This blog will not do a full recounting of yesterday's press conference and statements as there are great news sites like the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, The Athletic, TSN, and Sportsnet that have done an excellent job with covering this story thoroughly.
I also will not be providing my own commentary on the investigation and the various individuals involved whether the victims, the Wirtzes, current and former employees, or current and former players. That's my personal choice to not use this space in that manner.
Instead, I will post a series of tweets to highlight key points from yesterday then share preliminary thoughts on what's next, particularly regarding the general manager position, Jeremy Colliton's status as head coach, and impact on the team's on-ice performance.
Press Conference by the Blackhawks
Blackhawks Letter to the Fans
Full Report by Jenner & Block
Summary of Who's In & Who's Out
$2 Million Fine by the NHL
Forthcoming Meetings by Gary Bettman
Statement by Stan Bowman
Resignation from Team USA
Rumors on GM Candidates
The Next General Manager
Even when Stan Bowman was the general manager, he had a trio of assistant GMs in Kyle Davidson (hockey strategy and analytics), Mark Eaton (player development), and Ryan Stewart (pro evaluation). Davidson as the interim GM could be a tacit nod to analytics ruling the day.
Yet, is Davidson the right person for the permanent role of GM? Similar to Colliton, his track record in the NHL isn't long. His young career has been entirely with the Blackhawks. To give you a glimpse of his background, here are snippets from his bio on the team website:
Kyle Davidson enters his 11th season with the Chicago Blackhawks and first as Assistant General Manager of Hockey Administration. In his current role, Davidson assists President of Hockey Operations/General Manager Stan Bowman with day-to-day hockey operations tasks including player contract research and negotiations, salary cap management, salary arbitration, collective bargaining agreement administration as well as scouting at the professional and amateur levels.
Davidson began his career with the Blackhawks as a Hockey Operations Intern in 2010 and was promoted to a full-time role as a Hockey Analytics/Video Analyst the next season. He was promoted again in the summer of 2011 to Hockey Administration Coordinator, elevated to Hockey Operations Manager in 2015 then to Senior Manager of Hockey Operations in 2017 before becoming Assistant to the General Manager in 2018.
As suggested in the tweet above, rumors on possible GM candidates are starting to circulate. All of those mentioned so far are external to the organization. A few other names that have come up include Kevin Weekes and Eddie Olczyk. More names are sure to pop up over time.
Status of the Head Coach
It's tough to say that Colliton is safe as the head coach as his status could go in two different directions. One way is he's retained barring further implosion by the team during games. The other way is getting the axe soon as the person who hired and defended him is now gone.
My leaning is toward the latter which is fueled by what was mentioned in the former, i.e. the team will continue to spiral downward which could concurrently spell the end to Colliton's tenure. It does become increasingly difficult to justify his retention behind the bench.
A scenario that doesn't get much air play is Colliton ending up resigning rather than waiting to get the pink slip. Whether he's fired or he departs on his own terms, I would look for an internal interim in either assistant coach Marc Crawford or IceHogs head coach Derek King.
Impact on Team Performance
Whenever there's a shakeup within an organization, it can have an impact on a team's on-ice performance. For the Blackhawks, they haven't played well at all to start the season so can they get any lower especially with key players like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane out?
Additionally, the magnitude of the organizational shakeup is as close to a 10 on the Richter scale as you can get. Couple that with the fact that the Hawks have one more home game before a brief road trip and the fans at the United Center could be less than welcoming.
And as documented in the last few blogs, there's alleged tension amongst the players that led them to having a closed-door meeting to address with one another after Sunday's 6-3 loss to the Red Wings. That adds another layer of complexity to how this situation impacts them.
Newly entered into protocol:
* Henrik Borgstrom, Center
* Jonathan Toews, Center
Still in protocol:
* Patrick Kane, Right Wing
* Jujhar Khaira, Left Wing
* Riley Stillman, Defenseman
* Marc Crawford, Assistant Coach
* Tomas Mitell, Assistant Coach
* Jimmy Waite, Goaltending Coach
Out of protocol:
Jones & Kalynuk
There's some good Blackhawks news that came out yesterday.
Wyatt Kalynuk is the closest to returning to full health with a 2-4 week recovery timeline from time of injury whereas Caleb Jones has a 6-week timetable. While Jones is certainly a lock to remain on the big club as he's not waiver exempt, Kalynuk is waiver eligible.
Game vs Maple Leafs
Oh yeah, there's a game tonight.
The Blackhawks host the Maple Leafs at 6:30pm CDT. While the show must go on, it seems surreal and a tad eerie to be playing games amidst all this turmoil even if many fans and those in the media knew fallout from the investigation would happen in some form or other.
See you on the boards!