Who Should Fill Out The Blackhawks’ Coaching Staff?

On Saturday, the Blackhawks pulled the plug on their coaching staff. Out are head coach Jeremy Colliton and assistants Tomas Mitell and Sheldon Brookbank.

Rockford IceHogs head coach Derek King is getting promoted. Marc Crawford is staying on board as an assistant. The team has indicated Jimmy Waite (goaltending), Matt Meacham and Dylan Crawford (assistant video coaches) will remain on the Blackhawks coaching staff in their current roles as well.

But the Hawks could still use at least one (if not two) more assistant coaches to replace those whose jobs went adios on Saturday.

At the end of this season, the Blackhawks organization will need to take a deep breath and overhaul the entire hockey operations side of the house. Whether or not the right candidate for the president or general manager roles is available during the season is still to be seen; Kyle Davidson has now signed one prospect and fired a head coach as the interim GM. Now, he needs to fill out a coaching staff.

So who should fill those vacancies?

Brian Campbell

I’ve been advocating for Campbell to take over the blue line group for months. No disrespect to Brookbank, but Campbell played a significantly more prominent role during his NHL career. Furthermore, while interviewing Campbell’s teammates while he was with the Blackhawks, he was a teacher while he played in Chicago. He was respected by his teammates and helped players like Nick Leddy develop.

Campbell is already on the Blackhawks’ payroll. He’s serving as a player development coach currently, and has been behind the bench with King’s staff for the IceHogs previously this season. If the Blackhawks want to develop their young puck-moving defensemen like Ian Mitchell and Nicolas Beaudin, and maybe implement a system that works, Campbell could be a good choice. The fact that he’s already in the organization would make it an easy promotion.

Chris Kunitz

Kunitz has already jumped into an assistant coaching role with the Blackhawks earlier this season when the assistants were in COVID protocol. He, like Campbell, is currently a player development coach in the organization. In the release announcing Colliton getting the axe, the Blackhawks indicated that Kunitz would remain in his current role. But that could change in the coming days.

He appeared in 1,022 regular season games, a terrific career for an undrafted player. His experience would benefit the forwards on the roster, some of whom he played against before hanging up his skates after the 2018-19 season.

Campbell and Kunitz could fill those roles in an interim capacity through the end of the season, at which time they will have additional — and valuable — experience from which they could be evaluated for a more permanent role by the new president of hockey operations and whomever is the general manager moving forward.

29 thoughts on “Who Should Fill Out The Blackhawks’ Coaching Staff?

  • November 6, 2021 at 4:42 pm

    Agree those are likely candidates, don’t add any on the organizations bottom line this year and can return to previous jobs if new blood in a Head coach job brings in his own asst. coaching staff.

  • November 6, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    about effen time!

  • November 6, 2021 at 5:03 pm

    Sounds good to me Tab – I’m not that excited about King as coach but maybe he can re-energize the team and get them out of their heads and reacting instinctually

    A little accountability for the players could do wonders as well

    This team is better than Colliton could get them to play maybe King can start to get them playing to their abilities

  • November 6, 2021 at 5:34 pm

    Hawks need a big name for Coach ( A Leader and a Warrior) …we might have a surprise in less then a month iff King doesn’t do the job .
    Not easy to coach a team after the last weeks .everything is falling apart after the Bowmans big mistake. ..off course Scotty also new about Kyle Beach but……
    Who really wants to come coach in Chicago and Rebuild from the Top and from the bottom off the pyramid.
    Good luck

  • November 6, 2021 at 5:42 pm

    Last thing we want to do here is win

    just keep losing and hope we get 1st pick

  • November 6, 2021 at 6:11 pm

    Funny but we don’t have a first round pick ..remember? …. $ Jones .

  • November 6, 2021 at 6:12 pm

    Just look at what has happened. McDonough fired and Danny Wirtz assumes his role with Bowman getting a little of responsibilities, no new salary. Bowman and MacIsaac resign and don’t get to paid rest of their contract, assistant Gm assumes Bowmans role on interim basis, lose 2 salaries off payroll. Colliton fired, King assumes head coach on interim basis, Rfd. Asst. assumes Head coach there on interim basis, no new salaries added. Brookbank and Mitell fired, likely as Tabs says Campbell and/or Kunitz step in on interin basis, no salariess added. Looks like a short term solution that reduces bottom line of organization for time being and addresses the issues that needed addressed.

  • November 6, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    I usually do not rejoice in people becoming unemployed but it was waaaaay past time for Jeremy and Sheldon. Nice guys, not good coaches.

