That tweet pretty much sums it up. I have been pretty vocal about my view of Colliton in the past. The team had looked disorganized and disjointed. He personally looked over matched in the playoffs against Vegas. I didn't like the way he talked about players in the media. I didn't like what I heard from people around the organization and the NHL. I had many complaints. They were justified.
Now...compliments are also justified. It's a young and hungry roster. A lot of similar type players vying and fighting to be NHL regulars and Jeremy Colliton has this group consistently working their collective bags off and they've been in just about every game for the last three weeks. They play as a team and even though from a talent perspective they don't stack up on paper against a team like Carolina, the effort and cohesion make up the difference and the Hawks end up being RIGHT there every single night. They have a strong culture. What is Jeremy doing or saying that is different? I have no idea. I am not in the locker room. Whatever he's doing is working though and when that happens you should tell the truth about it. That's what this blog is about. I said to Stan Bowman in our interview that I hope I am wrong about everything. That is the truth too and I have no issues giving credit when it's due. I will always have time for a team that plays hard and it's impossible not to root for an underdog squad like this. This quote from Kane last night
“The culture’s being built” --Patrick Kane
This is why I am ALWAYS anti-tank. It's bad for the culture. Play hard. Play the right way. Have good habits. Do it for the culture.
--Patrick Kane is a BEAST. I am deeming this his first official Dad-strength goal
Jaccob Slavin...HOLD MY DICK!!!! I need the Madden Greg Jennings guy calling this play. Put the team on his back doo. Casual four point night with a one-handed goal. You wanna talk about culture...he is the culture. When you have 88 on your team driving the net and bullying Slavin for the go-ahead goal. playing like half the game, and doing everything he can for this team then you better believe that the other 25 guys on this team and taxi squad better be ready to do the same. You could not have a better leader for this group than Patrick Kane. It's all coming together for him
I don't know what happened, but he should be getting that sweet sweet Brian Urlacher billboard money.
--Brandon Hagel literally tried to do the same move
I love this kid. He strikes me as a guy who will be an important role player some day. He is a culture guy too. That tweet was about his hustle and one-handed attempt on net while killing a penalty. He's the perfect bottom 6 type winger. If you're on the ice against Hagel then you're getting ice and oxygen between periods. Need guys like him.
--Lankinen can just flat out play. Small sample size. I am not declaring him as the answer long term, but he has been playing so well and so hard. He's confident. He makes athletic saves and did so in big spots in the 3rd last night. The Hawks are riding the hot hand as they should. It is crazy to me that he has been in the system since 2018 and with all that time to evaluate he still started the year as the 3rd goalie. That doesn't matter now though. Maybe the Blackhawks did the thing where they found a starting goalie in the recycle bin again. Maybe he's the next Antti Raanta.
--At this point I don't think Zadorov is one of the Blackhawks best 6 defensemen. I like Lucas Carlsson more I think. I have liked Beaudin in a small sample size. Ian Mitchell could use more minutes. If this year is about youth and development than maybe give those guys more of a look. Zadorov isn't signed beyond this year. Best case scenario is that the Hawks flip him at the deadline or maybe he's a piece that can be signed to something short term for expansion draft purposes. I don't know.
I am going to be cautious about getting caught up in internet takes about Zadorov because the internet does typically pick one guy to rag on every year. Right now it's him. I do think he's an easy target for that because his blunders are obvious and he's hard to miss out there because he is so huge. He does tend to freelance a bit in his own end. I like that he is physical, but some times he takes himself out of plays to make a hit too high up the wall and causes everyone to subsequently run around to cover until he can get back to his position.
--Andrew Shaw looks a lot fresher than he did last year. A little spring in his step. You gotta think he is the perfect role model for guys like Hagel and Highmore. It was nice to see him pot one last night.
Dallas is up next. That should be another tough challenge on the road. That is a team that the Blackhawks will battle and play hard against because…they do it for the culture. I don't think the Hawks will make the playoffs, but I will watch every game because they bring their lunch pales every night and if you can't respect that then the problem is with you.