The 2021-22 NHL season was arguably the hardest in the history of the Chicago Blackhawks for so many reasons.
Last summer, the team had legit cap space for the first time in a decade and spent like drunk sailors just a few months removed from telling fans they were going to rebuild. The moves made noise and, for some, created a sense of hope that this could be a somewhat successful season (read: maybe at least make a playoff push?).
The off-ice issues that clouded the franchise led to the release of the organization’s internal investigation into the sexual assault of Kyle Beach and subsequent termination of Stan Bowman (yeah, he resigned but…). Rearranging the front office led to the departure of head coach Jeremy Colliton. Derek King got the run at head coach and Kyle Davidson was eventually named the permanent general manager.
The team on the ice was bad. The mix of players Bowman brought in didn’t work, and the coaching wasn’t good enough (especially Colliton). So we went into a deadline as sellers and Davidson made some hard decisions with players fans really liked.
Now, we enter a summer with more questions than answers. What does the coaching staff look like next year? What is the future of the remaining players from the dynasty core? And which young players are viewed as part of the solution by the new front office?
What we do know is the future always offers more opportunity for optimism. And changes are inevitable.
Indeed, significant changes are coming. And some are already here.
I started writing about the Chicago Blackhawks at a young start-up site named Bleacher Report back in 2008. After a season of grinding away on their platform, I decided to make the bold step to go out on my own and start a site where the passion for the Chicago Blackhawks could live and grow.
On Oct. 1, 2009, the first post was published on CommittedIndians.com. It was a preview of the 2009-10 season, which closed with the following:
“But all of the speculation, magazine and video game covers now mean nothing. On October 2, the Blackhawks begin their quest to bring the Stanley Cup to Chicago for the first time in nearly 50 years.“
What we know now is the Blackhawks embarked on a dynasty that brought them more magazine covers, more league-wide attention and three Stanley Cup championships. They won. And they sold tickets… and jerseys, hats, shirts, hoodies and just about anything and everything that could have the iconic Blackhawks logo on it.
What we also now know is they made many decisions behind closed doors that, unfortunately, put winning above all else.
But for 13 years, this has been the primary home of my writing about the Chicago Blackhawks. I’ve written two books about the Blackhawks since starting this site as well, and have been credentialed for multiple Stanley Cup Finals — a dream come true.
The last couple years haven’t been easy. With the pandemic impacting every aspect of life and the organization’s trials, the seasons of change have reached the entirety of the Blackhawks’ fan base.
Now, change has reached this site’s future as well.
Starting today, I am thrilled to announce my full-time coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks is moving. I have accepted that invitation to serve as the lead Blackhawks writer at Bleacher Nation, and am thrilled to join their outstanding team.
It’s bittersweet writing this because of the community we’ve built and developed here over those 13 wonderful, fun, exciting years.
This has been our home to talk about the Blackhawks.
And I’ve loved (almost) every minute of it.
I’ve met so many of you at the United Center, watch parties, bars, cigar shops, book signings and three parades. We’ve developed relationships offline that will move with me from this site to BN.
There are more than 107,000 comments on this site, and fans have clicked to the posts on this site millions of times. Millions. It is truly humbling to look around at the home this has become for fans of the Chicago Blackhawks.
I want to thank everyone who has visited this site, commented, sent a text, DM’d me on Twitter, bought a round or shared a stogie with me over the past 13 years. Through the ups and downs, this site has been a place to share your fandom — happiness, frustration and everything in between. It’s been about us — it always has been.
My invitation to everyone here today is to bring your Blackhawks conversation over to Bleacher Nation. This is far from goodbye. We’re just moving to a new address.