Blackhawks Win Derek King’s Head Coaching Debut In OT

Welcome to the Derek King Era of Chicago Blackhawks hockey!

After winning only once in their first 12 games under the leadership of Jeremy Colliton, the Blackhawks picked up two points in King’s first game calling the shots.

The first thing that was painfully obvious was an improved effort. In fact, the effort we saw against a Nashville Predators team that had won five of their last six coming in makes it even more clear that Colliton had lost the room. It’s a damn shame it took as long as it did to move on from him because the effort we saw on Sunday night can — and will — win games.

In regulation, the Blackhawks out-shot the Preds 31-21.

While Colliton was the head coach, the Blackhawks started slowly; on Sunday night they out-shot the Preds 10-5 in the first period.

While Colliton was the head coach, the Blackhawks finished games poorly — especially Friday night’s finale of Colliton’s tenure. On Sunday night, the Hawks out-shot the Preds 14-8 in the third period.

King started overtime with Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane and Seth Jones on the ice. That paid off as the Hawks got a turnover and took off up the ice. DeBrincat and Kane executed a perfect passing sequence that ended with DeBrincat ending the game.

The group King sent out to start overtime made sense. As did the lines he skated primarily during 5-on-5 play during the game.

Chicago’s best line was, not surprisingly, the one with Jonathan Toews in the middle. But instead of being saddled with fourth (or fifth) line wings, Toews spent most of the night with Dominik Kubalik and Brandon Hagel. That group led to the Hawks’ first goal of the night and they were on the ice together for 15 Blackhawks’ shot attempts to only five for Nashville.

Another sore subject has been Erik Gustafsson getting ice time under Colliton. He was limited to under seven minutes on Sunday night; he should be on waivers soon so the Hawks can either move on from him or get him to Rockford so one of the young defenseman who should be on the NHL roster can be in the lineup.

Kevin Lankinen was terrific, stopping 20 of 21.

30 thoughts on “Blackhawks Win Derek King’s Head Coaching Debut In OT

  • November 7, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    Yes they tuned out that last coach we had, I forgot his name already. Great effort.

  • November 7, 2021 at 9:07 pm

    A much better effort for sure, fun game to watch. Hope Hagel and Entwistle are ok, rough looking knee on knee there it seemed. Pens cooled off considerably since there hot start, then Coyotes, be an interesting week. Couple of subtle differences by coach, Lankinen making a big save when needed, helped too.

  • November 7, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    Let’s see how they play going forward. Often in sports when there’s an in season coaching/manager change, it provides an immediate spark which will last for a little while before the team reverts back to how they were playing before the change. This isn’t a playoff team, but hopefully certain guys, namely Fleury, can be performing well enough to have some value come trading season. Really starting to get concerned with Dach. Awful again at the dot and he’s just not finishing his chances.

  • November 7, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    The immediate difference in the team that I noticed was that they were ready to play at puck drop and they back checked their asses off all night and when they did they came back to the danger areas and eliminated high quality chances against. Lanks was solid and spectacular at times. Nashville plays a lock/trap but they allow a couple of their D Men to rush and roam. The negatives that I have are the goal against, Dehaan should have knocked their D Men cutting to the net front from behind into next week. Instead he politely reached with his stick allowing a free rush across net front tossing the puck in between Lanks legs. DeHaan plays like someone who is trying to avoid injury. Lets move him at the deadline. Kubalik is a 3rd line winger. He whiffs and fumbles most of his high quality chances. He played hard tonight but a finisher has to be on the top 2 lines. Hagel looks like he has at the least a separated shoulder. I hope Gaudette finally gets a real chance or someone lets us know why he can’t make this lineup. Gus should be placed on waivers as soon as Kalynuk,and caleb Jones are full strength. I would anticipate Mitchell now will get a solid and real look. Onward and upward!

  • November 7, 2021 at 9:35 pm

    In even better news, imo- Reichel with a hat trick for the Hogs today. 6 goals and 8 points in his first 8 official professional North American games.

  • November 7, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    I may have to get my eyes checked but the final stats show we had more hits, more blocked shots, perfect PK and outshot the Preds. At least you can compete if you are doing that most nights. Most importantly we didn’t beat ourselves. Thought Murphy was really good and was impressed with Stillman as well.

  • November 7, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    Dach is not finishing, but he is playing great. Maybe you can’t say someone is playing great if they aren’t finishing, so I will acknowledge that. He won multiple puck battles on the boards and was in a position to score. Waiting for it to all come together is getting more difficult. Maybe he has to be a wing if he can’t win face-offs.

    Hagel was phenomenal. He could have had 4 assists and all would have been “Kane like.” Kubi couldn’t convert on the Hagel passes. Hopefully, the injury is minor. I disagree with Kubi being a 3rd liner. He has always been streaky. He’s not scoring now and Saros did make a really nice save on him.

    Lank was very good. I’m not sure that stuff shot should have gotten through, but if goalies were perfect, every game would be 0 – 0.

    Jones looked good too.

