Blackhawks

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Blackhawks

After missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2007-08, the Blackhawks made it clear that changes would be made if the results didn't as well going into the 2018-19 season.

The Blackhawks started out 6-2-2 and did so without Corey Crawford for the first five games, which gave the city of Chicago hope that 2017-18 may have been a blip.

But since then, they've lost five in a row (0-4-1) and the same issues that were magnified last season are still there: the power play remains near the bottom of the league, they've given up the second-most high quality scoring chances at even strength and the depth scoring has been a non-factor.

Something needed to change.

In an effort to do that, the Blackhawks relieved the second winningest coach in NHL history and three-time Stanley Cup winner Joel Quenneville of his duties and named Jeremy Colliton the new head coach

By no means is Quenneville at sole fault for what has transpired over the last several seasons. There's certainly blame to go around everywhere. But the Blackhawks know they can't sit back and let another season pass without being in contention during the prime years of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, both of whom are off to their best starts of their careers in Year 12.

Quenneville was in his 11th season in Chicago, by far the most of any active head coach; for reference, Jon Cooper is now the new leader in his seventh season with the Tampa Bay Lightning. That's how spoiled the Blackhawks have been with Quenneville, who will forever be known as one of the greatest coaches in Chicago sports history.

 

By bringing in Colliton, the Blackhawks are hoping a new voice can help change the fortunes of this season and beyond but also instill new philosophies in a game that's constantly evolving. At 33 years of age, Colliton becomes the youngest active NHL head coach.

Colliton led the Rockford IceHogs to their first-ever Western Conference Finals after compiling a 40-28-4-4 record in his first season as an American Hockey League head coach in 2017-18. Before that, he spent four seasons as head coach of Mora IK in Sweden, where he guided his team a league-best 35-13-4 record and 105 points during the 2016-17 campaign.

People around the league have raved about Colliton's projection as an NHL head coach one day, but perhaps didn't see it coming this soon.

Core players have been traded. Assistant coaches have been fired. Quenneville was the perfect coach to oversee a well-oiled machine for the last decade. But times have changed.

In the middle of a retooling period, the Blackhawks felt it was time to part ways with the future Hall of Fame coach and hand the keys to somebody with no NHL coaching experience, but has a new way of thinking.

Ready or not, welcome to a new era.

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