For the first time since Oct. 15, 2008, the Blackhawks will have a new voice behind the bench when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday at the United Center.
It will be the NHL head coaching debut for Jeremy Colliton, who was promoted after the firing of Joel Quenneville earlier in the week. He didn't have any nerves on Wednesday after practice, but that's likely to change as it gets closer to game time.
"Nerves aren’t a bad thing," Colliton said. "It’s energy you’re looking for. That’ll be present, so let’s go and play. ... It's gonna be special. Great arena and fans and special to be here to help the Hawks win. I'm excited for the opportunity."
In a classy move by a first-class coach and person, Colliton said Quenneville reached out via text message the day of the coaching change to congratulate Colliton on being named the new Blackhawks head coach.
"It means a lot," Colliton said. "He's a Hall of Fame coach and I'm succeeding him, and he took the time to send me a text message. He's a great man."
With the Colliton era set to begin, the 33-year-old rookie head coach is looking to simplify things and will slowly integrate parts of his system as the season goes along. What will he be looking for in Game 1?
"I want the guys to skate, I want them to work away from the puck, pressure on the puck," he said. "That’s going to allow us to play in their end of the ice and it’ll be easier to defend. That’s the big thing. Make sure we’re skating, flying and I think a lot of the other things will take care of themselves."