Following up on some of my thoughts in the last post, and reacting to the mood around the subject of Chicago hockey these days, I felt the need to speak freely for a moment (not that I don’t do that all of the time). Second City Hockey was gracious enough to post a link to the column, and the result was heightened readership, which rocks, but it also brought to light some concerns I have and motivated me towards a response of reflection.
What is the proper reaction to recent news?
I feel that this blog’s strength is in the quality of readership, and exchange of ideas, as much as I love seeing the explosion of hits when promoted by others, what I love, is seeing a well placed argument for a particular point of view. The facts are the facts though, as little as we actually know about what goes on in the locker room. I get a glimpse from connections here and there, but none of us are actually in the room. My thoughts on the coaching were more speculation and theory until the recent proceedings where Q practically admitted to the many issues we brought up here at PowWow, and you cannot deny the concerns generated by recent events.
That does not mean I am not an optimistic fan. I believe this team is a few simple changes away from being one of the top 5 teams in the NHL next year. And, it seems Q and Stan are aware of the pressing issues. What I am interested at the moment is character, and the difficulties in changing bad habbits.
Still, Quenneville has put himself in a bad situation. He has shown a lack of control over his team, and now admits losing the focus of players in the firing of Haviland. The result will be a difficult one for Q to fix, and although I think it is a possible task, I still find it highly unlikely. Dissent is not an easily medicated disease. However, Q has made comments that suggest he now knows the better course of action now. Should a veteran coach have already known that 2 years ago? That is for you to decide on your own.
Getting back to the Kane issue again; while I see the immense possibilities in his skill set, I also wonder if he will ever fully
reach that potential. My personal philosophy is that you build a team based on character as much as on talent. I expect individuals who give their life to a sport and make millions playing that sport to be decent human beings on and off
the ice. Yes, I have standards, and Kane is causing me to doubt his. There is no need to go into details about his actions, which I suppose are still speculation in some way, but I hope the administration is dealing with it. He is the poster boy for this team, has made a substantial amount of money being that person and I personally believed that he wanted to be better than prior actions had suggested. I have a harder time accepting that now. This will be a make it or break it year for Kane as a Hawk, and it is off to a bad start.
While I am not completely for his being traded on his off-ice actions alone, his on-ice performance was also below expectations for 2 seasons in a row. Can the Hawks find a player better suited for their current needs and for less money, opening up other options? I tend to think so. Again, under a management system which showed some strength in understanding and motivating its talent, I might be more inclined to think that Kane had a future as a Blackhawk. What I have is doubt, and reasonable at that.
Let us just look at what happened to Leddy this year. Or, how Versteeg was treated until his departure to another few teams where his contribution was arguably better than Kane’s this year. Some players are sat at the smallest mistake while others are apparently above criticism and discipline. Each player’s character is also a factor here, but to me, it is the coaching that has the largest impact.
The situation is not going to change, and so we move forward with what we have. Most likely, we look too far into things and talk too much about specific concerns, but, is that not what bloggers do?
I believe the Hawks have some serious issues to work out. I also believe that the talent within the roster can overcome many situations and perform above them. Why doesn’t the administration just make it easier for them?
I am optimistic, but realistic, and honest.
I look around the NHL and see a lot of strong coaching going on. They are adapting, reacting, and establishing systems in their player’s actions. Will the Hawks management be able to do the same this year?
Filed under: View from the Bench