One of the first parts of figuring out how the rebuild was going to work for the Chicago Blackhawks was hiring a General Manager to replace Stan Bowman. Once the interim tag was removed from Kyle Davidson, his first priority was going to need to be finding a head coach. The personnel need to be determined before the players can be organized.
Will Derek King, Chicago's interim coach stick around? Maybe, but Davidson has apparently formally begun the interview process. Aside from King, the Blackhawks have, according to rumours, reached out to Brad Shaw, an assistant with the Vancouver Cannucks, and more interestingly, Luke Richardson, an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens. It was Frank Seravalli that apparently had the scoop on all this through Daily Faceoff.
Via the Daily Faceoff, Seravalli said that Chicago had been granted permission to speak with these coaches in regards to the yet-to-be-determined coaching position in Chicago. I've said in the past that I don't think King is the right person for the job, and I stand by that now. Chicago needs a fresh voice, and Richardson, who has been tagged an NHL calibre coach is a very interesting candidate.
Due to the hiring policies of the Montreal Canadiens, it is unlikely Richardson could ever be the coach for that team. Why? He doesn't speak French well enough. This HR policy in Montreal could be Chicago's gain. To put Richardson's interview in context, I don't recall anyone saying, "Yes, Derek King is an NHL coach that hasn't been given a shot yet." That is essentially what Richardson has been described as being.
Consider this quote from current coach Martin St. Louis in a recent story from the Montreal Gazette about Richardson,
"“Luke is just a calm and calculated and very confident coach,” St. Louis said this season. “The calmness of his approach allows the guys to grow and Luke’s approach allows the guys to feel confident on the ice … receptive to constructive criticism because the way he does it. It’s very important they don’t feel suffocated if there’s correction. They don’t feel handcuffed if there’s correction and I think that’s important in their growth.”"
You know what? For a team that's about to start throwing a lot of inexperienced players on the ice that need to grow, this sounds like the guy I'd want behind the bench. I'd say it's positive that Chicago is talking with him. He's got over a thousand games of on-the-ice experience, hundreds of games of experience behind the bench, and with multiple franchises. He even has helped coach teams into the playoffs. As far as I'm concerned, he's probably the best candidate of the bunch so far.
With the entry draft just around the corner, it would be ideal if a new coach were named in advance of the event. For my money, I'd say Richardson is probably the best, but we'll have to wait and see where this all goes. Hopefully, the winner of the position is someone ready to slog through the rebuild, because that's an absolute must in the short-term for Chicago.