The Chicago Blackhawks announced on Saturday afternoon that they have fired head coach Jeremy Colliton, one night after the team fell 5-1 to the Winnipeg Jets and mustered just 18 shots on goal. Derek King was named interim head coach.
The Blackhawks also relieved assistants Tomas Mitell and Sheldon Brookbank of their duties.
The loss at Canadian Life Centre on Friday dropped the Blackhawks to a 1-9-2 record, better than just the Arizona Coyotes (0-10-1).
The Blackhawks have averaged 2.17 goals-per-game (29th in the NHL), 3.92 goals-against per game (31st), 28.8 shots-per-game (28th), and 32.4 shots-against per game (21st). In addition, the team’s 22.2% power-play efficiency enters Saturday tied for 13th while their 87.5% penalty-killing rate is tied for fifth.
GM Stan Bowman stepped down from his position last week as a result of the findings from the team’s 2010 sexual assault scandal investigation.
The Blackhawks have missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in three of the past four seasons and the only reason why they made it in 2020 was because of the NHL’s return-to-play format (they qualified as the 12th seed in the West and defeated the Edmonton Oilers in four games out of a best-of-five qualifying-round series).
Under Colliton, the Blackhawks went 87-92-26 in the regular reason (.488 points percentage).
King has been the head coach of the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs, the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, since 2019. He has gone 72-81-12 in 165 games with the IceHogs (.431 points percentage) and has never led them to the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Over the offseason, the Blackhawks traded for reigning Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (who is 1-7-0 with an .881 save percentage, a 4.11 goals-against average in eight games this season) and defenseman Seth Jones (10 assists in 12 games but has a -10 rating (tied for fifth-worst in the NHL), a 45.98% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, a 38.59% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and a 42.08% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 12 games).
Colliton is the first NHL coach to be fired this season. The Florida Panthers are the only other team without a full-time NHL head coach after former Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville stepped down from the position last week.
The Blackhawks host the Nashville Predators on Sunday night.
By Harrison Brown