Even though Kyle Davidson has the ‘interim’ tag on his position as General Manager with the Blackhawks, he is out to prove that he is ready for the job on a permanent basis. In the latest edition of Elliotte Friedman’s ’32 Thoughts,’ he talks about a discussion he had with the Blackhawks’ interim General Manager and what the expectations are for the club moving froward from the fallout of the Kyle Beach/Brad Aldrich sexual assault investigation.
From Friedman’s discussion with Davidson:
We are still processing what happened. It’s not something that goes away in days or weeks. You have to give people their space. But we are in the middle of a season, so other people in the organization are working on the fallout and repercussions — while I will be dealing with the roster and what is going on on the ice.
When Stan Bowman was dismissed from the organization and Davidson took over, there was speculation as to how much control or power he would have over the club in the interim. It was quickly discovered that Davidson had full control over the team with the firing of Jeremy Colliton, Tomas Mitell, and Sheldon Brookbank earlier this month. In that process, and naming Derek King interim head coach, Davidson revealed that Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz and his son, Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz, had entrusted Davidson with full autonomy over the organization.
We have also learned recently that the Blackhawks are not going to rush their searches to find a permanent head coach or general manager, stating that both Derek King and Kyle Davidson would serve in their roles until the end of the 2021-22 season. Chicago will also need to know if they will be hiring two new members of the organization or three, as Bowman served as both General Manager and President of Hockey Operations. Rumors have swirled that former Blackhawk and current team broadcaster Eddie Olczyk could be in the mix for the President of Hockey Operations position. Personally, I’d like to see Kevin Weekes offered the position. As for Davidson, he doesn’t lack the confidence that, when the organization decides to begin their search, they won’t have to look further than himself.
More from Friedman and Davidson’s conversation:
I do have the internal belief that I have what it takes to take over (during such a difficult time). That’s the approach I’ve taken personally. I’m going to do the job as if it is mine. If I didn’t, I’d be doing a disservice to our team and organization. I’m going to learn what needs to be learned, and in good time, do what needs to be acted upon. Trust your gut, trust your instincts, believe in yourself.
And as for his approach to the team for the rest of the season, even after the 1-9-2 start to the year, Davidson is looking at his and King’s time with the club as a fresh start.
More from ’32 Thoughts’:
Let Derek King find his way. It’s way too premature to draw conclusions with any one player. In the near term, and maybe over several months, too, I really want to evaluate on and off the ice. The future environment off-ice extremely is important to me, it’s integral to the success we eventually have. You don’t fully grasp what you have until you are there and get information. I have to figure out what I believe is the best from that knowledge.
There’s plenty of shifting and changing that could happen within the organization over the next few months under Davidson. As Friedman mentions, Dylan Strome and Marc-André Fleury are at the top of the list to see how they are used as the season progresses, though both have seen an improvement in their play and their role with the team since Derek King took over.
Chicago is in Seattle tonight, taking on the Kraken for the first time in franchise history. They are 3-0-0 with Derek King as head coach and are beginning a four-game road trip on the West Coast. Just today, Rob Cookson was added to the coaching staff and Marc Crawford was given the title of associate coach. Davidson’s first major move as General Manager has worked out so far for Chicago in the short-term, and the real evaluations can begin at season milestones like the All-Star/Olympic break in early February, and we will get a sense of what the future of the club will look like at the NHL Trade Deadline on March 21.