Trouble in Paradise for the Chicago Blackhawks


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Jonathan Toews (left) with former Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (right).

By Emily Chin, Staff Writer

Less than three months ago, the Chicago Blackhawks surprisingly beat the Edmonton Oilers in a 4-2 series, advancing to the first round playing the first seeded team, Vegas Golden Knights. Even though they had an early exit, the Blackhawks had an exceptional run in the 2020 playoffs.

As the season came to a close and free agency hit, many were not happy with the direction General Manager Stan Bowman was taking the team. One of them being center and captain of the Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews. Toews is usually a player who doesn’t do a lot of media and stays quiet, especially during the offseason, but this year he didn’t hold back on voicing his opinion about the organization.

As of Saturday, Oct. 10, Toews openly criticized the team’s direction to The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus, saying, “I’ve never been told that we were going through a rebuild…That has never been communicated to me, for that matter. A lot of this comes as a shock because it’s a completely different direction than we expected.”

Bowman has had a history of making some of the most controversial decisions ever, one of them being the firing of head coach Joel Quenneville, which blindsided a lot of players.

On Oct. 9, the city of Chicago learned that their beloved goalie, Corey Crawford, was parting ways with the Hawks. Being drafted in the second round of the 2003 draft and bringing Chicago to win two Stanley Cups in 2013 and 2015, fans were not happy with the fact that the hawks choose not to re-sign the veteran. Now the Hawks are left with three back-up goalies to choose from; Malcolm Subban, Collin Delia, and Kevin Lankinen; all three haven’t had much impact in the NHL so far.

Later on, in the week, news came that forward Brandon Saad was being traded to the Colorado Avalanche for two defensemen, one of them being Nikita Zadorov. Even though the trade cleared up some cap space, it really wasn’t a step forward for the team. For the Hawks to trade Saad for a defenseman that has been inconsistent in his last couple of seasons, fans better be hoping for a long shot.

These two trades may not be the cause of Toew’s abrupt interview altercation, but it sure seems like these were the two trades that people saw as unnecessary and a step back for the future season. Toews is probably not the only core player on the team that was unhappy with these decisions.

It’s definitely alarming for both fans and the organization in general. On one side of the story, people do believe what Bowman did was not wrong. You can say that Bowman doesn’t need to tell players about the technical side of the organization; he doesn’t owe any players an explanation or play of action for the upcoming season. Also, the fact that Toews went straight to the media about his complaints instead of the actual organization could be seen as unclassy on his part.

But a majority of the people do agree with Toews on the fact that Bowman should have at least consulted with the players. People will argue that especially for Toews and Patrick Kane, who are two elite players, who’ve brought the Hawks to win three cups and created a dynasty for an original six team, they should have at least let them know where the team was heading.

What does this rebuild mean? The team will definitely need to fix up their goaltending situation by either picking one of the back-ups or acquiring a starter goalie. Another phase of the rebuild is that veteran players like Toews, Brent Seabrook, and Duncan Keith might have fewer opportunities due to the fact that younger players will be stepping up in their place. Another very unlikely thing that might happen is that the players who were really unhappy with the rebuild might request a trade out of Chicago. The rebuild was much needed, but personally, I think it was the right thing at the wrong time.

For Blackhawks fans this year, it will definitely be a rough season to watch.