I am annoyed. Sending Jokiharju to the World Juniors isn’t about his development or his confidence or anything other than Stan Bowman needing roster reprieve because of his own imcompetence. Jokiharju has absolutely been one of the Blackhawks best 6 defensemen all season long. Yes, there are going to be natural ups and downs for a rookie, but it’s not like his game fell off a cliff. He was mismanaged a bit because the new coaching staff took him away from Duncan Keith, and both players suffered. Even with a decline in his play, Jokiharju is absolutely better than Gustafsson, Rutta, Manning, and Davidson. On many nights he’s also more effective than Forsling, Murphy ,and Seabrook.
The Blackhawks have repeatedly said they’re trying to win. This isn’t a move you make if you’re trying to win. Stan has signed a ton of guys to contracts who can’t consistently help the team win, clearly. Now, with everyone healthy he’s stuck and sending Jokiharju to play for Finland allows him to kick the can down the road and hopefully make a move somewhere else because Rutta is already in Rockford and the Blackhawks still have 7 active defensemen with Davidson returning soon and Jokiharju with Finland for three weeks.
People saying this will be good for his confidence and development can SHUT UP. Yeah guys, playing against 18 year-olds from Kazakhstan will be so sweet for him next year. He will always look to that time around Christmas where he got top PP mins against Sweden in 2018 as the turning point in his career. What a joke. This is all Stan’s doing. I fundamentally reject that. I would argue that it’s more likely he developes bad habits by playing at that level instead of continuing to work, live, and train with pros and the new coaching staff(which was hired to get more out of young players, remember).
The Blackhawks also have a logjam in Rockford as well. With Rutta down there the Ice Hogs are carrying 8 dmen. What happens in 3 weeks when Jokiharju is back and so is Davidson? Do you send Dahlstrom down? Do you option Forsling back? That’s also a tough sell since you’re trying to win, allegedly. You fired the best coach in the league because you had a playoff team. Now you’re carrying so many below average dmen that you’re in a position where you’re theoretically stunting the development of guys like Gilbert, Hillman, and Raddysh in your DEVELOPMENT league while losing in the NHL. Stan Bowman has been a disaster for four years. Just tell the truth man. Come talk to me. Level with people. Pull a Jim Calhoun and say you fucked up.