    V. curious as to why King and not Marc Crawford getting the interim tag??
    From what I’ve seen of Kunitz coaching at camp/practice: he’s high energy & the guys respond to him well.
    Soupy has a great hockey mind & has earned his stripes w/the scouting & development he’s done the last few years; always happy to see a d-man do well.
    Letssssss gooooooooo!

  • November 6, 2021 at 7:53 pm

    Hawks 2010
    1st and 2nd pick both protected I believe. Anything higher belongs to Columbus.

  • November 6, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    Crazy that Blowman did not have Chicagos first round pick at least top 5 protected.
    Looks like Arizona will finish last overall. If the Hawks finish 2nd last overall there is a 74.4 percent chance the hawks will not pick in the bottom 2 after the lottery balls and will lose their first round pick.
    Very little chance of the hawks retaining their first round pick.

    At least the diehard hawks fans can watch Seth Jones.
    The Jones trade is going to go down as one of the worst blackhawks trades of all time.

  • November 6, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    I feel that Marc Crawford should be the head coach. He won a cup with Colorado and Q was his assistant. I say give it to Crawford.

  • November 6, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    Marc Crawford,s previous abuse of players deal sealed his fate as not moving up in the Hawks organization. That would be horrible optics to now make him head coach even if its only for the rest of the season. King and his coaching court will definitely be only to seasons end. This organization needs to make a splash in the front office and behind the bench. Alas , I am not optimistic unless they get a President of Hockey Operations and move Danny over to marketing and selling tickets.

  • November 6, 2021 at 10:02 pm

    All I know is this … Craig Berube’s toughness transformed the Blues from also rans to Stanley Cup Champions. Our new interim coach, Derek King, was also an old school hard nose hockey player. He had legendary fights with everyone from Colton Orr to Derek Boogaard and faired well. So, I hope his toughness does for the Hawks what Berube’s did for the Blues.

  • November 7, 2021 at 1:06 am

    Honest question here …… does the fact that Campbell was a player on the 2010 Cup team “tarnish” him in a way that he is deemed an unacceptable choice?
    I realize that no one says anything but good things about Brian Campbell, and of course Kane and Toews are still active roster players.
    But does someone from the squad get promoted into a coaching role and be subjected to questioning as this continues to pan out?
    Just asking an honest question in light of the travesty that’s gone down the last couple of weeks.

  • November 7, 2021 at 5:36 am

    Big Indian good point, wondered that too, not sure how his current position with otganization compares to an assistant coaches job. May be a reason to keep him away.

  • November 7, 2021 at 7:40 am

    Brad makes a great point, a team builds its identity from the head coach, down through the roster and the team that is on the ice. I always thought that when Q arrived, it took about a year for his demeanor to be injected into the players. He had a focus about him, a steeley eyed stare and a “take no prisoners” attitude that was infectious. Also, his attention to detail on the ice was legendary among coaches.

    Hopefully Derek King can bring a similar discipline to a struggling team and right the ship.

    One shift, one shot, one win at a time!

  • November 7, 2021 at 7:56 am

    Columbus is saying a big Thank you to the Hawks ( they took with the Chicago 12 pick Cole Sillinger 18 y o .6 f 3 203 pounds 9 games played with the nhl team 3 goals 5 pts +2 10 min Penalty ..exactly the guy we need …thank you Bowman and company now let’s see who will be their first round pick ( from Chicago ) next Draft. Probably a top 5 this time … what a bad trade to get $ Jones at 9 millions/ year . Still don’t understand that trade . How can you replace a top 5 pick when you are supposed to be searching for top pick . Such an idiot trade .

  • November 7, 2021 at 8:48 am

    Simple truths:

    1. Stan Bowman was not a good GM. As pointed out to Stan’s Fans in the past, he ranked at the bottom of the league by peers and pundits. For whatever reason, Stan Bowman did the exact opposite of what his father did to turn around Detroit and Chicago and bring home the Cup.

    2. Jeremy Collition should never have been made head coach. He had no accomplishments of any significance. Was never part of a championship team as a player or coach. Never had mentor or was an assistant to a successful head coach. Never proved his system worked anywhere. He is the exact type of coach that Scottie Bowman recommended replacing with a proven veteran at Detroit and Chicago (see previous point).

    3. Derek King is a polar opposite of Colliton (which is good). He played for Al Arbour early in his career. Had 14 years of NHL experience, scoring 40, 38 and 30 goals a season in his prime. Has 20 years of AHL coaching experience as an assistant to wide range of head coaches (seen it all). He is tough, demanding and old school.

    4. As much as I think Danny Wirtz is going to run the franchise into the ground, he does deserve credit for releasing the internal investigation, in its’ entirety, and has positively impacted the entire sports world, college and professional.

