Blackhawks Fire Mike Kitchen

On Monday morning the Chicago Blackhawks relieved assistant coach Mike Kitchen of his duties.

Kitchen, 61, had been an assistant coach for the Blackhawks since the 2010-11 season.

“We believe this decision is best for our organization moving forward,” said Blackhawks Senior Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman said in the release. “Mike had an impact on two different Stanley Cup championship teams during his tenure in Chicago. We appreciate his many contributions and wish he and his family success in the future.”

51 thoughts on “Blackhawks Fire Mike Kitchen

  1. Don’t brush this firing off as a nothing. Kitch was Q’s guy. This was his buddy from his STL days. There were rumblings last year that about a power struggle between Kitch and Dineen (the outsider). Dineen was more of a SB guy or a guy the Org felt was worthy of the position based on value. The Hawks Special teams were very poor this year. Fitting that Kitch gets removed and Dineen keeps his job. Clearly a statement from SB that “yes men” on the staff will not be tolerated with the lack of playoff success. Good 1st move from SB.

  2. Mox — outstanding, great call! I forgot re: him. He should have been the first to go. You’re being far too kind calling him the faceoff coach.

  3. When you’re defense and special teams play fails like they have these past 2 seasons, someone had to be shown the door. Stan Bowman isn’t messing around

  4. If memory serves correct, I want to say Q played w/ Dineen for a few years, Q fired (or asked that he be) Torchetti to bring in Dineen.

    That aside, Q is now on alert — far less time dealing w/ Mr. Ed, spend more time making better choices on which players to dress for games, etc…

  5. Q is on the clock for sure. I predict the organization brings in someone with a coaching pedigree as a “consultant”. It exactly what happened to savard. The writing is on the wall.

  6. Never really cared for Kitchen. Barry Smith was rumored to be in on the head job a handful of years ago. Not ironically after 2 consecutive first round defeats, Regarding Yanic Perrault, a couple years ago when Toews and Kruger were killing it he was being lauded.

    Sure this is a what have you done for me lately league. But look at what happened. They finished first. Let off the gas and never got it back down. They ran into a team that not only was a very difficult match up, but were hot and hungry. With a goalie that dominated. Outcoached, out hustled and out played? Absolutely. But we’ve seen it before a hot goalie can win you the cup if hes given anything offensively, Hawks had neither.

  7. Easy move to make. Fire an assistant coach. Ok now what will happen in terms of the players. That will interest me more then this.

  8. Has to be a scapegoat… did Kitchen play D? No

    Too many old, broken down guys against a young, fast, physical team that worked well as a cohesive unit.

    I don’t want to pin this completely on Bowman’s head, but he didn’t have to sign players to long term, bloated contracts…

    Also, when will Q start trusting young players more? It’s a young mans game…

    Maybe Q and Bowman will be next if the team fails again next year?

  9. Really? We’re going to go on the when will Q trust the kids thing? How many articles did Tab write this year in praise of his usage of the kids?

    Most people here liked the Oduya trade. I didn’t. I’m no longer in the minority.

    Which long term bloated contracts are we talking about? Hossa? Yeah, hawks don’t win 3 cups without him. Ditto for Keith. Every team would cherish a guy like Seabrook. And they didnt lose because of the goaltending.

    They scored 3 goals. Defense wasn’t great. But they scored 3 goals.

  10. Firing Kitchen was an easy one. Dealing with the personnel that is actually on the ice is going to be more difficult.

  11. Bowman said there was going to be change but squared it straight up that it wasn’t going to be Q. Has to be Kitchen, if not Dineen, to start things off. Can’t really change much with the core. Just can’t, not on any wholesale basis.

    In addition to the combination of scapegoat and lack of production as a coach, it’s a message to the players. Happens in all sports. Somebody has to go to make a point. If guys are burned out and don’t put out, it may not cost them due to their talent, salary and no-movement etc. clauses. But a message can be sent to players that others, maybe someone they’re close to, may just pay a price for your issues regarding full on effort.

  12. By the way, Chris Kuc of the Tribune is already reporting that Quenneville is angered by the move, and the article is trying to stir up dust that a rift between Bowman and Q may now be starting.

  13. Iceman, the assistant coaching lineage was Haviland and Torchetti in 09/10. Torchetti left after that season to become associate head coach in Atlanta. Haviland was let go after 11/12. Quenneville brought in Kitchen in 10/11 to replace Torchetti and Jamie Kompon to replace the fired Mike Haviland. Kompon left on his own because he had head coaching aspirations and thought going back to junior would help. He sucked and was fired and is now an assistant in Winnipeg. Dineen was hired on to replace Kompon.

    It seems they like guys they’re familiar with so it’ll be interesting to see who gets that spot. I’d love to see a younger guy like Kris Knoblauch come aboard. We’ll see what they think of Ted Dent pretty quick. He didn’t have much to work with. Dent has been with the Hawks organization since 2006 and signed a 3 year extension last summer the same time Q signed his extension.

    Dent was hired when the Hawks were affiliated with Norfolk and was hired because he had worked with Haviland previously. He was coached when he played pro roller hockey by
    Al MacIsaac and was a teammate of Mark Bernard on that same team.

