Colliton's a Head Coach Again, Dach's Role, GM Candidates Emerging? and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Colliton’s a Head Coach Again, Dach’s Role, GM Candidates Emerging? and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

You know, I had this whole introduction all planned-out for today’s bullets opening. And then, we got hit with the news out of Switzerland about the Canadian Olympic team.

•   Jeremy Colliton is now the head coach of the Men’s Canadian squad heading to Beijing.

•   You just can’t make this up.

•   The former Blackhawks head coach will serve in-place of Claude Julien, who suffered an injury during team training and won’t make the trip to the Olympics. Colliton takes over a Canadian side led by Eric Staal, Owen Power, and Mason McTavish, to name a few. What a year this guy has had.

•   You can be almost certain that if Canada comes away with a medal, especially Gold, at the 2022 Olympics, Colliton will be right back in the NHL coaching next season.

•   He won’t be back with the Blackhawks, obviously, as they are looking to move on from the Bowman/Quenneville/Colliton era of hockey in Chicago. One of, if not the biggest parts of that transition is the hiring of a new General Manager. The new GM position, as laid-out by CEO Dany Wirtz, will be an all-encompassing position that will report to him and oversee all of the Hockey Operations.

•   We don’t know who the candidates are yet, besides current interim GM Kyle Davidson, but one name that has popped up during the GM searches in Montreal, Vancouver, and Anaheim, is Mathieu Darche.

•   Darche is the Director of Hockey Operations and Assistant GM in Tampa Bay and has been with the club for their back-to-back Stanley Cup run in 2019-20 and 2020-21. He’s ascended very quickly in the front office world of the NHL and the Blackhawks should be looking into Darche as a GM candidate.

•   Another person I think the Blackhawks should look into is Meghan Chayka. While she hasn’t held a front office position in the NHL before, her work creating and operating Stathletes, an analytics company the is widely used in the hockey world, has made her an interesting potential candidate for numerous front office positions over recent years. Her brother John was the GM of the Arizona Coyotes from 2016-2020, but don’t hold that against her.

•   Chayka was also a special guest coach at this weekend’s PHF All-Star Game.

•   If Chicago really wanted to go with an outside of the box hire and make a big change in the direction of embracing analytics in the game, Chayka should be on their radar.

•   Speaking of the PHF All-Star showcase, here’s a few highlights from the shootout competition. Allie Thunstrom with the ultimate hesitation move…

•   Can’t tell if that’s Marian Hossa or Amanda Boulier with this slapshot in the shootout!

•   As the kids say, “Bar-downskee!”

•   Do the kids say that?

•   Speaking of what the kids say online, Kirby Dach said yesterday that he has deleted his social media apps from his phone to block out the outside noise.

•   For a 21-year-old to not be on Twitter or Instagram is actually kind of impressive. Dach has not had the season he was expected to. He really hasn’t had the start to his career that he was expected to. Not from the Blackhawks perspective, the fans perspective, or even his own perspective. Clearly you can imagine he hears it all the time in his mentions. So he decided to take that out of his life.

•   Good for him.

•   And while he’s not necessarily living up to his third-overall selection billing just yet in his career, he’s still young and seemingly just now finding a role that he can fit into in the Blackhawks organization. You can go back and say, “why didn’t the Blackhawks pick Moritz Seider or Trevor Zegras?” But hindsight is 20/20 and if you’ll remember alllll the way back to the summer of 2019, after Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, the draft class was wide-open for the Blackhawks. Any one of Dach, Seider, Zegras, Dylan Cozens, Alex Turcotte, or Matthew Boldy (to name a few) could have gone at No. 3.

•   Chicago took Dach, threw him into the NHL, and have yet to place in him a position to be truly successful. He’s a restricted free agent this season and will be re-signed. Originally, I thought he would turn his season around this year and get a hefty bridge-deal. Now, I’d change my tune a bit.

•   Trying to learn from the past mistakes with young prospects under Stan Bowman, it looks like Kyle Davidson has a plan to take the organization’s time with rookie Lukas Reichel.

•   Reichel had a two-game taste of the NHL earlier this month and didn’t look out of place. He’s been doing very well in the AHL this season with 26 points in 26 games for the IceHogs. He leads the team in goals and points and is one of seven active rookies playing at a point-per-game pace in the AHL this season.

•   A scary moment in last night’s game for Reichel as he nearly escaped this knee-on-knee hit without injury.

•   Rockford won in a 1-0 shootout over the Chicago Wolves, backed by a 36-save shutout performance from rookie goaltender Arvid Söderblom! You can find the highlights from last night here:

•   Rockford is third in the Central Division based on point-percentage (.529) with a 16-14-4 record.

•   Speaking of the IceHogs, Wyatt Kalynuk is back with the Blackhawks after a one-game return to Rockford with Seth Jones taking a second maintenance-day this weekend.

•   In other prospect news, 2020 third-round pick Landon Slaggert netted the overtime winner for Notre Dame last night in a win over Minnesota.

•   Slaggert is fourth on the Irish with 19 points in 26 games this season. Second on the team is fellow Blackhawks prospect Ryder Rolston with 21 points in 25 games.

•   The U.S. Women have landed in Beijing!

•   Team USA’s first game of the Women’s Olympic tournament is on February 3, taking on Finland.

•   Ending today with this crazy story from the legendary Harry Caray…

•   Stay safe out there!

•   That will do it for today, hope you all enjoy your Sunday and enjoy the football.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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