There’s a feel-good aura surround the Chicago Blackhawks of late. They’re competitive, they’re progressing, and they’re finding ways to win. The crew that wasn’t supposed to be any good is currently 9-5-4, having won seven of their last-place nine plays. Turns out, success spawns confidence. It also leads to some “happy humans”, as the notorious Blackhawks’ broadcaster Pat Foley would say. The Blackhawks are finding success on the ice, and they likewise appear to be having fun in the process. Here are some recent items of note from the team to support this theory.
Colliton Getting Comfortable
Last Monday the Blackhawks oversaw a 3-2 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings despite not playing very well. After the game, chief coach Jeremy Colliton started out his post-game interview with this statement.
Jeremy Colliton on 3-2 overtime win over Red Wings: “Not one we’re going to frame, but we did get two points.” #Blackhawks
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@ CRoumeliotis) February 16, 2021
Colliton isn’t precisely known for his personality. In fact, many criticize him for not having enough feeling in his approach. He’s serious, studious, and let’s face it, rather enduring. A far cry from former Blackhawks’ head coach Joel Quenneville, who oozed severity each time he stood in front of the camera, tightly gripping both sides of the podium for good measure.
Jeremy Colliton had some big shoes to fill where reference is replaced Joel Quenneville as psyche tutor of the Chicago Blackhawks.( Photo by Gregg Forwerck/ NHLI via Getty Images)
So to see this kind of dry humor in Colliton is a breath of fresh air. He’s letting his protect down a little, and perhaps that comes from eventually being comfy in his role. He’s not “the guy who superseded Coach Q”. He’s Coach Colliton, who is currently influencing his squad in all the right ways. Perhaps he’s not so birthing after all. And maybe he is intense, only in a different way.
Speaking of severity, Colliton recently spoke about superstar Patrick Kane’s connection with the younger players.” He steals from everybody. He’s gonna take it, make it his own, and probably do it better .”
That’s an interesting rating. Most people would think of Kane as the one making out the gratuities and admonition , not taking them. But it just goes to show one can never stop learning, developing and becoming better.
Patrick Kane never stops trying to learn new things.( Amy Irvin/ The Hockey Writers)
Yeah, Blackhawks’ devotees are certainly lucky to have Kane. It’s hard to believe he’s 32 years old because he still acts like a kid, and hangs with them too. This person simply loves the game of hockey, and will do whatever it takes to prolong his success and his career.
A Dose of Duncan
Let’s move on to another veteran. Duncan Keith has been in the NHL for a very long time; 16 times to be precise. Three Stanley Cups, two Norris Trophies, the Conn Smythe in 2015. He’s been there, done that. Now, at 37 years of age, Keith finds himself tasked with mentoring young defensemen simply coming into the league. One can tell on the frost he’s embracing this persona wholeheartedly. But off the ice, he’s kinda sick of talking about it.
Duncan Keith getting tired of these endless questions about mentoring young defensemen:
“These young guys, they’re young, but it’s not like they’re kittens.”
— Ben Pope (@ BenPopeCST) February 16, 2021
Ok, so Keith is basically saying these people aren’t thriving merely because of him. Ian Mitchell, Nicolas Beaudin, Adam Boqvist and even Lucas Carlsson are certainly learning from what Keith has to say, and what he shows them. But they are also very talented young defensemen that would be doing well even without his advice. Keith’s input is just an added bonus.
To the kittens and their success!
We touched on Kane and his intensity earlier. But Kane had a few termsto say about his newest partner in crime on the ice, Alex DeBrincat.
You guys appreciate a nice kid who’s smiling all the time, but he’s really competitive. He’s competitive in the gym. Even when we’re playing golf, he’s always checking the scorecard.
It’s true-blue, DeBrincat does appear to be smiling all the time. It’s a good smile, and the organization does their best to showcase it. Good marketing, after all. So to hear this from Kane is certainly a sign that he knows what’s going on. Sell that smile!
Apparently there’s a lot more to Alex DeBrincat than just his pretty smile.( Amy Irvin/ The Hockey Novelist)
But behind the scenes, DeBrincat is a competitor that’s going to be an integral part in the Blackhawks taking things to the next level. Kane knows it, and now we know it too.
Finally, Kevin Lankinen has emerged as the Blackhawks’ No. 1 goaltender. He celebrated his first NHL career shutout this past week against the Red Wings. After the game he discussed his emotions.
Lankinen on his first shutout: “It feels awesome. It’s just great. It’s one of those darkness you always dream about growing up.”
— Ben Pope (@ BenPopeCST) February 18, 2021
Ok, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. That’s not exactly a noteworthy mention. In fact, it’s something I would expect Barbie Ken to say. Hey, Lankinen kind of looks like Barbie Ken with his blonde whisker and Finnish demeanor! Not that’s there’s anything wrong with that. You just preserve being you, Lankinen!
And here’s to the Blackhawks continuing their quest for success. And happiness.
Looking for more Blackhawks content? Tune in to The Hockey Writers YouTube Channel for Blackhawks Banter every Monday night at 7:00 p.m. CST ( 8: 00 p.m. EST ), or on our Facebook Page. Episode 15 is featured below.
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