    Any of those names sound familiar?

  14. Kitchen was responsible for the PK and defenseman. Q was upset last time they had turnover. It’s not really a bad thing. He isn’t gonna pull a Patrick Roy.

  15. @ Big Indian

    Good call, Q was pissed about the move. Figured Q and SB talked about this last week, guess not. Make no mistake this wasn’t a small move.

  16. None of the changes are personal or to blame any individuals. Its like after 2012 everybody came back serious and total business. Did the right things during the lockout/time.

  17. Naturally Q is going to be outraged. Kitchen supposedly is his best friend and favorite drinking buddy.
    Mind you when Q fired Mike Haviland it was “just the business we are in”.

    In football terms, Kitchen was the defensive coordinator, a huge task.
    I’m not sure Dent is the guy for this job.
    The Hawks need to win in 2017-2018 and a first time NHL Assistant/Coordinator is very very risky.

  18. Obviously, there are things going on behind closed doors that we are not able to view or judge. Like SSHM said, this is bigger than just a coach being fired. Something was going on that didn’t sit well with SB, so he got rid of what he thought was the problem, or ONE of the problems.

    For all we know, this could go back to last years first round exit against the Blues. We have to trust the guys who are calling the shots. Other changes HAVE to be made!!

  19. There is gossip, clicks, smiling knives and plain ruthlessness at all companies/businesses/firms. The Hawks as an entity have lost lots of money exiting the playoffs so quickly the last two years. The bottom line is everything is financially driven — be it the Hawks, car dealerships, banks, restaurants or Madigan v. Rauner and vice-versa. This is the cruel nature of society.

    Let’s not cry for Q, he has been rolling in the skeet for nearly a decade now, well over eight figures grossed aggregately.

  20. Agreed no sympathy for Q. He had his buddy around for awhile but the country club is over. That was made clear on Saturday.

  21. FS ’63-do you really think the Leafs will take a big cap hit for seven more years and he will be 32 next year? (23/24-Cap Hit 6.8 mil.) when they will have to pay their future stars before that? No way–the contract is painful.
    They want someone like Alzner who’s 2 or 3 years younger and an UFA or a trade for a top 2 d-man.

  22. I think overall Q did a very poor job of preparing this team this season. Often they looked disinterested. Remember the 6-0 and 5-0 drubbings this past season and the losses to the weaker teams ? I think Q is a great coach but he seems to believe that he can do no wrong. He should be extremely embarrassed at how poor the special teams were all season and how piss poor the Hawks played in all 4 playoff games. It was BRUTAL ! Wake up Q — you are not the story . The team is.

  23. Q knows how the business works, you don’t fall flat on your face and expect nothing to change. This is SB sending a shot over the bow that status quo isn’t an option. To me this is a clear signal that a big contract will also be moved. I can’t see a press conference next September where SB says “we really shook things up by bringing in a new assistant and some new 4th liners”. The week of the draft should be very interesting.

  24. Ernie, “Every team would cherish a guy like Seabrook.” — great! What will they be willing to give up? Moving that RIDICULOUS salary would solve a lot of the Hawks’ cap problem. (But, I’m with you – I questioned/was against the Oduya trade – looked like he was too often injured/had nothing left.)

    I would replace Kitchen with Hossa IF his salary would no longer be a cap hit…

  25. I have to agree that coaching was questionable this year.
    The PP was the same old thing for the past few years, pass it around but really give it to Keith to shoot. The other teams have long figured it out and just placed a shot blocker in front of Keith. Keith’s assists count shows this and I have nothing ageast Keith.
    I do not know What! the defense was doing?
    The PK was? The Hawks had one SHG!
    As for the playoff games, it looked the 1980 series between the Red Army Team and the NHL All-Stars (Future HAFer). The Red Army Team was a skilled passing team and the NHL team brut force. The Reds were handing it to the HNLers. Finally at the end the NHLers just lined up across the centerline (taking the center ice away) and it worked to some degree. Sound like the Pred. Series? The Preds. Took the center ice away and you saw the Hawks lost just circling in their own defensive zone. The coaching staff, as a whole should have corrected this after the first game. Dumping it in and chasing it is not the Hawks game. I saw Kero stuck behind the net with no one to pass to, too much of your hero Kruger and no Toews.
    Finally, I thought last year the Preds. and this year the Leafs looked like the Hawks when they defeated the Wings.

  26. Too much is being made out of all this. Kitchen an easy target since players not crazy about him anyhow. Q will show dissatisfaction cause he doesn’t want his friend to think that he was the one who threw him under the bus. Ofcourse the core players didnt deliver but this isnt the first time and you cant win a Cup with 7 players. Remember last cup when we were all trying to figure out why Tazer, Kaner Hoss and the others were underperforming (especially the series against the Wings). The only thing different then is that you had the Bollands, the Froliks, the Saaders, the Shawzies, the Bickels etc who bailed things out. Bowman tried last year bringing in Ladd and the other two from Montreal which was a good move regardless of the result. What did Stan do this year? So, like Stan said, HE has to be better too and lets not throw all this stuff on those fantastic players and that fantastic coach that broke a 50 year drought and brought in another two just for good measure. So Stan stop whining and work with Q on getting some role players caused this is the best core in modern hockey history.

