When Will The Blackhawks Hire a Head Coach?
It's been about 48 hours since Kevin Weekes sent out a briefly viral tweet in hockey world from outside the bathroom in the Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay ahead of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals announcing the Blackhawks had hired Calgary Flames assistant coach, Ryan Huska (or, as Weekes said, "Husk").
This sent Blackhawks world into a frenzy because of people's unfamiliarity with the name. Not that people don't know who Huska is, but he certainly wasn't on our radar based on reports of who the Blackhawks had interviewed thus far.
Huska was not on that list. From what we know, Brad Shaw of the Vancouver Canucks, Luke Richardson of the Montreal Canadiens, and the Blackhawks own Derek King were the coaches that had drawn confirmed interest from the team and scored interviews as well.
Quickly, Kevin Weekes removed his bathroom tweet (and replaced it with an updated one) and Chicago-based reporters like Phillip Thompson of the Chicago Tribune and Charlie Roumeliotis of NBC Sports Chicago debunked the Huska to Chicago news that appeared to be breaking.
Chief from Barstool Sports took it one step further and confirmed what everyone else thought, which was that Huska hadn't even been interviewed!
So at least we go that cleared up. But that still begs the question of when. When are the Blackhawks going to hire their next head coach? There are still big fish out there like Barry Trotz, while Bruce Cassidy and Peter DeBoer have already found new homes. The NHL Draft is just 2 weeks away. Don't you want your coach to have some input?
While it remains unclear, what is certain is that Kyle Davidson has been playing very close to the chest. There is little he has been announcing until the team is ready to make an announcement. Heck, the DeBrincat trade rumors are not even confirmed to be from the team. It is speculation from a trusted source, but not from the mouth of the general manager, himself.
So it is not at all shocking that he is keeping this coaching news quiet. I would still expect them to jump on a candidate before the draft. I, for one, am a big fan of Luke Richardson. I think he would be a great get for a young, developing team that hopes for improvement and upside. If the Blackhawks only goal was to tank to get Bedard next season, then just go ahead and hire Jeff Blashill (and then proceed to not watch a second of competitive hockey the entire season).
Here is my overall take on all the speculation: I think the hire is coming soon. Very soon. The Draft is coming up, as we already addressed, but I think the fact that coaching rumors are swirling to the point that a reporter thought a hire had been made must mean they are close. I think they are very close.
Would Huska be a good candidate? Perhaps. Has he interviewed? Who knows! Richardson? Maybe. Shaw? Could be. King? Why not? But the domino is going to fall sooner or later. It has to and this first "leaked" false report is the first step towards that.