I feel it in my bones. I just do. I didn't watch the Blues game live because I was out on Saturday with family that was visiting. I tried my best, but was met with resistance.
I did watch it sunday after the Bears game because I hate myself. I didn't hate their game though. I actually haven't hated their game several times. I like their game against Toronto (another game I didn't watch live) and I liked their game against the Islanders. This can't go on forever. I can't believe an NHL team went an entire month without a win, but that has to correct itself eventually. Fleury finally turned in a very good game against St Louis.
The Blackhawks have been doing better at creating since the beginning of the year. They also own the league's WORST shooting percentage at 5.4%. For context average teams usually settle in just under 10% year over year. Detroit had the league's worst shooting percentage in the league last year with 8.1%. Shooting percentage is always one of those stats that regresses to the mean if you have talent. There are varying opinions at this point about the Blackhawks' talent level at this point, but I doubt anyone thinks they're as devoid of talent as Detroit was last year.
Toews has started slow, Debrincat has been largely snake bitten, Kane has missed time with Covid, Kurashev also off to a very slow start, Strome can't get in the lineup consistently. Those things will average out. Some pucks will naturally start going in. "Puck luck" is definitely a thing. Having said that...you also need to create your own luck, especially when it's not going well. The Blackhawks NEED to be more competitive around the net and in the offensive zone in general. They are way too easy to play against on most shifts. You need to work to get body position on loose pucks. You need to work to get to the front of the net to take away the eyes of the goalie and cash on rebounds, you need to recover pucks better, and they need to be more detailed in the offensive zone in general. Shoot for the results you want. Create chaos. A combination of luck and desire will get them on the right track and I think that starts tonight.
--Speaking of the right track...the rest of the organization
Very tough start to his tenure to say the least. I will say this...I trust Danny Wirtz. I don't know how well he will do as a CEO. I think he has made some clear mistakes early in his tenure here, BUT he is a good person. I feel like I know him well enough to know that. He wants to do the right thing. Smart and well-intentioned. There's a quote by this guy I've been reading lately and I think I may have used this quote earlier this year. "The road to hell is often paved with good intentions"--Alan Watts.
This statement from Danny Wirtz was no doubt well intentioned
The sellout streak ending is bad, but anyone can tell you that it ended in actuality a long time ago. Those numbers were fudged by McDonough during is last year because he loved pointing to it.
"This is a great opportunity to assure fans both new and old that there is a seat here for them"
That quote pissed me off and angered a lot of people. Everyone wants to grow hockey and the fan base. I certainly do and I know Danny does as well. The part where this falls apart is the reality that the fans who are going to be enticed into the United Center by low prices and available seats aren't going to be buying them from the Blackhawks directly. They're going to get them on the secondary market from Season Ticket Holders who have already forked over thousands and thousands of dollars for those seats. New fans and old fans who aren't STH aren't going to pay face value for seats when they can get 300 level seats for literally $8 or 100 level for $26 as we saw last week. If the Wirtz Family wants to start a buy back program and that allows for STH to get their money back and then donate those seats to fans who haven't been able to go during the dynasty years then that's great. Don't piss on your season ticket holders' heads and tell them it's raining because of an opportunity for new fans.
I honestly don't know what the Blackhawks should do about him at this point. Obviously it's been an impossibly horrible start to the year. They're 0-9. There's no sugar coating that. I think he is a bright and another well intentioned guy. That doesn't change the fact that he was never qualified for this job. One year in the Swedish B League and one year in Rockford doesn't mean your qualified. Stan had the absolute WORST working relationship with Joel Quenneville. I don't think people fully understand that because Stan will get up and say they had a good relationship after firing him and Joel Quenneville took the high road, but it was bad. I hope details of that come out at some point. The entire reason Stan hired Jeremy is because he wanted a guy who would listen to him and a guy that he could control. Period. End of story.
Having said that…I don't know if right now is the moment for more change. It would certainly change the talking points around the organization for a news cycle. They could pull the old Don Draper move…"if you don't like what is being said, change the conversation". A coaching change would certainly change the conversation. I am not sure it fixes any problems though. Who would take over? Marc Crawford? He has been here for years. He hasn't been a successful head coach since he was in Colorado in the 90s. If he had a magic wand I bet he would've waived it by now. Same logic can be applied to anyone on that staff. If you're looking outside the organization for answers…what qualified coach would want this job right now? Maybe someone is, but an 0-9 team with all the baggage in the world and an interim GM who likely can't guarantee anything beyond another interim title to a coach can't be that attractive. Whoever a mid-season hire would be would need to be EXTREMELY confident in their ability to fix the issues plaguing the Hawks. Maybe that person exists. I have a hard time believing that it does though.
I don't know anything about Kyle Davidson on a personal level. Never met him. I've asked around to people who used to work with him and I get the same response. Here is a quote from someone I trust
"Him and Stan didn't see eye to eye always. He was a Norm (MacIver) guy, but very very smart, very good hockey mind, very respected across the org and the league. Super young. That's not to say Stan didn't like him. Obviously liked him a lot. I think you'll see some different types of moves though within the roster for no other reason than trying things when you're 0-7-2 and literally have nothing to lose".
I don't know what the last part of that text means, but that's an example of what people say about Kyle Davidson. I wonder what type of autonomy he will have to make coaching changes or any type of changes.
This is a reset for the entire Blackhawks organization and it really needed one. They've had a toxic culture for a LONG time. They needed a change from McDonough and for past leadership that fostered the type of culture that allowed what happened to Kyle Beach to be swept under the rug. They've been through a forest fire as an organization. The silver lining about forest fires, both real and metaphorical, is that it allows for the brush and dead vegetation to be burned off and for new growth emerge. That's what is needed. You don't need to change everything about the organization. You just need to burn off the things have have turned rotten.