I think there are 6 aspects to the Negativist "camp" (I'll get to the Optimists later):
1. Negativists who see the structural holes the Hawks need to fill:
i) A big physical #3 minutes crunching ,crease clearing D-man
ii) A legit 2nd line big physical 2-way centre who can also wine gface-offs
iii) A top quality goalie capable of getting several shut-outs and at least a .915-.920save % RATHER THAN zero shut-outs and a save% hovering only at around .900..
2. Dysfunctional magnagement "politics" for control between front-office and coaching..
3. Coaching "systems" AND coaching accountability for not achieving TEAMNESS and CONSISTENCY of EFFORT often enough and long enough to "RELY" on...
You can't win every night but most nights you know what you will get with say Phoenix--you can rely that they as a team will play hard the same way in most games and in every period of games...With the Blackhawks you cannot rely on anything..You don't know who will "show up" that night or even if they play together as a team if that is going to last for just 1 period,2 periods ,or all 3 ...just way too much inconsistency of effort and focus ...THE Blackhawks talent can win games in just a few quick srtikes--but the majority of shifts even in such games can be all over the map on the laziness to hard work scales or on the disinterest to full focus
meters ..Surely coaching LETTING THIS INCONSISTENCY happen so often ,must take responsibility..It shows players have not bought in...
4. Less faith about the Blakhawks ''vaunted" prospects and the allegedly deep pipeline to fill missing holes....The negativists are skeptical in believing Stan when he lauds his prospects ...this leads to skepticism about inexperienced youth being able to solve the team's problems or make any "difference" except negative differences..
They point to Leddy'sstruggles defensively and getting over-powered down low..
They doubt SAAD can step right in and impact as a top six guy.
THey demand instead the Hawks go spend $$$ on proven vets who can fill the needed roles and to trade away prized prospects to get such immediate help.
5. They are very impatient after 2 years of bowing out in round one of the playoffs..
THey do not think STAN is the right GM to run the ship ..
OPTIMISTS: They too have several aspects to consider:
1. They are more patient..but they want to see yearly improvement,not regression...
2. They still have faith in STAN as GM but his leash is getting shorter...this willbe a crucial year for cementing the conviction Stan is the right guy for the job,or for
pink slipping him...they are patient,so he gets 1 more chance to make things right...
3. They believe in the vaunted "core" and that this was just an "off" year for Kane,
that he willrebound next year,that next year we will have less key injuries (TOEWS out so long) ,bettr puck-luck and that Crawford will also rebound from a bad year...
4. They believe the "yutes" willbe better nextyear --if Erik Karlsson in Ottawa can go from -30 to +16 why can't Leddy go from -15 to zero ? (Expecting +15 is too much even for optimists)...
5. They refuse to write-off rookies for making a positive impact just because they are kids --after all they point to Toews and Kane and what ipact they made as rookies when they first broke into the NHL --and they say imagibne if PHX wrote off Ekman-Larsson just because he was only 20 years old ---if you earn your spot age and experience matters nothing... So there is hope SAAD ca make an impact -if not this coming season ,not long after that..
6. They still believe that possession hockey can win--that attack hockey will prevail over rope-a-dope,that the Detroit model is better for long-term "contending" and that rope-a-ope teams can stay in fashion for awhile but willburn out sooner and fall
back after a short spurt of success---that prevent/grinder teams willburn out faster but possession teams will be there year after year ..
7. That considering all the flaws and bad things happening to the Blackhawks this past year ,101 pts was not shabby and in the playoffs if not for "WALL" SMITH the end story would have been vastly better for the Blackhawks...
I myself side more with the pessimist arguments --However there is such a thin line between sucess and failure in this parity league that you do not need to improve EVERY aspect listed to get a lot more success... improve just a few things and it can leverage to a lot more success...
You need to sart with THE GREAT EQUALIZER....Crawford's save% and no shutouts is just UNACCEPTABLE ..IT can't happen again next season .Either he improves or a better goalie goes in... We must get that EQUALIZER in net before anything else -it will make the biggest of differences...
That physical #3 D-man vet who can crunch minutes ,shot block and linchpin the PK
--that is the next priority.
Sometimes you can't fill all the holes in 1 year ..So the elusive #2 perfect centre may be put off again for another year...They do not grow on trees .I am skeptical any of our centre prospects is even ultimately the solution there-but if we can't sole it via trade or free agency then we need to add to the pipeline candidates to solve it down the line -so if we do not draft a goalie with our first rounder- we should then take either TOMAS HERTL or MARK JANKOWSKI and hope they pan out as te solution in a few years..
I do not believe we can fix all 3 big holes in one year but I hope we can fix 2 and get a start on fixing the third one at least down the line a few years...
I still am pessimistic on the office politics power struggles ,still skeptical on Q-fail and his systems,but despite this -if we just stay healthier, get that #3 physical RD,
and get better goaltending (CC has a better year OR is replaced by a better goalie) ---those alone should make a vast difference -and we could again go all the way to a Cup.
As for me, I look at one thing, the guy making hockey decisions for us is an accountant, not sure why I would be optimistic about that.
I'm leaning towards negativity more and more lately. Maybe I'm reading too much into it but...
