The Blackhawks fire Jeremy Colliton, along with his hired staff Tomas Mitell and Sheldon Brookbank.
Chicago, it’s done: Jeremy Colliton is no longer the head coach of the Blackhawks.
This team had no offense, focused on defense, and still allowed 47 goals against, the worst in the Central Division. The defense has been in shambles since Brookbank’s hiring, so it was only a matter of time before he was let go as well.
We all know how bad this system was and all it took was a single week of unimpressive efforts for interim GM Kyle Davidson to fire Colliton. Compared to the three seasons of mediocrity under Stan Bowman, I’d say that Davidson knows what he’s doing.
Something that will be interesting to watch is how this team responds to the change. Will they finally improve with a better system? Or is this team just… Bad? Jake McCabe has been a flop thus far and Marc-Andre Fleury is not consistent in net. Patrick Kane is still Patrick Kane, but this team has to find ways to pick up the production.
Derek King, the interim head coach, has to find ways to set the ‘Hawks up for success with a high-tempo, yet responsible, offensive system. Right now, they average two goals per game while they give up about four per game (3.92, but let’s just round this to four). Obviously, this is not a winning formula.
With that said, how will King fare as the head coach for the time he holds the position? He hasn’t exactly been impressive in the minors where his teams never made the playoffs. His teams also suffer on offense and defense. Yes, this could be the fact that the Icehogs may not have firepower on offense… But can he make the right decisions and find ways to counter the best teams in the league? If not, he’s not the guy.
Jeremy Colliton has been criticized for many things: systems, adjustments, lack of success in line juggling, the list goes on. But one thing no one can take from him is the Icehogs’ run in 2017-18, surprising the AHL as they rampaged their way to the Conference finals. He did find success in the AHL, but he could not do the same in the NHL. This is a whole different level, and I’m not sure if Derek King is ready for it.
This coaching change brings about mixed emotions in my opinion. It is about time that the lackluster coaching staff is relieved of their duties. At the same time, the choice of the interim head coach shouldn’t be given to someone who struggled to find success in the AHL.
I really believe that Marc Crawford should have been given the position, not King, and be allowed to hire his own staff as well. Crawford knows hockey as a Stanley Cup champion coach and his special teams carried the Blackhawks for the last twelve games.
While I am glad that this change was made, I am still concerned for this team as the consistent pattern of “outcoached” head coaches may continue. But time will tell.