not saying this WILL happen, but let’s say they WERE able to sign Panarin. Great, but that means less TOI and quality opportunities for DeBrincat. Panarin is the better player anyway. But then what kind of young defenseman could you get in return for DeBrincat? Maybe a pretty good one. Maybe a couple of them.

    Apparently, all goalies are Vikings

    #11627
    DK002
    Participant

    John great read as always…hope you and your family are well in the New Year.

    Colliton is doing what he can, but like Q before him this season what kind of roster does he really have to work with?

    The PP has been a pleasant situation, but Q had one of the best PPs in the league a couple of seasons ago.  No question though this current version which I believe has been #1 in the league the last month has been good for the team.

    But the defense remains a trainwreck.  And while we can point to the ‘4 horsemen’ and all of the young dmen Stan has drafted – the reality is who knows which of the kids is going to take the next step and actually pan out. If any?

    As far as a rebuild I have little to no faith that Bowman has a clue.  We’ve seen the track record over the last several season and quite honestly its a load of crap.  Time and again we’ve seen Stan get pantsed on deals.  Remember this is the guy who’s first move after winning a Cup in 15 was to run out and resign David Rundblad.  The guy that handed Philip Danault to the Habs.  The guy who coulda woulda moved Sharp for picks…the Nik Leddy sweepstakes – lol…the list goes on.

    The reason the Hawks are where they are is because Bowman was handed a full cupboard of players by Dale and others before him and he managed to kill that depth over a short period of time.  Has Bowman made a couple of good moves sure absolutely.  But even a broken clock is right twice a day.  I constantly hear about how Stan got Vermette-a complete no brainer move. Or how bout Oduya – sure…

    How bout Stan’s last two offseasons?  The disastrous trades of both Hammer and Panarin and then the follow up this last offseason with those stellar UFA signings.  Brandon Manning woo hoo…hey don’t get me wrong Dylan Strome has been a nice pickup, but only because Stan was finally forced to realize his dream center Schmaltz – the kid the or-gan-i-za-tion has been touting forever was a bust.

    I have no doubt McD and co. are onboard for the Panarin express this summer. I can only wonder what the cost will be.  Will Kane’s efforts to woo the kid be enough?  The Hawks are at least  2 oh heck 4 defensemen away from being a real team again. Goalie is still murky at best.  Dellia has shown flashes, but a lot of softies as well.  I think CC should think about his family and start looking past hockey.

    This team still needs a new Pres of Hockey Ops to take a fresh look at everything and begin fixing things.  But sadly that’s not happening.

     

    #11566
    Eric Neuman
    Participant

    Two questions John: What is the perception that Bowman is willing to retain money on some deals to move contracts and free up cap space for this summer? Would the Hawks be willing to eat 1.5 million per year to get rid of Anisimov, who does not look like he has a future with this team? Do you think the Blackhawks will try to make a run at either Jake Gardenier or Tyler Meyers in the off season?

    Eric, should the Hawks TAKE on salary ala Carolina/AZ and extract a top prospect and draft pick for doing so?

     

    If you wanted to do a full tear down that would be the way to do it. I’m not convinced they are in full tear down mode. Do they want to go 3 years without the playoffs? If you are, then I would be flipping guys like Saad and more over the Summer. But I can’t see Bowman scorching earth like that.

    They have something like 10 mil in cap space this summer before a cap increase. If you you subtracted 3 mil fron Anisimov, you might be able to add a Meyers/Gardenier and a Michael Ferlance. I’d even entertain Eric Staal if he would take a one year deal for something high (7 mil).

    Either that, or trade Saad straight up for a defenseman like they should have last year.

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