Regardless of whether or not Haviland should have or should not have been fired, I really don't like the way Q came across in his presser after the firing. He stuck his neck wayyy out for Kitchen and kinda threw Haviland under the bus and tried to pass it off like, "I don't wanna say that Haviland was a problem... but... Haviland was a problem". Hell, at one point in the presser, Q stated that he should share the blame and that all coaches have a hand in special teams... but then proceeds to say that Kitchen was responsible for bringing the 30th place PP unit to 24th by the end of the year? Woo-hoo! Huge step forward there, Q!
Oh, and the word 'dysfunction' was used a little too much for my liking. Our organization, lately, doesn't really seem the type to call a spade a spade... so to me, coming out and openly admitting that there was a dysfunction seems like both Bowman and Q are trying to cover their *****.
Was Haviland the main cause of the dysfunction? WELL--JJ over at hockeybuzz.com
hints Havi may have been too chummy (and thus popular) with the players BUT
I would logically infer that Q would see,that the Havi love did not tranlate to the players rewarding that it in performance, perhaps Q-Kitchen WANTED to be more IRONWILLED and DEMANDING of their core fat cat players but a mixed message went out instead due to Havi's chuminess being interpreted by the fat cats that not playing hard for 60 minutes EVERY NIGHT,inattention to D-zone defensive detail was somehow acceptable as long as their talent could outscore opponents,and that fails on the PP and PK were systems failures and not on the fat cat core stars EXECUTING ...OR maybe Q himself was responsible for the country club atmosphere
(ie, not being hard enough on his players) and so he needed a scapegoat to blame this mistake on --thus Havi was sacrificed...
This means of course ha THIS SEASON--it is all on Q to DEMAND a lot better from his troops -there won't be any more scapegoats--so if he is too lenient from the getgo again and waits too long to try to get his squad interested in 2-wayplay --ALL THE TIME---the "fault" will drop directly on him..
So we shallbe fascinated to see if this season willbe more of the same too lenient
coaching oversight OR whether Q is Mr. IRONFIST ....I am skeptical he will do a Hitchcock impersonation and even more skeptical our highly paid core will OBEY IRON WILL DIRECTIVES --if not willhe bench those fatcats who refuse to comply?
IF he does not --he will lose the showdown with the players -they will rule the roost again ...a litmus test willbe if any caped crusaders decide it is ok to "take off" beteen mid-November and the start of March and just punch the clock withapparent disinterest KNOWING they will not be benched for it...This time-if that happens again --star or no star-- whoever does not earn his paycheck by NOT CARING ENOUGH--that player or players must be benched to make an example of to the rest of the TEAM ..."passengers" should not be tolerated... This time Q hasto be "TOUGH" and not let slackers get away with it with no consequences to that player ...Showboating at all-star games and having fun but going MIA in real games too often for too long a time --cannot be allowed to infect the "ONE GOAL" of the TEAM ...ALL must buy in and FOCUS every game .every period,every shift ...Q can no longer allow a cozy country club atmospher --has to INSIST they bring it every shift...one assist and out for the night can no longer be acceptable as as good nigh's "work" ..much more is expected-it had better meet the expecttion for $$$ paid.
Q wants it his way-now with full control we shall see if this is just bluster or if he means it and willnot tolerate slacking and check -cashing anymore ..
The other part of the blame appears to be reliance on inexperienced youth too much
and so Q is demanding Stan get him more vet solutions for certain team holes...
The problem I have with the inexperience argument is that it is a phoney excuse---CAPABILITY is not necessarily experience -related ..if a young guy with little NHL experience can play and shine --it is because he is simply capable of doing it..
IF the young guy makes mistakes or gets over-powered because he is not yet strong
enough to win puck battles,theguy is incapable NOW of playing without hurting the TEAM ...but the question is WHY is "our guy" not ready but some rookies on other teams are ready and shine significantly? THe failure of Q to determine -at the start of the year --not on reflection after the season is over---whether a kid is ready--OR NOT-- that SHOULD be an issue ...Q canot turn the blame on Stan if Stan fails to land a better solution once Q admits to himself that a certin young player really is not yet capable of holding down a lineup spot...Rather Q must admit the player fail to himself much earlier so Stan can fix the problem earlier..So Q must take blame for poor judgement on evaluating a player inncorrectly ...It is nobody's fault by his if he
misjudges "readiness"--that is what he is paid to do ..but to blame ALL ineperirnced players is a stretch...HENRIQUE on the Devils, OEL on the YOTES--I'm sure their coaches would never have ruld them off their team's roster jusyt be cause they had little experience--fact is: they were "ready" and have outplayed some of their vet teamates in the playoffs..
THUS IF STAN does what Q wants (gets more vets;less reliance on inexperienced youths) AND if those vets acquired produce disappointing results THEN Q will have run out of excuses.It will ALL fall on him and HIS systems...
Meanwhile we will continue seeing stories of impacts made by a new crop of inexperienced players making other teams look good...Thje question themwillbe why can those teams do it (rely on youth and inexperience which does come through for them) whereas our Blackhawks struggle to get postively impactful help from our youth guys? Overhyping their CAPABILITIES---or indeed FLAWS IN THE Q "system")?
So vet or youth--whoever is brought in --MUST help get results (wins) --not cause
more defensive problems..BRUNETTEwas a vaunted "vet" but that going for experience was a defensive FAIL ...so experience is not ALWAYS the correct
solution...neither is inexperience ALWAYS a bad option..
Rather only CAPABILITY can be the solution ...wherever that comes from Q must find it .If not he won't remain as coach very much longer...