In his first public indication that changes may be on the way for the Chicago Blackhawks, team owner Rocky Wirtz admitted that “nothing lasts forever,” when discussing his team’s plans for the future with Chicago Business reporter Greg Hinz.
“Nothing last forever,” he replied when asked about possible personnel changes. A little later, he pointed to the Las Vegas Golden Knights, a first-year expansion team that’s now improbably in the Stanley Cup finals, even though the team is comprised of what he called “a bunch of guys that nobody wanted.”
So, how soon can fans expect change in the Windy City? Should general manger Stan Bowman, head coach Joel Quenneville and the Hawks players be on high alert?
“We’re not going to have a knee-jerk reaction,” Wirtz said. “You can’t let your emotions be in control.” [Corey] Crawford “tells me he’s okay. We’ll see.”
Overall, “I think the team will be fine.” But, “if things are off at the beginning of the year, that’s a different story. . . .Nothing lasts forever.”
Asked if that means changes could occur right after the holiday season if the team is doing poorly, Wirtz had a short answer: “Yes.”
So there you have it… the pressure is on the Hawks to do well. If Bowman, Quenneville and company can’t get into the playoff picture by the Christmas break, expect heads to roll and changes to be made.
Oh… and that includes superstars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, whom Wirtz personally identified as needing to “earn it.” When asked whether or not he regrets handing out long term deals to Toews, Kane and defenseman Duncan Keith, Wirtz replied:
“No. It was the right thing to do. Now they have to earn it.”
Prophetic words? Just as interesting were Wirtz’s comments on the success the Vegas Golden Knights have had and what that might mean for the way that NHL rosters are constructed moving forward.
“You can learn a lot from Las Vegas. They have bunch of guys nobody wanted and they did great.”
Again… prophetic words? Time will tell. Hopefully the Hawks can get things back on track because if they don't we may see the dismantling of the NHL's only true dynasty over the past two decades.