Kyle Davidson and Derek King Speak: New Interim Roles, Changing The Blackhawks, and More

Social Navigation

Kyle Davidson and Derek King Speak: New Interim Roles, Changing The Blackhawks, and More

Chicago Blackhawks

For the first time since taking over the position of interim General Manager from Stan Bowman, Kyle Davidson spoke to the Chicago media alongside new interim Blackhawks head coach Derek King as the organization moves forward into a new chapter. The post-Bowman/Colliton era of hockey officially started with this press conference, in which Davidson’s opening remarks laid-out reasons for change and reasons to look forward to the future.

It was going to be an interesting situation that Davidson found himself in as interim General Manager if he was just going to be a placeholder in the position. With the firing of Jeremy Colliton, it became clear that Davidson was going to have the authority to make significant changes to the organization. In the press conference, Davidson said that he has been given full power within his role from Rocky and Danny Wirtz.

Jeremy Colliton’s stubbornness to not change his system and the inability for “his message” to get across to the players to make changes in their game was clear to Davidson in Chicago’s 1-9-2 start, leading to the move to fire him.

We don’t know exactly how long Davidson will be in this role, but for the time-being, he’ll have the full power to make significant changes to the Blackhawks and try to course-correct the organization after the dismissal of Stan Bowman, who Davidson says he has a different philosophy from. We’ll see, right?

When it comes to Derek King’s role, Davidson says that he will be the head coach of the team until the end of the season. From then, he will be re-evaluated and the Blackhawks search for a permanent coach will happen after the season.

The Blackhawks are 1-9-2, only ahead of the Arizona Coyotes in the standings, and staring down a shot at the top overall draft pick in the NHL Draft lottery. But from Davidson’s perspective, things could maybe turn around under King in a “2018-19 Blues” kind of way…maybe? Probably not, though.

Obviously, the fallout from how the Blackhawks handled the Kyle Beach sexual assault allegations was a major factor in the dismissal of Stan Bowman and the changes made in the front office. Davidson, who was an intern with the organization in 2010 before working his way up through the front office over the last decade, said that he wants to be part of the solution when it comes to handling these kinds of situations in the future and being a part of the change to the culture of the sport.

King has been the Rockford IceHogs head coach for the same amount of time that Jeremy Colliton was the head coach of the Blackhawks. Now, King once again follows Colliton in a new position and is being tasked with trying to right the ship that is the 1-9-2 Blackhawks. No easy task and it’s clearly something that King understands. He says today that he is having a wide-range of emotions heading into his first game as an NHL head coach.

Refreshingly honest words from King, something we will likely get used to over the course of the rest of the season. After the news came down that King would be the successor to Colliton as head coach, a lot of people had questions as to why assistant coach Marc Crawford, the only prominent assist from Colliton’s staff that was kept around, was not given the job. Crawford has prior head coaching experience in the NHL, but also a less-than stellar past in those roles. Davidson and King said that Crawford would be relied-on heavily as the two transition into their interim roles.

King is a “players coach.” Having played 13 NHL seasons, it’s likely that he may garner a bit more respect inside the locker room than Colliton did coming into the role with a different amount of NHL playing and coaching experience. King is a likable person and has been with the organization since the 2016-17 season as an assistant/head coach with the IceHogs. Coming into the role with Chicago, it appears King will be taking the “just let the kids play” approach.

After a few seasons of Colliton trying to fit a square peg into a round hole with his system of play, it may end up being a breath of fresh air to see this Blackhawks team take to King’s approach and take the “over-thinking” out of their game. Too many times under Colliton it appeared that established NHL players looked out of place or confused on the ice, thinking the game too much rather than playing off their skill and instincts.

If King is going to lean on Marc Crawford on the bench, he’ll undoubtedly need to lean on the veterans of the locker room to help him on the ice as well. In Rockford, King has used veterans in the lineup as “second coaches,” and it would probably be best to allow players like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Connor Murphy, and Alex DeBrincat to have strong voices. They were already drawing-up their own plays under Colliton anyway, might as well lean into that as well.

Tonight is the first test that the new regime in Chicago will have. The Nashville Predators come to the United Center having won five of their last six games. Chicago, well, you know. The puck drops on the Davidson/King era at 6:00 p.m. CT.

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.