While watching the renaissance of the Chicago Blackhawks over the past year, one can't help but wonder what's going through Rocky Wirtz's mind.
On one hand, the guy loved his father. But, like all of us, we have different ideas on how things are done than our parents do. Once he took over the Blackhawks, he began implementing changes that were completely antithetical to what his father did. The televising of home games, the exile of Bill Pulford, the burying of the hatchet with erstwhile members of the Hawks family like Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Tony Esposito, and the return of prodigal play-by-play man Pat Foley. All things his father never would have done.
On the other hand, I'm sure he was there for the home opener last season, and heard the fans while Dale Tallon eulogized his father. They heard his anger toward him, and more than one fan walking through the United Center singing "Ding Dong, Wirtz Is Dead". The unspoken truth in all of this is, his father's death might be the best thing to happen to the Hawks in decades.
Whatever this humble blogger's feeling are in regard to William Wirtz have been put away. It's ancient history, as far as I'm concerned. But, whatever I think, he's not my father. Besides, I've spoken to people who knew him, and aside from whatever he did in regard to the Blackhawks, he seemed to be a good guy.
I'm sure there are people in the world who aren't members of my father's fan club, but I sure as hell wouldn't want them talking about how much better things are now that he's gone.
Rocky has done wonders for the franchise. They should make the playoffs this season, and fans have every reason to believe than Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will be the cornerstones for this franchise for many years to come.
Still, none of this could have happened without his father's dying. Knowing that has got to be tough.
I'm just grateful that Rocky has moved the franchise forward. Whatever happens this year and beyond, Rocky deserves our thanks for that.