Colliton is head coach again, Dach’s role, emerging GM candidates? and other Blackhawks balls


You know, I had this whole intro planned for today’s opening bullets. And then we were struck by the news from Switzerland about the Canadian Olympic team.

• Jeremy Colliton is now the head coach of the Canadian men’s team heading to Beijing.

• You just can’t make this up.

• The former Blackhawks head coach will replace Claude Julien, who was injured in team practice and will not make it to the Olympics. Colliton takes on a Canadian team led by Eric Staal, Owen Power and Mason McTavish, to name a few. What a year this guy had.

• You can be almost certain that if Canada wins a medal, especially gold, at the 2022 Olympics, Colliton will be back as NHL coach next season.

• He won’t be back with the Blackhawks, of course, as they look to get out of the Bowman/Quenneville/Colliton era of hockey in Chicago. Hiring a new CEO is one of the most important parts of this transition, if not the most important. The new position of General Manager, as defined by CEO Dany Wirtz, will be an all-encompassing position reporting to him and overseeing all hockey operations.

• We don’t yet know who the nominees are, other than current interim general manager Kyle Davidson, but one name that came up during general manager searches in Montreal, Vancouver and Anaheim is Mathieu Darche.

• Darche is director of hockey operations and assistant general manager at Tampa Bay and was with the club in their back-to-back Stanley Cup run in 2019-20 and 2020-21. He rose very quickly in the world of the NHL front office and the Blackhawks should consider Darche as a general manager candidate.

• Another person I think the Blackhawks should be looking at is Meghan Chayka. Although she has never held a leadership position in the NHL before, her work creating and operating Stathletes, a widely used analytics company in the hockey world, has made her an attractive potential candidate for many front office positions over the past few years. His brother John served as the Arizona Coyotes’ general manager from 2016-2020, but don’t blame him.

• Chayka was also a special guest coach at the PHF All-Star Game this weekend.

• If Chicago really wanted to go off the beaten path and make a big shift in the direction of in-game analytics adoption, Chayka should be on their radar.

• Speaking of the PHF All-Star Showcase, here are some highlights from the shootout competition. Allie Thunstrom with the ultimate hesitation move…

• Impossible to tell if it’s Marian Hossa or Amanda Boulier with this slap shot in the shootout!

• As the kids say, “Bar-downskee!” »

• Do children say that?

• Speaking about what children say online, Kirby Dach said yesterday that he had deleted his social media apps from his phone to block out outside noise.

• For a 21-year-old, not being on Twitter or Instagram is actually pretty impressive. Dach did not have the expected season. He really didn’t have the start of his career that was expected of him. Not from the Blackhawks’ perspective, from the fans’ perspective, or even from his own perspective. Obviously, you can imagine he hears it all the time in his mentions. So he decided to take that out of his life.

• Good for him.

• And while he’s not necessarily up to his third overall selection in his career, he’s still young and just seems to be finding a role he can fit into the Blackhawks organization. You can go back and say, “Why didn’t the Blackhawks choose Moritz Seider or Trevor Zegras? But hindsight is 20/20 and if you remember all the way back in the summer of 2019, after Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, the draft class was wide open for the Blackhawks. Any of Dach, Seider, Zegras, Dylan Cozens, Alex Turcotte or Matthew Boldy (to name a few) could have made No. 3.

• Chicago took Dach, threw him into the NHL and has yet to place him in a position to truly succeed. He is a restricted free agent this season and will be re-signed. Originally I thought he would change his season this year and get a big transition contract. Now, I would change my tone a bit.

• Trying to learn from his past mistakes with young prospects under Stan Bowman, it looks like Kyle Davidson has a plan to take the time out of the organization with rookie Lukas Reichel.

• Reichel had a taste of two NHL games earlier this month and didn’t look out of place. He’s been doing very well in the AHL this season with 26 points in 26 games with the IceHogs. He leads the team in goals and points and is one of seven active rookies to play at a point-per-game pace in the AHL this season.

• A scary moment in last night’s game for Reichel as he nearly escaped that knee-to-knee strike unharmed.

• Rockford won in a 1-0 shootout against the Chicago Wolves, backed by a 36-save shutout from rookie goaltender Arvid Söderblom! You can catch the highlights from last night here:

• Rockford is third in the Central Division in points percentage (.529) with a 16-14-4 record.

• Speaking of the IceHogs, Wyatt Kalynuk is back with the Blackhawks after a one-game return to Rockford with Seth Jones taking a second day of maintenance this weekend.

• In other outlook news, 2020 third-round pick Landon Slaggert scored the overtime winner for Notre Dame last night in a win over Minnesota.

• Slaggert is fourth among the Irish with 19 points in 26 games this season. Second on the team is fellow Blackhawks prospect Ryder Rolston with 21 points in 25 games.

• The US Women have landed in Beijing!

• Team USA’s first match of the Women’s Olympic Tournament is February 3 against Finland.

• Let’s finish today with this crazy story of the legendary Harry Caray…

• Stay safe there!

• That will be enough for today, I hope you are all enjoying your Sunday and enjoying the football.


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