Analysis

The Blackhawks Must Address Their Inexperienced Coaching Staff

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 27: Head coach Jeremy Colliton of the Chicago Blackhawks gives instructions to his team during a game against the New York Islanders at the United Center on December 27, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 27: Head coach Jeremy Colliton of the Chicago Blackhawks gives instructions to his team during a game against the New York Islanders at the United Center on December 27, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhawks organization cannot move forward in development if their coaches cannot improve.

The Chicago Blackhawks have gone from a top-ranking team under Joel Quenneville to a low, middle-tiered team under Jeremy Colliton.  The assistant coaches have been head-scratching a best. Sheldon Brookbank’s leadership over the defensemen was horrendous. Tomas Mitell has no NHL experience, only European hockey experience as an assistant, and it shows. The Blackhawks need more experience behind the bench in order to mentor and develop NHL players.

With that said, Marc Crawford is a Stanley Cup-winning coach and has been in charge of the whiteboard more often than not when it comes to clutch situations. His plays seem to work more often than not, and he seems to be trusted with the important things. Jeremy Colliton is rarely in charge or in a position of authority and the last time he was, other than the timeout vs Columbus:

*This is the gist of the broadcast, not exact wording*

Blackhawks penalty kill situation, vs unknown opponent. 

“Looks like Jeremy Colliton is the one drawing the play!” – Pat Foley

*Opponent scores

“I don’t think that’s what he had planned…” – Pat Foley, 1 minute later

The problem with the Blackhawks’ coaching staff is that they, like their players, are young and inexperienced (Minus the few veteran players and single coach). Jimmy Waite is a legend, developing the young Blackhawks goalies to become solid and effective for the team. Matt Meachum is still the video coach, and he is still incredible at his role. These two guys have Stanley Cup-winning experience.

To propel a team to the next level, the coaching staff has to improve as well. Jeremy Colliton looks like a coach with a ton of potential, but he needs to be surrounded by experienced coaches in order to improve himself. I wish that he was promoted to an assistant coach to work alongside Joel Quenneville for a year or two. He was rushed into the position, and it shows.

The players learn and develop more from Patrick Kane instead of Jeremy Colliton, and that makes complete sense to me: A three-time Stanley Cup winner, first-ballot Hall of Famer, the best American hockey player in history… You’d be dumb to not listen to him. It’s about time that the team brings in more experienced minds who can propel the team forward with a proper system and the ability to make necessary and successful adjustments.

Does it mean Colliton should be fired? Well, it comes to one of two choices I think the management should take:

1.

They fire Colliton and admit they were wrong and forced him into the position too fast.

Or…

2.

They continue to argue that Colliton is their guy, but bring him more help.

Seeing as the organization won’t fire Colliton, I think option two is their best bet. Surround Colliton with more experienced individuals. Names like Rikard Gronborg, Kirk Muller, and Jay Woodcroft come to mind. These three all have great things said about them, how good of a coach they are, and Jay Woodcroft has developed solid players for the Edmonton Oilers to help Connor McDavid.

Rikard Gronborg may not be known very well by NHL fans, but a number of Swedish NHL legends are supporters of the guy. The Sedin twins, Mats Sundin, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Daniel Alfredsson were listed as a few via ESPN (This article will explain more about the names of the coaches I listed and more).

Another article by ESPN is all about the hiring process of coaches in professional sports, and how much teams could be cut short by making comfortable choices. In order for this team to take steps forward, they need to add guys who can help them all succeed regardless of previous personal experience. Sheldon Brookbank and Tomas Mitell don’t have enough experience to help this team take steps to the next level, and should be replaced.

"Who are the best Chicago Blackhawks coaches of all time?"

This coaching staff reeks inexperience and in order for the Blackhawks to take steps forward in their development as an organization, they have to hire qualified guys, not guys their inexperienced coach is comfortable with. This team looks to be close to their 2008-09 team, full of youth and promising youngsters where a few free-agent acquisitions and a quality, reputable coach could take them to the Western Conference finals and beyond.

The Blackhawks fired Denis Savard because they knew it was time to move forward to the next step to contention. In order for the Blackhawks to succeed again, they need to hire experienced coaches to accompany Jeremy Colliton or replace him.

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