The Blackhawks gambled in November when they fired Joel Quenneville and turned the team over to a young Jeremy Colliton. That gamble didn’t look so good for a few months, but it does now.
This has been like three hockey seasons in one for Colliton. The first when he was in Rockford at the start of the season. The second when he joined the Blackhawks and the team struggled., The third part is now with the Hawks riding a seven-game winning streak.
“I think we’ve shown some resiliency,” said Colliton in an understatement Monday after practice.
The Blackhawks have survived the rockiest stretch of hockey this franchise has seen in the last decade. Colliton’s been a big part of that. His steadiness and his calm demeanor kept this team steady when it would have been easy for guys to start panicking and pointing fingers. Colliton says he’s always been a positive guy.
“It must have been ingrained in me. I don’t know. I think that’s what you do to win. We are trying to move this forward.”
When Colliton took over the Blackhawks on November 6 their record was 6-6-3. Now with Colliton thanks to this winning streak the Blackhawks’ record is 17-18-6. There’s every reason to believe that record will soon climb above .500.
The players will tell you that one of the things that impresses them the most about Colliton is he’s unflappable even when things aren’t going so well and they certainly weren’t going well earlier.”
“He’s always that guy where when everything around him kind of fluctuates a little bit he seems to be very calm, and I think that’s one thing that’s very positive about him,” said Blackhawks’ defenseman Carl Dahlstrom.
At Colliton’s introductory press conference in November he said it would take some time for him to earn the trust of the veterans on this team, so I asked him Monday if he felt he now fully has that trust.
“I don’t know. It’s a hard question to answer,” said Colliton. “I feel like they’re responding really well to the feedback they’re getting, and they’re playing hard and that’s all you can ask as a coach. We’re working together…we’re all in this together. We wall want to win. I think the response of the players has been pretty good.”