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Despite all our rage, we’re still just fans in a (rebuild) cage

We need to get this off our collective chest.

Chicago Blackhawks v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

Now that we’ve had our first glimpses of what this Chicago Blackhawks season is going to be like, the SCH staff has assembled to release every ounce of great vengeance and furious anger that has built as the team has tumbled from its lofty heights to whatever the hell it is right now. We encourage everyone who reads this to scroll down to the comments and unleash their own tirades — while keeping within the SB Nation community guidelines, of course — so we can get them out of our collective systems.

Mil

Congratulations to all the newer Blackhawk fans who arrived in the last decade-plus. We all get to re-live the early 2000’s Dollar Bill era together!

This team may be worse than the ones that featured the famous “A-B-C Line” and company. They’re in an actual rebuild. Remind me why I had to sit through an inept coach and a worthless GM for the last four seasons who were the driving force behind this underperformance?

The former team president is probably more to blame than anyone. Once the good times were over and nostalgia wore off, the money stopped coming in. Now, the same fans who continuously gave the evil empire their hard-earned cash are paying for the sins of those who ran this machine into the ground.

The Hawks are lucky that North American sports franchises don’t have to face relegation.

Shea

I’m still not over the lack of return from the Alex DeBrincat trade, nor the fact that Derek King is still somehow on this coaching staff.

I don’t want to complain about the team being iced this season because take it from a Detroit Lions fan: the only way to improve is to be bad for a while (or to draft better than the Blackhawks have drafted for the past decade).

I think this team will be fun in the “ooh, isn’t that an interesting car wreck, I wonder how they did that?” sort of way. Watching other players score entertaining goals is fun. Just not for your team.

You wanna see Connor McDavid go end-to-end and score a top-shelf goal? That could happen against the Blackhawks this season! You wanna see Nathan MacKinnon absolutely bully a defender? That could be Caleb Jones!

The kids are what this season is about, and I swear to god, if Phil Kurashev averages under 13 minutes again I will Ra-Ra-Riot. With the season dead and most of the players probably halfway out the door already, Kurashev still couldn’t get any time or good linemates last season.

I’m gonna set aside space now to complain about #DerekKingHatestheKids. It’s like Tony LaRussa. If you want to yell and bully kids go back to retirement and get kids off your lawn or go be in a Clint Eastwood movie. Sports are supposed to be fun, including for those playing at the professional level. I don’t think this team has had any fun the past few years.

It’s certainly not been fun to watch, at least outside of a few players who now play for teams in the Eastern Conference. That’s something that could actually change this year, and while it may not be a positive change, Conor Bedard and Matvei Michkov are worth the suffering.

I’m not saying this team or fanbase should turn into the 2014-15 Sabres where they were actively rooting for the Coyotes to score goals on them, but I’m also not, not saying that. Look, just like in 2014-15, a few losses to the Coyotes is not necessarily a bad thing as long as those losses are entertaining and not 2-1 losses.

That’s what I want to avoid this season. If you’re gonna lose, at least make it fun losing. Lose 10-5 or 5-3 or 7-4.

Also, play the kids, cowards. I know many of them didn’t make the roster, and that’s a bad thing. You’re telling me the only two defensemen worth a roster spot, with Jake McCabe hurt and Caleb Jones “existing” were Alec Regula and Alex Vlasic? Okay.

TBH I’m just not that mad. I’m glad the Hawks are tanking as opposed to going the Minnesota route and just praying that a late-round pick becomes the franchise savior.

Dave

I fucking hate this. Every second of this. Even if it makes since, this approach to professional sports needs to be loaded into the nearest ACME cannon, fired through the sun, regathered and fired into the sun again. This whole approach is taking the soul of the games being played and whittling it down to formulas on a spreadsheet.

And it’s somewhere around 70 or 80 percent the result of how much Stan Bowman fucked this whole thing up with his decisions for the on-ice product.

LBR

The most rage-inducing thing for me is still how Bowman left the team in a clusterfuck chasing his lash hurrah. The kick in the pants was obviously the Seth Jones trade, which is a dead horse conversation at this point, but it’s just so, so frustrating to think about what the Blackhawks could have been in an alternate universe where that trade never happened.

Watching Cole Sillinger do this kind of move just one year after his draft drives me crazy thinking about the what-ifs, and David Jiricek is exactly the projected No. 1 defender the Blackhawks need. Not milking the Tampa Bay Lightning for more assets to take Tyler Johnson off their hands was like adding salt to the wound. So bitter still about all this.

Grievances with the new regime are more minor. Losing Alex DeBrincat was a big blow, and it’s going to take a while before I stop holding a grudge against Kyle Davidson. It may have needed to happen to make this team as terrible as possible for tanking purposes, but that doesn’t mean the return shouldn’t have been stronger.

The way the Reichel demotion was discussed rubbed me the wrong way. Richardson said that it’s better Reichel plays top-line minutes in the AHL rather than as a fourth-liner in the NHL, which is objectively true, but why not just play Reichel in the top-nine then? Tyler Johnson and MacKenzie Entwistle are currently on the second and third lines, respectively, so there’s obviously room to fit Reichel up there. Again, it’s not a bad idea to send Reichel down, it’s just silly to imply it was performance based.

Sitting Regula for Tinordi is another head scratcher if only because Tinordi is a pylon, and there’s no reason he should suit up for two games in a row ever. And then playing Jack “good guy, bad at hockey” Johnson over 20 minutes both games is not confidence-inspiring in the department of coaching decisions. However, I’m willing to allow than it’s just two games so we’re at a level of being “irked” rather than truly angry.

Ultimately, I’m glad the Hawks are rebuilding — I just wish it didn’t include a season like this one where my interest is zapped. There just aren’t many reasons to watch this season. At least with the flash-in-the-pan rebuild season in 2020-21, there were a lot of young players to be excited about. Even watching Patrick Kane is tainted because it’s pretty much just a countdown to when he leaves. Other teams have been epically bad without resorting to the Blackhawks current approach, too, so I just wish there had been a different way. Losing is expected, but it feels like we’re in for painful experience this year.

I’m more disappointed than I am mad tbh. It won’t stop me from watching, and while I think I will be able to find positives along the way, that task feels more difficult than ever before.

Feel better now?