    Given how important face-offs are in OT, I wasn’t sure that putting DeBrincat out there to take the draw was a great idea and he did lose it convincingly. It ended well.

    Kane uncharacteristically fanned a couple times during the game. He made up for it on the sweet dish to DCat.

    The air felt a little different even watching from home. The burden of having the coaching change behind us helped and the players playing hard made it more watchable too. Maybe that is wishful thinking or something, but it seemed to feel different.

    Was glad to see DCat grab the puck out of the net to give to Coach K.

  • November 7, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    Like to hear good things about Reichel. Need more draft elites to form a good core to be top team again.

    We need a guy like Cael Sanderson he knows how to recruit/draft and then develop.

  • November 7, 2021 at 10:22 pm

    If Reichel does get recalled soon, a playmaker like Borgstrom and a winger like Hardman or Entwistle with him could make nice looking 3rd line for him to get his feet wet in Nhl on.

  • November 7, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    Hagel looks like he’ll miss time – I imagine King wants to see either Borg or Gaudette before calling up Reichel – we’ll see

    The feel was so different- they didn’t seem to be overthinking everything although they were still a bit tight I thought – lots of missed opportunities and fumbled shots on good chances but this type of grind it out win is just what they need to relax

    Can’t say how big that Lank save was in the third – that feels like the first game saving save we’ve had all year

    Jones was great although when he had that shot off the post I thought he had a lane over to Cat who was waiting for the one timer

    Dach’s lack of finish is a bit concerning but I still believe he’ll correct it – he’s pressing right now

    Congrats to King well deserved

  • November 7, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    Don’t like starting OT without a center. Not surprisingly Preds won the draw. Had they gone down and scored off that draw the new coach would have been lambasted. I know it paid off but it was a needless gamble that could easily have gone the other way.

  • November 7, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    Pucklogic, i like the statement King made tonight. His best pkayers got play where they can be his best players 12,77, 88 line and 38,19,8 line the top 2 lines and 3rd and 4th lines he’ll figure out. Same with D, Jones and Murphy far away the most minutes his best 2 D and Gus a 6th D, pp specialist with limited shifts.
    Same in Ot, 2 most dangerous forwards out, yes likely to lose opening fo, but Lankinen on his game tonight and Jones earning his big contract behind them to get the puck, again saying his best players got to be his best players for them to win, like it.

  • November 8, 2021 at 6:10 am

    REICHEL- showed great speed/hands in those hilites

    Just makes SBs off season delusions of being a solid team this year- even more to swallow.

    Cat/Reichel/Dach + the 2 picks traded away ( high 1st rounders)- would have made for a solid foundation

    Rebuild is set back 2-3 years due to SB- what a dufus

  • November 8, 2021 at 6:26 am

    Rocky maybe you need to follow this page because all the GM’s here have been begging for this change! Hawks haven’t looked this good in a long time. Go Hawks !!!

  • November 8, 2021 at 6:31 am

    My 2 main takeaways from this game are: 1) the guys were able to play on instinct without fear of repercussion &
    2) how they (coach included) handled the game after it was clear Hagel wasn’t returning.
    They weren’t a mess of scrambled eggs out there and kept it together when crap happened (NSH goal, Hagel out).
    What a relief.
    On to the next one!

  • November 8, 2021 at 7:36 am

    I didn’t get a chance to say in the earlier posts about Colliton’s firing – but Thank Goodness!! Now, let’s not dwell on the guy who should have never been hired, and about his boss, who should have been fired in 2017! Let’s look at the positives:

    1.) The players “wanted” to show that it was not them, it was the coach and his system that got us to 1-9.
    2.) The defensemen on this team, sans Gustafson, can actually play defense!
    3.) Staying on that topic, Kalynuk and Caleb Jones are almost at 100%. Say good-bye to Gustafson and hopefully DeHaan.
    4.) Maybe the new GM will be able to trade Strome, so that Borgstrom can rejoin the starting lineup.
    5.) Reichel had a hatty for Rockford last night, so that means we should have another weapon coming up soon. BTW – Nylander has looked good there too. Just saying! :)
    6.) Now, let’s get Kubalik and Dach scoring goals and not hiding behind the net or digging in the corners.

    It was nice to get a win! It sucks when someone loses their job, but Collition should have never been hired and Bowman, well, it didn’t suck that he lost his job! He deserved it!

  • November 8, 2021 at 7:44 am

    Let’s see effort in a week or so. First time out with a changed coach always looks like this. But was good to see, and hopefully these coaching decisions remain strong.

  • November 8, 2021 at 8:19 am

    Congrats Derek!! It was a nice win for the team.

    The players put in a worthy effort for the new coach, lets hope King can continue to
    develop these guys into a team. That’s a concept neither Stan nor JC understood.

    Hopefully Hagel/Entwhistle are both OK, Gus is placed on waivers and Gaudette gets
    a chance. Carpenter can go also, he’s nothing but extra weight.

    One last note, will Toews ever be the Toews of old, it doesn’t look good as of now.

