Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland gets fired.

Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland gets fired.

We all asked for a change in coaching, and we got it. Too bad it was the wrong guy. The Chicago Blackhawks, and Quenneville decided on a fall guy, and surprise, it was not Q or his right hand. Nope, it was the person most likely to take Q's job should the situation arise.

Here is what Q had to say, according to the Tribune: "I had an assessement that there is some dysfunction to our coaching staff and we need a change, Stan Bowman did offer me the opportunity for the first time since I've been here to look if I need a change to our coaching staff ... and I had the opportunity to make a coaching change or all the necessary changes that were there. The timing, I felt a change was necessary going forward. (It was) not an easy decison. It was tough on Mike and I'm respectful for the job that he did. It's not the blame game here."

The best part is that Q fired the assistant coach. The assistant, who is not the one who makes the final decision, and not the one calling the shots. If the shots were not called correctly, it is on Q, and not his assistant. That is not meant to take any blame off of Kitchen who we all think is a lost cause.

Wow. Once again Q has admitted to concerns stemming from his area of the pie. He has stated before how the players did not know their roles, and how the motivation and consistency was a problem. He remarked about Toews having to take verbal control of the team, and now he says, "dysfunction to our coaching staff, and admitting necessary change to it." Huh, interesting indeed. Things just might be worse than we thought, but I will take the recognition for pointing all of this out for 3 years now. Finally, some substantial evidence to back-up our crazy coaching concerns.

But what happened here?

Could it be that Havi did not see eye to eye with Q, and that he made himself loud enough about it for Q to panick? Or, was Havi the real problem in all of this all along? This is especially surprising given that Kitchen was the one everyone saw as gone for sure. From what I know, the players enjoyed Haviland's company as a coach. From what I remember, when Q was out, the Hawks responded well under Haviland. When I listen to interviews, I like what I hear coming out of his mouth, and I wonder if Kitchen has any idea of what he is talking about. Of course, I am just saying this without any substantial evidence to prove anything one way or the other. Just one mans gut reaction.

As Vegas alluded to in his comment in the last post, it will be very interesting to see if the new guy is a Q guy, or a Q replacement. Could this be the administration saying, "okay buddy, balls in your court, and we give you the season to figure it out. Make what ever moves you want."

Very interesting indeed. Obviously, more on this later.

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  • I'm shocked by this turn of events. I had him penciled in as the next HC in ChiTown. Ultimately, the wrong guy took the fall here. IThe in-ice performance is all on Q in my books and this firing just shows that this is an organization in turmoil. Why just yesterday, SBjr was pumping his breast about staying within the organization and grooming the right people into their roles. What a crock!

    Here's what I think went down. I think SB wanted to can Q and start anew. Rocky was not keen on eating Q's salary as SB has already thrown too much good money after bad. (Olesz, Huet for eg.)

    So Stan had to get rid of one or both of the assistants. We all know that SB suffers from analysis paralysis and couldn't make the call so he fobbed it off on Q and, of course, Q kept his buddy Kitchen. By all accounts neither one of the assistants did a good job this year or last year. So, who is really running the team now. Q or Jr?

    Q probably has one more year to right this sinking ship and, if he doesn't produce, then he'll be dumped along with his cronies on the bench. Maybe Stan will be shown the door too. Regardless, I think they're both on their last chances this year.

    What's disappointing to me is this means another year of non-contact, stick waving, playing 6 players 70% of the time, and playing favorites. Unless SB sacks up and makes some bold moves it'll be the same ol', same ol' next year again. That stinks. This whole episode stinks. The wrong guy took the fall.

  • I think there are several possible reasons for this and strangely, I don't think accountability was at the top of the list. For whatever the reason, it seems to me the brain trust does not see Havi ever becoming it's head coach. If that's the case, why keep him? I'm not happy with this move considering Kitchen stays, but I have to admit, I would rather see a fresh face in the head coach spot then Havi and depending on who takes his spot, this may yet pave the way for a Q exit.

  • Yes, but this was a "dysfunctional" group. Nobody cares to elaborate on that. Havi was just an assistant. Q has final word or so you would think. You're probably right though, Havi was not deemed to be Qs replacement which is the only way that SB would let him go.

    Could be there's a power play of sorts at work here. Q only stays if he's given the choice of his assistants? SB capitulates.

    Why was Q doing the presser, anyway?

    Could also be that Havi was the last of the Tallon regime and now the Bowman's have their way. In any event, this is not looking good. All the good hockey people have left the organzation which to me points to a) a better opportunity for them, or b) there's too many chiefs in this band of blackhawks.

  • One more thing, Vegas, how do you see this as paving the way for Qs demise?

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Actually, I said that before I had heard that this will be Q's hire. Still, SB has essentially made this Q's season. it will be his staff, his decisions and if they don't have a better season, SB will axe the entire crew in one shot and start over. Overall, I'm not very optimistic that this yields any good results. On the dysfunction front, I have no clue. JJ and Cimaglia profess to have connections inside the organization and use plenty of non specific innuendo to make their case. But I have no idea what the relationship between Havi and Q was. Was Havi the guy with one eye on a blind coaching staff? Maybe, but maybe not.

    Defensively, this group of players has not worked together for any extended length of time. Phoenix has done so for three years now. LA's GM has wanted to see that for awhile from his team, but now that he has fired the coach who preached it and replaced him with another coach preaching the same, it is suddenly working for them. Considering Q likely wasn't going to get fired anyway, replacing or not replacing Havi is probably not going to have much difference. However, SB has given Q plenty of rope and I think he fully expects him to hand himself. That does seem pretty dysfunctional to me.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    "Was Havi the guy with one eye on a blind coaching staff? "

    Great line, and I bet you are correct. Given the way he coached this team last year and the results they achieved during those four games, he probably was.

    I agree, as stated above, that no one assistant coach is going to make that much difference and as long as Q is in control. More of the same, I think.

    At some point the Bowman's need to be called to the carpet too. Stanley has not given the team a chance with his acquisitions and signings and this whole episode confirms, in my mind, that he hasn't the balls to make the right choices. True, he may be handcuffed by Rocky Wirtz as to what he can and can't or spend,
    but, unless he gives the coach the right pieces this year I'd say he'd be just a likely to be hanging himself with this move.

  • I see this as a power-play (no pun intended). Q beheaded the guy in line for his crown, not to mention he's the King's choice to succeed him.

    StanB should have axed Q and Kitchen and elevated his guy Havi, whom I'm sure will be a head coach by as soon as the Cup is hoisted (or sooner).

    This coaching staff has ruined the moral of the team and clearly they had no loyalty to them as seen in their on-ice playoff play. The core guys wouldn't block a shot or back-check and that left the good soldiers to play roles they aren't supposed to play.

    No evolution. The defense to defense passes don't move the puck forward anymore. Times change very quickly nowadays in hockey. Even a hockey dummy figured out how to defend that 2 years ago.

    My observations of the 1st round of the playoffs: The team spirit was broken and the commitment was nil. I watched a team that only wanted to win for pride but didn't have the structure for team play.

    Kane gave up very early, Hossa was off his game, HJammer clearly was a stick swinging turnover machine, I can go on with a comment about each player on the roster. Sharp as a checking forward?

    I wonder if Crawford was very unhappy in the locker room and was only playing for his teammates. Maybe he just wanted it to end and he had the power to do it.

    So, on to next season. StanB has pulled a Tallon by overpaying the core leaving him a pittance to pay anyone else of value. Wouldn't it be great to get Parise or Sutter or Weber?

    The brain trust has failed the Hawks and there's no chance of improvement at this point. Now it's Q and Kitchen's team. I'm worried. I hope they wipe the board clean and start over. Maybe watch the Devils games and find out how a team wins these days.

  • In reply to Jerry Kayne:

    I'll try this again as the first reply did not take.

    Well said Mr. Kane. Evidently Q has more pull than SBjr. I've always said that this team plays well in spite of the coach not because of him.

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