The Chicago Blackhawks have spent the last eight years chasing or defending Stanley Cups. In this time of transition, fans need to “trust the process” and be grateful for a progressive front office.
When I wrote about Chicago Blackhawks fans preparing themselves for heartbreak earlier this summer, it wasn’t a joke. Two straight first round exits and a livid front office called for change–and that’s exactly what’s happened.
In a matter of weeks, the Blackhawks front office has managed to turnover a whole AHL roster including a head coach, fire one and bring in two new assistant coaches on the Blackhawks, move on from a handful of Stanley Cup contributing players, and host the NHL Draft.
Oh and also scare the crap out of a ginormous fan-base.
Blackhawks fans have been privileged the last several years with a perennially competitive hockey team, but it seems that nothing gold can stay. Instead of squeezing every last drop out of “the core,” the Blackhawks front office has chosen to retool on the fly taking a step back to reevaluate their current situation.
When John McDonough and company took over the ‘Hawks front office in 2008, their goal was to be a contender for the Stanley Cup every year and that model hasn’t changed. A quality of great leaders is to find success, but also to know when something’s not working. Like the marketing guru he is, McDonough kept his focus on the Blackhawks brand and who they want to represent. He doesn’t want to be a first-round exit team so the frustration and embarrassment was real.
In economics, elasticity is a term that is used to describe the “shock” or impact on consumers when changes are being made to a product or service. Backlash, if you will. Look no further than the other team that occupies United Center who are making decisions that are infuriating their own fan base. Fans raised enough money to put up a billboard calling for the firing of the Bulls VP and GM.
The Blackhawks have made some major changes and there are probably more to come, but most fans are still on board with the overall direction. The Blackhawks still remain a great drafting team and this season should show significant development from some of the young prospects. Regardless, the ‘Hawks blogs have been flooded with panicking fans proposing obscure trades and ways to “fix” the Blackhawks.
A lot of criticsm has also surfaced on how good of a GM Stan Bowman actually is. It has to be difficult winning Stanley Cups and having your fan-base constantly discount your contribution because you didn’t draft specific players who helped you win.
But if you take a step back from some bad trades, you can see a guy who is trying.
It’s really easy to say some of his trades were bad because they simply didn’t work out. And it’s also easy to say that some of his trades were brilliant because they did work out. All I’m saying is that Blackhawks fans have become overly critical of an organization that consistently maintains a direction and a commitment to winning.
I’m just happy my hockey team is in a position to make decisions where both of us can see the light at the end of the tunnel.