According to Elliotte Friedman, the Chicago Blackhawks have a game plan after surprisingly firing President and CEO John McDonough this week. While Friedman notes in his latest 31 Thoughts article that his source claimed “it was time” to move on, employees are still reeling over the news of McDonough’s exit. The idea for the Blackhawks now is to let the dust settle and tread carefully.
Friedman speculates that the Blackhawks will see what options emerge for a successor before making decisions and there are serious doubts the next person hired to fill the role will have the same power and authority.
McDonough said in a statement about his release, “I wish Danny Wirtz well in his new role, and I am confident the organization will have success in the search for a new President.”
It won’t surprise you to know there is a ton of interest in the position. The Blackhawks have morphed from zombie-like to a colossus. Danny Wirtz was named as the interim president. Will they promote from within? There are candidates, but will a few of them — including executive VP Jay Blunk, senior VP of hockey operations Al MacIsaac, maybe even Bowman himself — be seen as too close to McDonough? Another name mentioned is VP of marketing Peter Hassen, who pre-dates McDonough’s arrival. We’ll see where it goes.
So What’s the Next Domino to Fall?
In short, nobody is safe in Chicago. The Blackhawks haven’t won a playoff series in five years and this off the heels of being one of the most dominant teams in the NHL for years. Change has been needed and it’s finally coming.
But, McDonough is not solely to blame.
In November of 2018, McDonough chose general manager Stan Bowman over head coach Joel Quenneville. Some fans believed that to be a mistake. Now, as the hockey operations portion of the franchise needs the most work, what comes next?
Friedman notes that it is believe Bowman was given an extension last season. If so, it’s hard to know how likely it is that he’ll be fired. Many will think he should be. If not Bowman, head coach Jeremy Colliton?
It was going to be hard to live up to the success of Quenneville. Again, a number of fans believe this experiment needs to end.
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