The Chicago Blackhawks are have certainly not had a very productive season, so it might be time to evaluate the leadership behind the bench.
This has definitely not been a year that anybody in the Blackhawks’ organization will want to remember. While there were a number of young players that made progress, the majority of the season saw a team that was lackluster and unmotivated.
As a result of this poor play, the Blackhawks are going to miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third time in four seasons. However, I don’t think that the blame can be put solely on the players themselves. As such, it is time to reexamine a question that has been floating around for a while: is it time for the ‘Hawks to fire head coach Jeremy Colliton?
To put it plainly: yes.
Obviously, with only a handful of games left, Colliton would play out the rest of the season. However, after that, I do not see any scenario in which Chicago should keep Jeremy Colliton behind the bench. I’m not saying that everything that went wrong this year can be placed on his shoulders. Coaching in the NHL is a team effort, after all. From the assistant coaches to the video replay guys and goalie coach, there are a number of guys that make up a squad behind the bench.
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However, there has to be a captain of the ship, and in this case, Jeremy Colliton was placed into a spot in which he was woefully unprepared. This is his third season with the Blackhawks, as he came in during the 2018 season as a young 34-year-old, the youngest in the NHL. This is the main problem I’ve seen with his tenure.
Colliton is simply too young and too inexperienced. While he did bring the Rockford Icehogs to the AHL’s conference final, he hadn’t coached a single NHL game when he replaced the legendary Joel Quenneville.
I was actually at Colliton’s first game as head coach back in 2018. It was against the Carolina Hurricanes, and the ‘Hawks were down 3-0 by the end of the first period. I knew then that it wasn’t going to be a fun night at the United Center. It would turn out that the frustrations with Colliton would continue long after that game.
One of the reasons that Joel Quenneville was such a good coach is because he was a great motivator. He knew how to get his players fired up, and was a ‘defense first’ kind of guy. Under Colliton’s tenure, the defense has been disastrous for the better part of three years. In addition, he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to be able to motivate his players well. Nearly every time they pan over to him on the bench, he is expressionless.
I’m not saying that Jeremy Colliton can’t be a great coach in the NHL one day. However, I thought that replacing Joel Quenneville with him was a crazy move at the time. Three years later, my opinion hasn’t changed.
Jeremy Colliton was simply thrust into a role that he was in no way prepared for. Now, three years into the job, I think it is easy to see that he is simply not a fit with the Chicago Blackhawks. They need a guy with experience at both ends of the ice who can mentor the team’s younger core like Ian Mitchell and Pius Suter. Colliton certainly isn’t that guy, and it’s time for the team to part ways with him.