When Joel Quenneville felt the need to fire Mike Haviland, and then follow up with comments on the dysfunction of the coaching staff, you knew things were getting bad. It was nice to get some validation for critiquing the coaching for the past couple years, but this seemed even worse than my assessments felt.
Then, we get the news about Patrick Kane running amuck. Amidst calls for his trade based on his overall team contribution and scoring production from a guy in his pay-scale, the kid goes out to party just days after getting knocked out of the playoffs. This partying lead to the choking of a girl, passing out in bars, and yelling anti-semetic slurs, just to name a few. The administration has remained awfully quiet on the matter, which has caused a lot of talk around Madison Street.
While Kane passes out in bars and gets kicked out of others around Chicago, many of his teammates went on to play some more puck in the IIHF World Championships. And wouldn't you know it, Keith is lighting it up. There has been a lot said in a short time about the domination Keith is displaying in the tournament, and I hope it brings some cheery news in the wake of so much disappointing news. Keith is joined by Patrick Sharp, and Andrew Ladd. Hjalmarsson is playing for Sweden and also looks like a healthy contributor, and Frolik is playing for the Czech Republic.
Back to the coaching situation:
Here is a quote from Q himself, "I probably could have been better as far as delegating ice time as far as what was merited or warranted," he said. "When I see the effectiveness of it, whether you're watching the Rangers playing or Washington playing, that's where I think our team can be better and more competitive come playoff time, where you earn it, you get it, you deserve it. Going forward, that's for sure a mistake I made and I'm going to learn from that."
Most of what Q has said over these past couple of weeks comes off too much like nonsense to me. He seems like a guy having a hard time making any sense at all, and a veteran coach not knowing how to coach correctly. he is lost, because he has no strategy to rely on. Talent in the roster is the only thing that gets him by. Lets get something straight, Haviland was considered one of the top assistants in the league. It was just last year that he was a finalist for the Winnipeg Jets' head coaching vacancy.
Haviland also is beloved by the players, being their go-to coach for issues. Haviland started off as the head coach of the Hawks' American Hockey League affiliates, playing a key role in several players' development.
Sources indicated that some players will definitely be bothered by his firing.
Quenneville appeared to recognize this:
"I think our team we have some guys that have been here a long time as well, whether that change is good or bad, I think one thing as players you have to move forward," Quenneville said. "That's part of the process as well."
Q is insistent on taking the blame away from Mike Kitchen, even though most evidence points to him as being the main source for criticism.
If Q does not even have control over himself and his assistants, how can we expect him to have control over his players, and especially Kaner? If Mike Haviland was known to be one of the liked faces on the bench, how will Q establish this control now? It seems as though the hole has been dug even deeper, and it has this Hawks fan doubting next year's results. Honestly, I can care less who Q brings into replace Havi. It will not matter until Q is removed from his post.
Forgetting Kane for a moment, what about Carcillo? I can not help but feel disgusted about his position within the administration. How can we condemn Raffi Torres for playing the way he does, when we are okay with having Carcillo on the roster? They are both basically cut from the same mold. And, how is Q going to control him?
Looking at what a guy like Fraser is doing for the Kings right now, it only offers more questions about Q's ability to manage his talent right, and everyone's ability to asses those talents. Look at what Keith is doing in the big tournament, no longer under Q's management.
Lets use the Kings for another reflection, shall we:
Jonathan Quick just recorded a shut-out against the Yotes last night. He has bested the amazing Mike Smith in 2 games, who got the better half of Rinne in the series prior. All of the teams left in the playoffs currently, have top-notch goaltending. This is the year of the goalie, and we all watched Thomas raise the Cup last year. I am not in the camp of "goaltenders win Cups," but they sure as hell help.
Can the Hawks really be a contender with Crawford, who is most likely better suited for the back-up position?
My feelings have not really changed since the middle of this season. I still think Q needs to go, and I still think the Hawks have enough talent to be a really great team. I now believe that trading Kaner might be the best approach to offer some of that change. He will not become the player we want him to be under Q this next season, and I doubt he has another one to prove himself at this point. Kane has shown me what his priorities are, and it is not playing better hockey.
And so, I side with the solution towards the trading of Kane. It would be a good idea for the Hawks to do some serious goaltending shopping, and power-forward (Ladd-like) shopping. In fact, I offer 3 changes to the roster. 1 new goaltender, 1 new power-forward, and 1 new 2nd pairing physical D-man. Insert new coaching philosophy and the Hawks are looking at a deep playoff run next year. The moving of Kane opens up a lot of options in payroll.
More to follow in some player evals and season reviews.