  • November 8, 2021 at 8:43 am

    On Carp – I’ve seen enough of him on PP1 – he’s a good 4th liner no shame in that but he’s shouldn’t be on PP1

    I get that King wasn’t going to change things with one game day skate to his credit but hopefully soon he does

    Personally I’d give Strome a shot at the bumper position- Strome is probably most valuable on the PP with the high skill guys – use him in that role

  • November 8, 2021 at 9:00 am

    After Pens game 2 off days before Coyotes, then 4 off days before starting a 4 game west swing. So those off days should allow for a chance to make some tweaks on the ice and personnel. The 26th before they play in Calgary, first time acrooss border again, so covid protocol hopefully be out of the picture for them by then.

  • November 8, 2021 at 9:26 am

    It was nice to see the team play like they actually believed they had a chance to win. I think Nashville helped a bit by trying to make the extra pass in situations where they could/should have taken the shot, but I am not complaining. Liked what I saw from McCabe, thought he played well defensively. Liked what I saw from the Toews line with Hagel and Kubalik.

    This is the kind of game that the Hawks need to do habitually/instinctively. Commit to playing defense first. Hopefully, King can get these guys to find their offense, but I suspect the transition game will start to net them some points and that should loosen them up a bit.

  • November 8, 2021 at 9:40 am

    Well, Derek King is a Hamiltonian like me ! Starting playing in the O when he was 15 ,then for the Soo ! Road the bus in the A and then had a 40 goal season with the Isles ! He does have the credentials ! Let’s hope the guys play for him as he has had quite the Apprenticeship! He has 600 points in 800 games in the NHL so he does know how the game should be played ! POPS 4

  • November 8, 2021 at 10:03 am

    Hawks had a good game but we are not out off the wood yet .It’s just one game and Hagel ( their best warrior) will probably be out for a few games , Lank was good in goal and $Jones continue his good work .
    I don’t think the Hawks should bring Reichel in NHL now ..let him have fun and play in the AHL for a year or at least 40-45 games . Not now because he had a hat trick,it’s not a good reason so let him grow in Rockford.
    Eager to see Jones and Kalynuk in a few weeks .

  • November 8, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    Dollar Bill, To answer your question on Toews,I would say no way. He has lost any and all explosiveness and strength to his skating that he had even a couple years ago. If you focus on him solely on any given shift he is just surviving the 30-45 seconds and is immediately signaling to get off. His linemates are quite often finishing their shift with the next center up and it is screwing up the line changes for the line following his. If he can not physically recover and compete something has to be done. His wingers have to be on the same page with him as far as changes. Most times with top players you just assume its puck luck or weak wingers stopping them from scoring. In Toews case he is not even sniffing any goal scoring production. His shots never get through and are weak and he does not complete rushes to the net. Its sad to watch him play like this. He looked out of it and disinterested at last nights post game presser. We shall see what happens next.

  • November 8, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    @Tim W.

    I see a retirement ala Seabs/Hossa in the near future if he doesn’t improve. It would be such a shame to see his golden career end like this. I’ll always believe that from 2009 thru 2015 he was the best all around hockey player in the world.

    But it’s 2021 and I agree with your post, with this caveat, maybe they want his line to do a up, back, and off which is still a disservice to Hagel/Kubs. Remarkably he is still the only Hawk that can win a FO.

  • November 8, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    I know this probably sounds like a broken record by now, but let’s not throw 19 out the window just yet. Keep in mind he’s coming back from missing a year of hockey and he’s being asked to take 50% of the team’s faceoffs in every zone of the ice. He’s spent more time with Khiara than he has w/ DeBrincat or Kane at 5 on 5 thus far. If he gets some consistent run w/ more offensively capable forwards the points will be there. Give 19 some time…

  • November 8, 2021 at 10:25 pm

    Love your optimism Tab – I hope you’re right

  • November 9, 2021 at 1:42 am

    My opinion on Toews is people are not throwing him out but we are reporting what we are observing on a nightly basis and it is not getting any better. Not only did he seem disinterested at the post game presser but at the start of overtime the cameras were focused on the Hawks bench where an enthusiastic and excited Derek King went down the bench and tapped him and Dach on the shoulders as the next 2 out and he did not appear very receptive. And the game in Pittsburgh where he vehemently shook his head no when Colliton tapped him to go out and kill a penalty. We can all see that he is nowhere near being any offensive threat and is having difficulty finishing shifts. I wish something different was going on but this is what is happening a month and about 13 games in.

  • November 9, 2021 at 9:02 am

    re Tim W – your perception thru the television screen and what the guy’s actually dealing with are two different things. Also, how many times a) has Toews not started OT, and b) has he had a huge smile on his face on the bench no matter the circumstances? Are we now wanting “Captain Serious” to look like he’s at a carnival having the time of his life?

    Admittedly, Toews needs to be better. But let’s give him a few games with some actual offensively-inclined forwards to see how his offensive numbers look. As I noted, his new line had the best CF% on the roster by a lot on Sunday night. He’s also the best faceoff guy in the NHL right now. They’re working him back in after a long time away.

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