It’s unfair, and nearly impossible, to get a handle on what kind of job Jeremy Colliton is doing after 17 games. I could sit here and say that the Hawks don’t quit even when they’ve been down for what is it, 13 straight games? And I could say that he doesn’t have anything to work with, especially on the blue line. I could say that they’re not getting saves (though they did tonight to a point). I could say a lot of things.
But then there’s the starts. And whatever the problems are on the roster, and they are numerous, there’s no way we can sit here and say that the Hawks haven’t consistently come out unready to play. You can’t fall behind for as many games in a row as it is now, and usually my multiple goals, and claim otherwise. And that has to be coaching. Or preparation. Whatever you want to call it.
Now maybe it’s on the players, who got one coach fired and don’t seem to be responding to the next one until there’s a certain level of embarrassment/professionalism/both. But you’d think you’d find a way to get through to everyone, veterans and neophytes alike, to get that to kick in when the first puck drops. It’s been a month since they have. That’s on someone.
Sure, lack of talent is the biggest culprit. But then explain an effort like this from one of your alternate captains:
Maybe Seabrook is so used to getting beat to the outside that he was just turning and getting ready for it. But facing the wrong way and just leaving your stick out there in the hopes that Kyle Connor would somehow trip himself or something, that’s a shit-assed effort. That’s I-couldn’t-give-a-fuck effort. And that’s from a player playing catch-up most nights when he does care.
And he still gets 22 minutes of time. Now, perhaps Colliton fears he simply can’t go to the mat with any of his veterans, but at some point that bleeds from reverence to no one’s accountable. And that’s only going to get worse if it goes unchecked. Maybe the perception would be Seabrook is the easy target, because Quenneville scratched him once last year. But it also wouldn’t make it much of a shock for the rest of the team. Colliton has played tough guy/bad cop the last time the Hawks were outclassed in Winnipeg in the press. At some point that has to happen with the team.
That doesn’t mean going Jim Fucking Boylen on the Hawks, I don’t care about bag skates. I don’t care about turning over postgame spreads or anything like that. But someone is going to have to pay for any part of this with ice time, and stripping it from a young player isn’t the answer.
The Two Obs
-The other mark against Colliton is that the Hawks continue to not have any communication in the defensive zone. Don’t fool yourself, switching from the zone system the Hawks used to play to the man system they want now isn’t like going from a 4-3 to a 3-4. The principles are at least based on the same thing. It’s amazing how many times you look and you’ll see the Hawks have everyone covered, and then simple movement from an attacker and a lack of talking either causes the Hawks to not switch guys or completely ignore someone on the other side of the ice. That isn’t about talent. That isn’t anyone getting beat. That’s just a lack of attention to detail.
-There isn’t much else to point out, because you don’t learn anything when the game is over after 15 minutes and the only reason it becomes anything of a contest is because the team leading is already making plans for the night after the showers. so let’s talk about Eddie Olczyk’s and Pat Foley’s race to be the next Hawk Harrelson.
It’s clear Eddie’s war on analytics is directed at Stan Bowman, and perhaps at whoever else told Eddie he couldn’t be a coach or GM because of his dismissal of them. We’ve spilled countless words on the idiocy of this “fight.” Mostly because every other sport, including soccer by the way, has long ago accepted that there is useful information to be found within them and it helps build a team to win.
And Pat and Eddie’s contention that they don’t tell you who wins battles, as close as it is to Hawk’s TWTW mantra, is quite simply wrong. Because it tells you who gets the puck. Which is generally a good idea, or so I thought.
I’m resigned to the rest of the season being Eddie essentially reading his resume on air a la Mark Jackson a few years ago on NBA broadcasts, and Foley being his hype-man. I can only hope Eddie keeps displaying the reasons why no one should ever hire him.
-Also their 10 minute discussion of the 80s Oilers and 90s Penguins wasn’t all that far off from Hawk’s love letters to Yaz.
-Last point, Olczyk did claim that they both think the goaltending has been good. Crawford is at .901. Ward is at .888. They have the ninth-worst SV% at evens and the 4th worst overall. So yeah, it’s been great.
-As for the on the ice. it’s clear that Dylan Strome has use. How much, don’t know yet, and his learning curve is going to be longer. He’s got the hands and vision but he’s going to have to wait until his anticipation and instincts get him to the spots he needs faster than his feet get him there now. That can happen. It may only lead him to being a poor man’s Brad Richards, but that’ll play. It certainly is going to take more than the 50 games the Coyotes gave him.
–Connor Murphy is a clearly more confident player when he’s not worried about his coach painting a big, red #4 on his face and then beating Murphy over the head with a shovel every time he makes the tiniest mistake. I look forward to what it looks like when he’s up to game-speed.