Any team would be upset with being swept briskly from the first round, especially with a 13-3 goal differential, and especially a franchise with recent successes like the Chicago Blackhawks.
In speaking with the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus, team president John McDonough stated that “we were steamrolled” by the Nashville Predators and that it “wasn’t a fluke.”
While other franchises (like, say, the veteran-saddled Los Angeles Kings) have been known to be loyal possibly to a fault, the Blackhawks have perpetuated their dominance in part by being willing to let significant parts go to stay lean and competitive. It’s no surprise, then, that McDonough provided the Sun-Times with comments like these:
“It’s certainly a wake-up call, for sure,” McDonough said of the sweep. “And I’m not a sentimentalist. I don’t get caught reminiscing about three Stanley Cups or parades or anything like that. It’s up to Stan [Bowman] and his staff to figure this out on the hockey side.”
Wow, that’s almost “fire emoji” territory, eh?
Now, that’s not to say that McDonough’s trashing everyone running the ship. He still was mostly flattering to Bowman & Co., even if he also admits that he lives “in a world of concern,” which sounds like the beginning of an ad for anxiety medication.
Bowman has already shown that he’s still on board with making bold moves, even if they ruffle some feathers, particularly those of Joel Quenneville.
(Did that phrase include feathers to make you think of his mustache? Perhaps.)
Yes, success tends to mend fences, but it is indeed true that there were some tense moments for Coach Q & Co. during rare fallow periods. Memories can suddenly become “long” again when things start to get dicey.
Now, we’ve seen management make some moves, and it certainly seems like McDonough is in favor of some changes … but how much room does Bowman really have to work with? Their cap situation looks awfully tight by Cap Friendly’s measures, so it could be an awfully challenging offseason for the Blackhawks. And there have already been some bitter moments.
On the other hand, if any team has shown the ability to adapt even in tough times, it’s this group.