The Chicago Blackhawks coaching staff has done their very best throughout the past few seasons ever since Coach Joel Quenneville was let go, however now they need to elevate their game.
Jeremy Colliton has done a relatively good job considering how little coaching experience he has had in the NHL. As of right now, Colliton has a 62-58-17 record behind the Blackhawks bench, and he has found a way to make this Blackhawks team look more promising in the future.
Moving forward, this coaching staff needs to elevate their games to another level. Colliton is learning on the fly. It is not like we have a veteran NHL coach behind our bench anymore. Joel Quenneville started coaching in the NHL when Colliton was twelve if that gives you a reference for how much more experience Quenneville has. However, Colliton is beginning to build his resume, and there is no reason the Blackhawks should pull the rug out from underneath him just yet.
If an NHL team cycles new coaches and new systems every few seasons, they are never going to win. This past season’s failures were not all Colliton’s fault by any means, and I believe he is going to continue to learn and adapt on the fly.
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Hopefully, Colliton realizes scratching Adam Boqvist during the playoffs might not have been the best option for the team, and playing John Quenneville on the top line to start a win or go home game in the playoffs was not a recipe for success.
Our former head coach was great at knowing when to push the buttons of his players. He knew when to scratch a guy to light a fire underneath him, and he knew when to deal out some praise about a player after an outstanding performance. It seemed like Coach Q was so calculated about everything he did, whereas we are not getting that from Colliton just yet.
Next season I want to see Colliton and his coaching staff take the next step forward. It falls on their shoulders to improve our power play and penalty kill, and it is up to them to find a lineup that might make us more competitive on the ice. However, there is one more important factor I hope Colliton is working on.
One of the biggest reasons we saw Joel Quenneville leave was the fact that he supposedly was not good at communicating and dealing with younger players. Whether or not that is true, I want to see Colliton give the younger guys time and space to develop their games even more next season.
We have seen Kirby Dach lead the Blackhawks in ice time from forwards a few times this past season, and hopefully, we get to see that again. Also, hopefully, with the influx of young defensemen the Blackhawks are going to have in the mix for next year, we get to see them play critical moments in-game.
Colliton should not worry about the overall record of the Blackhawks for next season. As long as he nudges the players in the right direction, I am going to be okay with the outcome on the ice!