CHICAGO — In nearly each method possible, new Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton is completely different than Joel Quenneville.

Simply 33-years-old, Colliton is a contemporary hockey coach who pays shut consideration to analytics however is brief on expertise. His message is relentlessly constructive and inspiring. Quenneville, 60, however solely paid passing consideration to the brand new numbers and was identified to plant gamers in his hard-to-escape doghouse. 

Substantial modifications are actually coming to Chicago’s system within the coming weeks. Something big wasn’t readily obvious throughout Colliton’s Thursday evening debut, however there are anticipated to be new wrinkles for a roster that also has Stanley Cup remnants together with a expertise deficit, a scarcity of depth and extreme points on the blue line.

“I feel we have to give attention to what we’re doing proper now and begin doing it a little bit cleaner, a little bit sharper,” Colliton stated after the Blackhawks’ 4-Three loss to Carolina. “I feel we will solely take one piece at a time.”

Throughout his introductory information convention Tuesday, Colliton made it clear he would not blow every part up in a single day. He acknowledged he would begin by tweaking issues right here and there earlier than finally implementing his personal system.

On Thursday, that performed out — though, essentially the most noticeable variations weren’t actually associated to X’s and O’s.

To start, Colliton was not introduced after the Blackhawks starters previous to the sport. Whether or not that was in deference to Quenneville – who was greeted a loud “Q!!!!” cheer to wrap the intros – or to guard Colliton from any deflected wrath actually aimed on the entrance workplace, that omission set an unorthodox tone to start Chicago’s first sport in a decade with a brand new coach.

“Actually, I by no means even thought of it,” commented Colliton. “If they’d have requested me I’d have stated ‘no.’ Possibly they only knew that.”

MORE: Firing of Joel Quenneville ends Blackhawks’ golden period

For star participant Patrick Kane, he had solely identified Quenneville’s voice since his sophomore season; nonetheless, the coach who inherited a younger workforce led by Kane and Jonathan Toews again in 2008 and turned them into champions is gone for good. Now it is on Kane and his teammates to regulate to a brand new bench boss.

“It is completely different. We have performed for a similar man for 10 years,” famous Kane, who scored his 12th objective of the season within the loss. “Clearly any sort of change goes to be a little bit bit completely different, however I assumed for his first sport he was very calm.” 

Colliton’s demeanor was one thing that helped the Blackhawks keep within the sport on Thursday. 

Because of sloppiness in their very own zone and a woeful energy play – points that helped doom Quenneville – Chicago fell behind 3-Zero after 20 minutes. However, it does not sound like there was some blowup within the Blackhawks dressing room or chewing out of the gamers. As an alternative, it appears like Colliton established his presence by displaying who he’s.

“Appeared like he sort of had a strong message there, in between the primary and second, simply to scrub up some issues and have a greater response,” Kane stated. “Any time you play for a brand new coach, there’s going to be a couple of variations right here and there. So far as judging a coach, for his first sport, I assumed he was presence behind the bench.”

Brandon Saad, who was a key a part of two Stanley Cup groups beneath Quenneville, echoed what Kane stated.

“He is a peaceful man [and] I feel he does job with getting the room to hear to you with out screaming and hooting and hollering,” the winger commented. “He looks like he is well-educated concerning the sport. The issues he says make sense, so I feel it is nearly us committing to it as a workforce and enjoying that type of hockey.”

Committing to Colliton and the modifications he has made and can make will decide whether or not the 2018-19 Blackhawks return to the playoffs.

Thursday’s loss ran their winless streak to 6 and so they fell beneath .500 for the primary time this season. So as to add to the urgency, a gauntlet of adverse video games awaits in late November and December. But, even with an underwhelming roster, the phrases of workforce president John McDonough throughout Tuesday’s information convention made it clear the franchise nonetheless expects to make it again to the postseason.

“It is completely different, however proper now there isn’t any time to consider it,” Saad stated of adjusting to a brand new coach. “It is simply committing to his workforce sport.” 

Nevertheless, even that may not be sufficient to avoid wasting this Blackhawks workforce. In contrast to the final decade, it is not on Quenneville to make the proper strikes. The method of getting used to that actuality has begun for the Blackhawks.

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