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Grading Stan Bowman Half-Way Through The Season

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The Blackhawks have been playing VERY good hockey for about a month now. I am thrilled about it. Like I have said all along all I want is for the team to play well, be fun to watch, and win some hockey games. Winning is better than losing, always. My issues with Stan Bowman and my perception of his competence have been well-documented on this website now. With the team doing much better recently under Colliton and there being an inkling of hope this year coupled with the team trending towards a major resurgence next year it’s time for me to give an honest and fair review of Bowman and his moves DURING the 2018-19 season. Me, the guy who has sold a zillion Stan Clown-face tshirts, would LOVE to be wrong about Stan. I will apologize all the way to the bank.

1) Nick Schmaltz Traded For Dylan Strome And Brendan Perlini

17 strome

I didn’t want Stan Bowman to commit long-term to Nick Schmaltz. He’s ultra-talented and easily the most talented player in the trade, but the Blackhawks got two young NHL players who seem to play with more competitiveness. I feel like Strome wants to be great. He clearly LOVES hockey and takes pride in the little parts of his game. He’s playing with Patrick Kane which is like hitting the lottery. Some people hit the lottery and make the most of it. Invest, get into real estate, diversify, and they’re set for life. Other people can’t handle it and their broke and in rehab within a decade. Strome is good enough and smart enough to play well with Kane and it will eventually make him a rich man. He has 14 points in 17 games. His skating, is…well exactly what they said it was. Strome isn’t going to be confused with Nathan MacKinnon. Kane likes to play a slow-down game though. He’s played with Handzus, Brad Richards, and Anisimov. They’re not MacKinnon either.

Brendan Perlini…tbd on what he is or could be. I’ve seen enough to give him a QO or a 3-4 year deal at $1.5m. He’s been getting better and better.

Schmaltz has been good for Arizona. Maybe it’s one of those trades where it works out for both sides. Maybe it’s not. Maybe they can fuck themselves. All I know is that this one seems to be working out for Stan and the Blackhawks

Grade: A-minus

Brandon Manning For Drake Caggiula

Does Stan get credit for admitting a mistake and dumping Brandon Manning? Absolutely. That contract sucked. People have egos and are stubborn. Stan did the equivalent of unplugging the playstation as soon as things started to go bad in a video and started over. I can respect that. I would’ve preferred to get nothing for Manning except cap relief, but perhaps Caggiula can help them at some point. He’s yet to play for the Blackhawks, but here is what he know about him…

–He has a beautiful smile

drake c

–He is not Brandon Manning.

That makes this trade an official win as well.

Grade: B

Hiring Of Head Coach Jeremy Colliton

JC

Here is what I know…

–Jeremy Colliton has the team playing well after an adjustment period. December was really good.

–Three different guys I know who have played for him in the past 18 months or so SWEAR he’s a great dude and a really good coach. One of them was pissed off that I repeatedly called Colliton a Soul Cycle coach. I stand by everything I’ve always said about him. He seems bright, he seems like he works hard, he seems like he cares, and I think he will have a 30 year career in the NHL as a head coach. I compared him to Paul Maurice. He’s not my style. I like coaches like Ditka, Joel, and Belichick. Guys who are a little mean. A little surley with the media. That’s my breed of guy. I liked that as a player and I generally have a disdain for credentialed hockey media so I take a little pleasure when the coach feeds them shit.

Overall, I believe in Colliton and I prefer hiring a young, energenic and promising coach to a retread like Hitchcock. Who would you rather listen to every day? The picture above, or the guy below?

hitch

Grade: B+

Firing Of Joel Quenneville

F is for F-FUCKING-MINUS

Yes, Colliton has the team looking like they’re capable of competing every night. I don’t think it’s magic Colliton dust. I think he has the benefit of a roster that now includes Strome, Perlini, Murphy, Dahlstrom, Sikura and Forsling and not Rutta, Schmaltz, Manning, Kunitz, etc. It took Colliton an entire month and 6 new players to get the team looking competent. Joel didn’t have that benefit. Joel too was putting in a new system. A system designed to help a defense that he knew sucked because it was largely the same defense Stan gave him last year.

If Joel had the same or similar tools and the Blackhawks didn’t have to go through the turmoil and transition of a coaching change involving a legend they’d probably be sitting in a playoff position right now. Instead they currently sit behind 5 teams and are 9 points back of the final playoff spot. Math people say that they have a 6% chance of making the playoffs.

Grade: F-minus

Cummulative Grade: F-minus

Failing to win a single playoff series with Toews and Kane in their age 27, 28, 29, and 30 year-old seasons is a COLOSSAL failure. Can’t have it Stanley, you just can’t waste four years of generational talents like that. The future looks bright. Teams get things turned around in short order sometimes. Just look at the Bruins. The Bruins whacked Chiarelli and things turned quickly. Stan has done some good things this year, but most of the moves were just an attempt to fix self-inflicted wounds. He can’t survive that.

Credit to me for giving such a fair-minded performance review. I have no axe to grind. I wish him well in his future endeavors, but in the mean time, please…buy a shirt.

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