With the 2021 season officially in the rearview mirror, head coach Jeremy Colliton and president of hockey operations/general manager Stan Bowman met with the media to offer their thoughts on the 2021 season, following Tuesday’s exit interviews with a handful of players.
Bowman went first, starting with some comments about the team’s inconsistencies and the typical vague statement regarding the future:
Stan Bowman: "When we're on our game, we can be a really effective team. We just didn't have the consistency that you need... There's going to be some new players next season, without question... Over the next weeks, we'll make decisions about areas that need to improve."— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) May 12, 2021
Nothing Bowman said was really earth-shattering. A quick rundown:
- More of the same regarding Jonathan Toews’ status
- The Hawks would “like to bring” Lukas Reichel over from Europe
- Injured forward Alex Nylander has been “progressing really nicely” and should be back for next season
- He didn’t think any of the injured players — including Patrick Kane — will require offseason surgery.
- If there’s a college hockey team Chicago fans should keep an eye on next season, it’s Boston University, where both defenseman Alex Vlasic and goalie Drew Commesso are expected to have big roles
The one comment from Bowman that did catch some attention on Twitter was the one below on defenseman Nikita Zadorov:
Stan Bowman acknowledges that Nikita Zadorov had his ups and downs, but says it was mostly good.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) May 12, 2021
"Murph was our most consistent defenseman. But Nikita was in that top two or three, playing against top players."
Not sure how much to read into that, because it’s not like Bowman was going to say something like, “Zadorov sucked this season.” Bowman said later that they are starting contract negotiations with Zadorov, who is now a restricted free agent. We’ll keep an eye on where they go.
Colliton spoke after Bowman and, keeping true to hockey people in general, didn’t say much that was interesting, either. Here are a few highlights, though:
Colliton on the Blackhawks' early success before fading: "The young players, such a big part of that, that drive that we had, and such a big part of us being competitive. ... The schedule and the load of games, wore them down a little bit. So we had a hard time keeping that up."— Phillip Thompson (@_phil_thompson) May 12, 2021
Want more defensive system talk? Here’s more defensive system talk: