The Chicago Blackhawks made a few changes to their coaching staff yesterday.
The Chicago Blackhawks added Rob Cookson as an assistant coach and elevated Marc Crawford to associate coach. For the Hawks, this is the right move for the time as Crawford has been more than an assistant, and Cookson is someone he is familiar with.
Cookson spent time as an assistant coaches in the past with the Ottawa Senators from 2016-2019, Crawford was also there at the time so the two do know each other. In a statement released by the Blackhawks Interim General Manager Kyle Davidson had this to say on Rob Cookson:
"“It’s his fresh perspective, however, that will really benefit the team as we work on this transition. We look forward to Rob meeting us on this road trip and I know he is eager to get going with this group.”"
With the win last night against the Seattle Kraken the Hawks are now 4-0-0 under Derek King. King might not be the entire reason the team is undefeated, but it still is a nice look to see, and definitely the best outcome for the team.
In the NHL right now there are eight associate coaches on the bench for the NHL. They are spread out amongst seven teams and include franchises like the Flames, Hawks, Blue Jackets, Jets, Oilers, Islanders, and Senators.
This is a unique situation. Not many teams have interim coaches and associate coaches on the bench together. The team is winning right now, but some losses could make this an awkward situation for sure.
Adding Cookson just seems like the message is clear that this is Crawford’s team, especially with him getting the title bump from assistant to associate. With two candidates to be the full time head coach in Chicago long term it will be interesting to see what direction this team goes in this season and beyond.
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A world where Derek King is the head coach seems plausible, but so does one with Marc Crawford leading the charge. I guess we will find out after the rest of this season plays out. The team’s real test with King starts with Edmonton on Saturday.