Run To The Hills - Yotes 3, Hawks 0
If you're looking for a calm, measured response that you've received in the past here from Sam, you're not going to get it, at least not tonight. This shit is getting out of hand, and something has to give, and fast. While the Hawks did run into yet another hot goalie tonight, nothing was done to even slightly increase their chances of breaking through, such as driving to the net, or avoiding direct chip ins to Smith, who is excellent at playing the puck. It all led to a predictable result, and the launch codes are being downloaded as we speak.
The holes on this team have been manifold from pretty much the get go, so those looking for a trade were always going to get their wish. The whole Brendan Morisson thing hasn't really come up 7's, though it was low-risk to begin with. Someone is going to get shipped off, either for another center, another rugged forward, or some manner of defenseman. A goalie? Maybe, but the options are limited. But the bigger question now becomes what to do with this coaching staff. The oft mentioned "core" isn't going anywhere, no matter how many meatballs bellow for a trade of Kane for the completely human and often bad Ryan Miller. Picks and prospects are going to be dealt at the risk of mortgaging the future, because that's what happens to accumulated picks and prospects.
Blame Stan for giving Q a shit hand to deal with, but it's not Bowman who has helmed two of the more inept special teams units in the league, which is beyond unforgivable given the talent on either side. It hasn't been Bowman who has had 6 days of chalk talk in the last 8 days, and yet still the same errors remain. The cry has been for a physical, penalty killing defenseman, and there's been one on the roster that Quenneville refuses to use on the PK. Even if Quenneville is preaching the exact correct things that need to be done, it's evident and equally damning of the job he's doing that his team has tuned him out. For all the wins he's accumulated in his coaching career, Quenneville HAS been fired twice before, both times mid-season, and we're starting to see why. On top of that, it's retroactively becoming even more evident that the 2010 unit succeeded because it was Quenneville proofed, because all of these same errors have been in place for nearly 4 seasons now. The disorginization on the power play, the playing of favorites and asinine personnel decisions, and the line juggling. OH THE LINE JUGGLING. Though Q preaches a fantastic uptempo philosophy where the best offense starts in the defensive zone, the above flaws routinely bite that in the ass. And that the message seems to now be falling on deaf ears only exacerbates these problems.
In the NHL, the coaching carousel never stops spinning, and bench bosses are often fired for doing more with less talent and fewer expectations that this team has had. The question now becomes the leveling of blame, and given that Quenneville was not Bowman's hire, it seems more than probably that's where the guillotine will fall. Though, the options for replacements are limited at best, which may save Q's ass. Though Mike Haviland is ready to run a team in the NHL, being thrown in the deep end like this isn't reasonable. Red Ass Randy Carlyle is an option, but his style doesn't fit the roster, and he's getting paid a lot of money of the next couple of years to do jack and shit. And then there's always asking Daddy to descend from on high to take one last run at it for the remainder of the year, but it's unlikely he's got the energy to do so at this point after calling it quits now 10 years ago. Offering the head of Mike Kitchen may placate the masses temporarily, but it doesn't address the fundamental disconnect between Quenneville and Stan, as evidenced by how Q handles the roster Bowman gave him.
There's no easy way out of this. Things aren't going to change just because "they have to at some point." This league, and in particular this conference, are too competitive to allow the Hawks to just waltz right back to the top of the standings as if it's their birthright. Active steps need to be taken; the roster questions are easy, the difficult one now becomes if the man behind the bench has their ear anymore.