With the worldwide pandemic postponing every major sport, there are few things to report as far as the Chicago Blackhawks go. As a result, the NBC Sports Chicago team had Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz for a very candid interview on their podcast to discuss the pausing of the season and state of the organization.
Wirtz discussed the decision, with Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, to pay United Center employees during this pause in seasons. Wirtz indicated that he and Reinsdorf had a one-on-one call and agreed very quickly to ensure that the employees were appropriately taken care of.
Normally, these kinds of things produce very little in the way of new developments, but Charlie Roumeliotis and Pat Boyle also touched on the possibility of an NHL playoff solution that could include more than just the top 16 teams, which might also include the Blackhawks. Wirtz did not reveal much, but he said he was very hopeful that an eventual season restart would favor the team. This would be the second time in just under 12 months that the Blackhawks have had a very fortunate opportunity thrown in their lap following the team moving up to select third overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
The team is, in no way, good enough to be a playoff-caliber team in the normal format, but a few potential playoff games would certainly warm Wirtz’s heart (or line his wallet).
The final piece to their interview was a question from Boyle regarding Wirtz’s evaluation of the organization. After a trip through the public relations wilderness, Wirtz said the following:
“The nice thing is, John McDonough and his crew, and Stan Bowman, in my humble opinion, we have a good organization. They will figure it out. On my epitaph and on my tombstone with my kids, I promise you, it’s going to say: ‘Just figure it out.’ It’s going to be the day I was born, the day I died and, ‘Just figure it out.’ They will figure it out. I promise you.”
On one hand, what else is he going to say with the season paused and in limbo? He is not going to tip his hand with potential regular season games left to play and cause controversy to go along with the state of the pandemic, but it is certainly surprising that he does not seem more concerned with an organization that is on the precipice of missing the playoffs for the third straight year, has not won a playoff game in four years and has not gotten past the first round of the playoffs in five seasons.
If Wirtz does not make some moves this offseason, this organization will be stuck in neutral for another season, which is another year they have burned off the prime of the careers of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.