The Jeremy Colliton Era Ends, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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The Jeremy Colliton Era Ends, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

In yesterday’s Bullets, I said that the 5-1 loss to the Jets on Friday night should have been the last game Jeremy Colliton coached for the Blackhawks. I said he should be let go yesterday, but I had no faith that the Blackhawks would actually do it, let alone on the three year anniversary of giving him the job.

They did it anyway.

•   Jeremy Colliton’s time with the Blackhawks ends three years to the exact day it began. He took over for Joel Quenneville, one of the most decorated and respected (at the time) coaches in NHL and Chicago sports history. He never stood a chance.

•   Colliton amassed an 87-92-26 record over parts of four seasons behind the bench for the Blackhawks, getting into the postseason once, if you consider the 2020 postseason format to be legitimate.

•   One of the talking points about Colliton in his tenure with the Blackhawks was that he hadn’t had a full or normal season behind the bench.

•   He took over a month into the 2018-19 season, then had two shortened seasons before the 1-9-2 start to the 2021-22 season ended his time as head coach. Although, when you have coached over 200 total NHL games, whether or not the seasons have been normal, we know who you are as a coach. Colliton just wasn’t the right coach at the right time.

•    While it was still a shock to see the news come across that the Blackhawks had fired Colliton, the writing was on the wall for a while. I remember writing about needing changes after just three games this season, but Colliton (along with assistants Sheldon Brookbank and Tomas Mitell) lasted nine more games.

•   This move is the first major decision made by interim General Manager Kyle Davidson after being put into the role to replace Stan Bowman. I wondered what kind of authority he had while working in the interim and it turns out, enough to make a much needed coaching change. The next challenge for Davidson this season is deciding whether or not to punt on the rest of the year, or make moves to try and salvage what was supposed to be a season where the Blackhawks contended for a postseason appearance.

•   Also working in the interim is new Blackhawks head coach Derek King. After taking over for Colliton in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs three years ago, King once again takes the reins from Colliton. I like Derek King, but he’s not an NHL coach and I don’t think the Blackhawks view him to be.

•   There’s a chance, albeit slim, where the Blackhawks turn things around with King behind the bench. He’s well-liked within the organization and is very much a “players coach.” As Tyler Cameron says here, I wonder if King gives the Blackhawks the simplest form of guidance and allows them to course-correct their own problems.

•   It just might work. This Blackhawks roster is one of the most talented that Jeremy Colliton had to start a season with, and they got off to the worst start they possibly could have. Does this mean the complete erasure of Colliton’s systems? Probably not entirely, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Blackhawks look and play just a bit different starting tonight against the Nashville Predators.

•   A reminder: Both Kyle Davidson and Derek King will speak to the media today at 11:00 a.m. CT.

•   In other organizational news, the Rockford IceHogs had their first home game of the season last night, taking on the Grand Rapids Griffins with Anders Sorensen behind the bench as interim head coach after Derek King’s promotion. Rockford fell to the Griffins in a close 2-1 game, with the lone IceHogs goal coming from Brett Connolly.

•   Rockford is now 2-5-0 to begin the AHL season. With King’s promotion and relationship with the prospects in the Blackhawks’ system over the past few years, I’m curious to see if a few different players get bumped up or down in the near future. We have seen Isaak Phillips, Reese Johnson, and Nicolas Beaudin already come up and down from Rockford, I wouldn’t be surprised if players like Lukas Reichel, Alex Nylander, or Ian Mitchell make appearances sooner rather than later.

•   Highlights from the league last night have a taste of nutmeg to them. First, part of Kasperi Kapanen’s hat-trick performance for the Penguins last night included this feed from Jason Zucker between the legs pf the referee!

•   Not to be out-done, Matthew Tkachuk decided to go between his own legs for this sick goal as part of Calgary’s 6-0 drubbing of the New York Rangers.

•   It has to be a bit disheartening for the Rangers to have two Goal of the Year candidates scored against you on consecutive nights, this coming after Connor McDavid’s insane 1-on-4 goal two nights ago.

•   It finally happened, the Arizona Coyotes won a game!

•   After trailing 2-0 after the first minute of the game and 3-1 after the first period, the Coyotes completed the comeback against the Seattle Kraken with three third period goals, two coming from Lawson Crouse including the game-winner. Arizona is now 1-10-1 on the season and actually are not last in the league in one category…

•   Dallas is 4-4-2 to begin the year for 10 points in 10 games, but with three overtime wins and a shootout win, they have yet to get it done in 60 minutes. So there’s something the Blackhawks can also hang onto over another team.

•   Ending with some humor today, if you’re not familiar with Sportsnet’s Maple Leafs superfan Steve Dangle, I recommend checking out his YouTube page and his podcast network. But, he’s an entertaining guy when it comes to the Maple Leafs and the broader NHL spectrum as well. He is not, however, very good at playing hockey. So the Maple Leafs players got a chance to grade and criticize his skills for a change.

•   “That just looks unathletic.” – Morgan Rielly 😆

•   That will do it for today. Hope you all have a great Sunday ahead of you and we will see you tonight for the first game of the Derek King era of Blackhawks hockey as they take on the Predators at home 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.