One thing that I have appreciated from the Chicago Blackhawks in their GM search has been telling us whom they have interviewed. It cuts out the speculation of who may or may not have been in the mix for the position. It also allows us to see the actual wide-spectrum of people they are bringing in to get a sense of where they are looking to go. With the six candidates that have come through the doors of the United Center so far, it’s anyone’s guess what the team actually wants to do.
• Here’s my quick thoughts on each of the six candidates (so far) and why to hire them or not to hire them.
Why: He’s controlled the team for most of this season and he’s been within the organization for a decade. Familiarity.
Why Not: The team needs fresh eyes on the roster and the hockey operations department.
Why: Long NHL career on and off the ice. Been around the block kind of guy.
Why Not: What role did he have in the drafting of Logan Mailloux?
Why: The future of the game is getting more and more analytical and he’s been behind the Hurricanes’ rise to prominence.
Why Not: He’s strictly an analytics person and the lack of control over a whole hockey operations experience is a concern.
Why: Ride the hot hand. Getting talented people from a back-to-back Stanley Cup-winning organization is not a bad idea.
Why Not: Lack of longer-term front office experience.
Why: It’s outside of the organization and outside of the sport. Sometimes the best candidates are thought of as the least-likely.
Why Not: Limited front office experience in general, no hockey front office experience.
Why: Um…he’s done it before, I guess?
Why Not: He’s run two franchises into the ground. Two. And one of them had Connor McDavid.
• For more on why interviewing Peter Chiarelli continues to baffle most Blackhawks fans and why he would be a terrible hire, here’s the latest from the Chicago Sun-Times’ Ben Pope:
There are 5 legitimate, reasonable candidates for the Blackhawks' GM position.
And then there's Peter Chiarelli.
A quick review of his Oilers tenure makes it clear: he's the wrong choice.
New column: https://t.co/DANUt8nPag
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) February 11, 2022
• For more perspective on the six GM candidates in Chicago, here’s what executives around the league think about them, from The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus:
"It’s risky, yeah, but so is giving someone like Chiarelli yet another chance."@ByScottPowers and I got some unvarnished opinions from around the league about the six (so far) Blackhawks GM candidates.
Here's everything you need to know about them: https://t.co/786qQAccju
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) February 10, 2022
• I’m still getting the sense that Kyle Davidson will keep his job when this is all over with. But, I will say that I would be willing to give five of the six candidates a fair shake if they were to be hired. The sixth…you can imagine who that one is.
• Whoever is tagged as the GM in Chicago is going to have to figure out what to do at the NHL Trade Deadline, fast. It’s coming up on March 21 and there are a handful of worthy players who could/should be on the move out of Chicago before the deadline passes. One is Marc-André Fleury. But, with the ten-team no-trade clause on his deal, and the goodwill the Blackhawks will likely offer to him, we might not end up seeing Fleury moved at all. There was reportedly an offer made from the Washington Capitals, but no dice…
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) February 10, 2022
• Beyond the time that Fleury is here in Chicago, whether it is a few more weeks or until the end of April, the future beyond him in net for the Blackhawks is murky at-best. They only have rookie Arvid Söderblom on the books for next season with Kevin Lankinen, Collin Delia, and Cale Morris all on expiring NHL deals. Are we sold on Lankinen as an NHL starter? While Söderblom has been good in the AHL this season, are the Blackhawks really going to throw him into a starter or backup role in the NHL next season? The free agent goalie market isn’t tremendous this summer either. What’s the plan
Stan…er…(insert GM here)?
• The long-term future of goaltending in Chicago looks bright, though. With 2020 second-round pick Drew Commesso potentially looking like the Team USA starter for the rest of the Men’s Olympic tournament.
"I can’t stress enough how comfortable & confident Commesso looked. He was tested a few times, but he made all of the easy saves & never once overcomplicated things. He’s such a steady presence in the net & I think the U.S. very likely has its #1" – @chrismpeters #Blackhawks
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) February 10, 2022
• Commesso is the best goaltending prospect the Blackhawks have had in their system since Corey Crawford. I’m not saying he’s the “next” Corey Crawford. But it has been a long time since Chicago has had someone like him in their system to be excited about as a goaltender. Here’s to hoping he finally gets his due with Team USA in these Olympics after having the 2021 and 2022 World Junior Championships ruined for him by COVID and sitting the bench at the 2021 World Championships. The U.S. Men take on Canada in group play tonight, 11:10 p.m. CT!
• Late last night, the U.S. Women took care of business against the Czech Republic in a 4-1 win. It wasn’t a cake-walk though as the U.S. needed a third period goal from Lee Stecklein to break the 1-1 tie game.
• Downers Grove’s Savannah Harmon made it a 3-1 game in the third period to put it out of reach for the Czech team.
Harmon seals it!
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 11, 2022
• Kendall Coyne-Schofield added a third goal in the third period to make it the 4-1 final. The U.S. advances to the Semifinals for the seventh time in-a-row at the Olympics, where they will face rival Canada (who beat Sweden 11-0 this morning) for a shot at Gold.
• A Happy 55th Birthday to interim head coach Derek King!
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) February 11, 2022
• This story is just absolutely ridiculous. The Arizona Coyotes will be playing for at least the next three seasons at Arizona State’s facility while the wait for their proposed arena in Tempe, Arizona to be approved and built. The Coyotes are footing the bill (upfront, lol) for the necessary renovations to ASU’s multi-purpose arena so that it fits NHL and NCAA standards.
BREAKING: AZ Board of Regents has approved capital development plan for ASU's multi-purpose arena that includes Coyotes' added team areas at NE corner.
ASU will be Coyotes' temporary home for at least 3 seasons (approved for more) as they await word on proposed Tempe arena. pic.twitter.com/WU7KyT1K8u
— Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) February 10, 2022
• Imagine being a free agent in the NHL and looking at the Coyotes playing in front of, maximum, 4,000 people a night. What if the Tempe arena plan falls through? What then? Also, ASU hockey scheduling will take precedence over the Coyotes scheduling, so good luck coordinating with that and trying to get NHL home games on Fridays and Saturdays.
• Here’s a stat: In the 2019-20 hockey season, 17 NCAA teams, 10 WHL teams, 6 OHL teams, and 3 QMJHL teams had higher average attendance that the 4,000 capacity at ASU. It’s all so ridiculous.
• The NBA Trade Deadline was ridiculous as well, nothing like we’ll see in the NHL on March 21, but the Chicago Bulls did nothing.
Keep standing pat? Check out the buyout market? Hope for the best? https://t.co/Ox0psMRrXq
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) February 11, 2022
• I assume the Blackhawks will not do nothing, but they are in a much different spot than the Bulls are.
• In Bears news, unfortunately Devin Hester was not named a Pro Football Hall of Famer last night in his first year of eligibility.
Ugh! Devin Hester Did NOT Make the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2022 https://t.co/T4M6v4VHVL
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) February 11, 2022
• While he didn’t get in on his first try, there’s no chance he DOESN’T get into the Hall of Fame. No chance.
• No Blackhawks hockey tonight, but the Rockford IceHogs are back in action after their extended break. They face the Central Division-leading Chicago Wolves tonight in Rockford.
• The IceHogs are currently fifth in the Central Division based on point-percentage (.514) but have played the second-most amount of games yet to play (35) in the Division. They are 17-16-4 this season.
• That will do it for today. Hope you all enjoy your TGIF Friday!