    5. It ain’t over til it’s over. The Blackhawks have 70 games left. The Blues turned in around in 2018 after replacing Mike Yeo with Craig Berube. The Blackhawks turned it around after replacing Denis Savard with Q. I strongly suggest everyone read an article titled: ‘St. Louis Blues: Just how bad was Mike Yeo as head coach?’ by Ant Barberio. I think you will see many parallels between Yeo and Collition that, hopefully will leave you a little more optimistic is your assessments.

    Cigar, fire, bourbon, grilled meat

  • November 7, 2021 at 9:11 am

    What has Derek King done with Rockford ? Who cares what kind of player he was…that has zero relevance in his coaching. So stop with this crap. Whoever is coaching this team will fail because of the players, this team is filled with lazy no good slackers….With a terrible AHL defense….that’s right AHL defense, that’s the level they are playing at….just embrace the bottom feeders, this is what the Hawks will be for the next 5 yrs…..bottom feeders.

  • November 7, 2021 at 9:30 am

    the question on the first overall pick for 2022 i beleive that the first and second overall pick if they end up belonging to chicago are protected by them regardless of the seth jones trade. I would like to see an established coach with a history of winning in this league, there are unemployed coaches avl but not likely selected until the end of the current year. as for campbell, not really a defensive minded player was he.

  • November 7, 2021 at 9:35 am

    Beer League, thank you for enlightening me with your highly intelligent and factual assessment.

  • November 7, 2021 at 10:07 am

    Wijg agree theres an opportunity to turn this season around now that wasn’t there until yesterday. Seemed obvious the players/team weren’t going to be competitive under Colliton. Quite possibly what King and Davidson’s future in current positions depends on how much of a turnaround happens.

    I’m not going to blame S. Jones, he is a fine dman and should continue to play like a no. 1 guy for awhile to come. The trade however could end up being a waste if they continue to be mediocre through his contract. Bringing in MAF for a year or TJ for Seabrooks deal didn’t hurt anything going forward, it just help a bit so far this year. Ditto for McCabe so far as well. Hopefully King can get more out of these guys. As for Davidson, i guess at one time you coulda called Bowman a Tallon acolyte too. Right now no reason to be too high or too down on either of them.

  • November 7, 2021 at 10:16 am

    I like that King has put the top 6 players on the top 2 lines

    Cat Dach Kane
    Kub Toews Hagel

    And he has Strome as 3C between Entwistle and Hardman – 2 players to win the puck for Strome – not sure if it’ll work but interesting attempt

    Kurashev to 4th line with Carp and Khaira may add some playmaking to the grinders

    Also has Stillman with Jones, McCabe and Murphy re-united (hopefully McCabe gets his head out of his ass) and DeHaan Gus

    Until Wyatt or Caleb is back we’re gonna have to play Gus somehwere

  • November 7, 2021 at 10:30 am

    From what the TV guys were saying, it sounds like Wyatt is close to coming back. Interesting to see how the D pairings are once he’s ready to play.

  • November 7, 2021 at 11:25 am

    Davidson on firing JC

    “We were making mistakes that were correctable that weren’t being corrected.”

    He nailed that

  • November 7, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Who is John Galt, That Blues team had a load of hard playing physical forwards and a very talented defense. They caught a big break with the 2nd half Binnington break through but I guess my main point here is that this current Hawks team ain’t those Blues. No similarities whatsoever. You just can’t coach softness out of players. It will always show up. They can fake it for a game or 2,maybe, but they will revert back to their soft,unprepared,and lazy ways. This mix just does not work. But, I have been wrong before.

  • November 8, 2021 at 7:45 am

    @Tim W. the point I was trying to make with the Blues example was that there are similarities to Mike Yeo’s failed system and Colliton’s. When I said there is time to turn things around I was not suggesting the Blackhawks can with the Cup like St. Louis or make it to the Conference finals like Q did after taking over. I do believe that getting back to basic hockey will be welcomed by players and fans and ultimately turn things around even though it may be too late to make the playoffs.

    Just curious, did you look up and read the article I referenced?

  • November 8, 2021 at 10:15 am

    Wijg there is definitely similarities with Yeo and the Blues. If you google, John Hynes was set up to fail, but his excuses are running out. One of a number of articles calling for his head a year ago, curiously blame on players not playing to their talent level, no buy on to his system, veterans still with bad habits from previous coach, to a poorly constructed roster. Then those who blame it all on Hynes, stating fundamently flawed, structure wise, line choices, constant blender, ineffective system, not qualified to be head coach, lack of accountability on his part, etc. You could put Collitons name in there and never no it wasn’t an article written about him. A strong finish last year and good start this season quieted things down somewhat though.

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