The Chicago Blackhawks finally have a win under new head coach Jeremy Colliton.
The club lost the 33-year-old’s first three games behind the bench before finally rallying and shutting out the St. Louis Blues Wednesday. The 1-0 victory put a stop to an eight-game losing streak that cost Joel Quenneville his job and made for one gigantic sea change in hockey for the Windy City.
And while the change from veteran winner to unproven youngster was supposed to kick the Blackhawks in the pants, it did anything but and the team seemed unprepared to take to the ice.
“This group needed some good things to happen,” Colliton said Wednesday after the big win. “They needed it. They need some reinforcement that the sun’s coming up on this.”
Granted, a 1-0 win isn’t exactly a thrashing. But a win is a win is a win, as they say, and the Blackhawks will take it. Corey Crawford made 28 saves for the shutout and the puck went off Blues defenceman Jay Bouwmeester for the Chicago goal.
A goal is a goal is a goal, as they say.
And that goal came on the power play, which is exactly what the Blackhawks needed. Prior to the game, they were zero for their last 10 chances with the extra skater.
The Blackhawks gave Colliton the game puck after the win and hoped to put talk of annihilation to rest, at least for a while. The three-game homestand may be precisely what the team needs to get into gear under the new guy.
“It’s been fun to play for him so far and we know he’s going to have a lot more coming,” captain Jonathan Toews said.
One win is sometimes all it takes to get a “winning feeling” back in a locker room, but the Blackhawks are up against it. Changing coaches on the fly, especially when the old boss was a multi-champion, is never easy. There are new systems to learn, new expectations to meet, new things to figure out. For Colliton, getting his Blackhawks to play his way requires a change in culture.
The good news is that the season is still young, relatively speaking. Stan Bowman’s timing wasn’t all bad. But the task is another thing altogether and nobody’s been exactly glowing over the decision to drop Quenneville.
But it’s a new day. A win is a win is a…you know. Now it’s up to Colliton and Co. to keep it up.