Since the organization smacked us all in the face on Tuesday morning with the announcement of Joel Quenneville’s firing, the move has been met with (mostly) anger and cynicism. Regardless, today marks the first day of the Jeremy Colliton era for the Chicago Blackhawks.
I touched on this at the end of last night’s Blackhawks Rinkcast, but it needs to be reinforced and probably will be for quite a while. In this culture, with all the outrage, we need to reel this back in, come together as Blackhawks fans and agree on one thing:
Don’t take your anger out on Jeremy Colliton.
Regardless of your opinion on the move, how it was handled or whether the right guy was turfed, one thing is undisputed; None of this is Jeremy Colliton’s fault. It just isn’t.
It is going to be very easy for us as fans (myself included) to fall into the lazy behavior of criticizing any move Colliton makes (or doesn’t make), to validate your anger or disappointment in the coaching move. If you want to be mad and lash out, blame John McDonough.
This is a move that was made at the top of the organization and Stan Bowman was forced to abide by it. Joel Quenneville was Bowman’s security blanket. He masked many of Bowman’s questionable moves, or lack of moves, with his solid reputation as a head coach.
Was it perfect? Of course not!
Joel Quenneville was very frustrating, at times, to the outsiders. Infuriating, even.
Nothing against Colliton, but Stan Bowman will be exposed very blatantly if he continues to do his job (or more specifically not do it) the way he has recently. He cannot hide behind a 33-year-old rookie head coach that has been coaching in North America for under 18 months. Colliton will have his own challenges.
This brings me to my original point. As fans of this team, like Colliton, we were all dealt this bad hand. The best thing we can do is rally behind him. If he fails (and he certain might) he will write this chapter of his career. We cannot write this chapter for him, before he has coached a single NHL game.
Remember, this is the same team that slam-dunk future Hockey Hall of Fame coach Joel Quenneville could not mask the problems of. Colliton is inheriting the same non-playoff team that was performing like a non-playoff team. In firing Joel Quenneville, Stan Bowman did not also acquire a couple of top four defenders, or a Thunderdome tough center that can win draws and is a bloodhound defensively.
AGAIN, THIS IS NOT JEREMY COLLITON’S FAULT.
So, as we celebrate the launch of the Winter Classic sweaters later today and we then watch the Blackhawks take on the Carolina Hurricanes in game one of Colliton’s NHL coaching career, remember one thing: