Tuesday was a whirlwind of a day in Chicago. It was a somber atmosphere around MB Ice Arena after the firing of Joel Quenneville.
Wednesday was a different feeling. There was a little bit more normalcy and even some optimism too after things settled down.
"Today was a little bit better for sure, for everybody," Patrick Kane said. "It seemed like we had a little bit more life in practice and start getting excited for the game tomorrow."
It may take time for the Blackhawks to completely buy in to what their new 33-year-old head coach Jeremy Colliton is selling, but it's apparent that he's well-prepared and is confident in what he brings to the table.
"Very smart guy," Kane said. "He's got a bright hockey mind and I think he can bring a lot to our team. I think he's going to help us out a lot. Not from changing too much, but just from the way he coaches, his personality and what he knows about the game. I'm looking forward to working with him."
There's not much time for Colliton to implement his system all at once and there are a few key areas that need to be addressed, including the power play which he took full control of during Wednesday's practice. Another is the way the Blackhawks play in their own zone, something they sprinkled in to practice on Day 2 as well.
But in the grand scheme of theme of things, Colliton doesn't plan on changing a whole lot.
"The way I want to play isn't so different from how they were playing here," he said. "I just think there are differences in details that I will push. I think it's important that we don't try and wipe the slate clean here. There's no time for that, first of all, but I don't think we need to. There's a few, one or two or three things that we'll focus on going into tomorrow. As the year goes on, we may adjust things depending how things go. For now, we're going to keep it simple."
In regards to the power play, Colliton is keeping the 1-3-1 setup in place for now, aside from a couple tweaks to the personnel. That department has been a question mark for years and fixing it is high on his priority list.
"That’s a big question," Colliton said. "What we’re doing is we’re getting together as groups and we’re discussing it, throwing ideas around. I have some ideas, the staff as a group, we have ideas, watching clips of some teams that are successful. They need reps. Today you saw that. They got a lot of reps, a lot of time together. I think that’ll help and we’ll go from there. As a group, you’ve got to feel confident in your options. You've got to feel like, 'Hey this is going to work.' That’s what we’re trying to build."
It's not so much the scheme Colliton is fixated on as much as getting a positive feeling when having a man advantage and that's a good start.
As Colliton slowly starts to integrate his system into practices and games, the players know it's ultimately on them to adjust to these changes on the fly as the Blackhawks look to climb back into the playoff picture. But for now, it's taking it one day at a time.
"For myself and for the players, it doesn't matter who's behind the bench," Duncan Keith said. "We put pressure on ourselves to perform at our best and do what we have to do. And that's little habits out on the ice. Jeremy's a bright guy. We always have respect for the coach and you try to do what he tells you to do and what he wants. It's up to the players in the room. We're the ones out on the ice, so it's us guys that have to go out and execute. You can have a game plan but if you don't execute and play to what the coach wants nothing's going to work."