  27. Just a point of interest no move clauses do not apply to buyouts and to buy Seabrook out in june would reduce his cap hit to 1.023 m/ per year for 14 years. Free up up almost 6m in cap space.

  28. Sorry looked at the last years of it initially would be a 3.398 hit for 5 years. So only be 3m in space.

  29. If he’s bought…extremely unlikely. The cap hit fluctuates. It’s a weird contract. In 2022/2023 his hit would be 6.8 million…if he’s bought out. Not gonna happen.

  30. In my opinion this is more than a shake things up PR move after they got swept. How many millions did it cost the organization not getting that game 5 home playoff game? Do you think Rocky knows that number? I think its a realization that coaching is a problem. Q is on the clock and he absolutely should be. Just saying that they still would have lost regardless of coaching isnt good enough. The coaches sucked just as much as the players. Three goals in 4 games is absolutely indefensible. Q basically admitted that, which give me some hope that he can turn it around.

  31. I don’t think this move was about one game of lost revenue. It’s about winning. And winning now before the window closes shut. A little bit of uncomfortablity was needed. 7 years is a long time to have the same assistant coach next to you. One of the things the Red Wings did to keep the players focused was keep changing their assistants. Hearing the same few voices for 7 years gets a little old. Is that why they lost? No. But having a 28th ranked penalty kill didn’t help Kitchen’ s cause.

  32. Firing Kitchen was the opening volley. Stan is sending Q and the players a message. Bowman is telling Q that you play the players I get you the way that maximizes their effectiveness. Case in point is Dailey. Don’t get me wrong he had his deficiencies however he could skate and move the puck and press the offense from the back end. However he “did not fit our system” according to Q and the coach of the defense Kitchen. Coincidence, I don’t think so. Oduya fit the “system” and where did that get us, 7 defensemen in game 4. The system can be sacred when you win, but 2 first round knock outs have ended that naïve notion and Q is on notice.
    To the player Kane, Toews Seab and Keith the message is simple, your play has gotten a coach that you have worked with for years and had success with fired. If you continue on this path Q is next. Stan may not be able to trade them but he sure can bring in a new coach with a different “system” that may not be as comfortable.
    The Kitchen firing is a big deal. Change is a coming.

  33. SB- needs to look into the mirror… who forced SB into signing a D man- on the wrong side of 30 YEARS old…. to that long and Fat contract???

    which is TERRIBLE!!!

    Really- can’t understand it- I get that Seabrook is still better than anything in Rockford – today… but I make do with Kempny or Forsling or Pokka + $6M in space… ALL day long… and his play will only get worse.

  34. I agree a buyout doesn’t seem reasonable but also don’t see how you get out of that contract even if he agreed to a trade without retaining somewhere from 1/4 to 1/2 of his salary.

  35. As I posted above last night, don’t expect the job to go to Ted Dent. In fact, Ted Dent is no longer an employee with the Blackhawks organization at all. Wow.

    Housecleaning continues.

  36. re: Ernie – I wait until someone associated w/ the organization does something wrong and then come to see Wall’s 500 word “I told you so” pontifications, while he’s nowhere to be found while the team is performing well.

  37. I try my best to skip over the “Seabrook has the worst contract in the world” comments. I think it used to be “Crawford has the worst contract in the world”. I skipped over those too. Please. Your team wins, you pay the piper. I’ll take it thank you very much. I am a loyal person and I appreciate the Blackhawks being loyal to their players (given the economic constraints). No crystal balls in this world.

  38. Tab/Ernie… you are right… when Toews went on a point streak… and Played like a $10M player… and hawks were winning a lot… I should have been chiming Hawks can’t score and “something is wrong w/ Toews”… like a I did prior to the streak….

    Meanwhile… many here ( and In the Media)…have suddenly come to the realization that Seabrook’s deal is horrible- contract might be hard to move… and 19 is in decline or Hurt???

    Which- by the way – I have said all season long…

  39. There is 2 ways to look at Seabrooks contract and for the most part I adhere to wiñning 3 cups is something that should be appreciated and he played a huge part in it he deserves what he got. Others want to whine about how bad it is and forget why he got it. If you want to move him and get out of it, yes it will be a hard sell and Bowman has said everything is on the table, so Wall when people are duscussing options available it may have nothing to do suddenly realizing or agreeing with with anything your saying but just eliminating what can ir can’t do. As for the Captain I do firmly he is and will be for a few years yet an elite player who has had injury issues and consistency due to revolving linemates to deal with and never blamed anybody but just did job to the best of his ability

  40. Anything and everything looks good when your winning and doesnot when were shitty. Were not going to reload or blow anything. I can see us doing what ever things make the team better and things that get the right attitude on things we need or want. Every contract is movable somehow. There is a way and it might not be a win trade or even trade but we get done what we want. Harsh and balls out when we have to.

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