The Chicago Blackhawks took a page out of the New York Rangers’ playbook on Tuesday and announced a rebuild in a note posted to social media.
The Blackhawks have missed the playoffs in two of the last three seasons after winning three Stanley Cups in six years.
The note reads:
A message to Blackhawks fans
We recently said goodbye to a pair of popular, two-time champions and acquired some new players via trade and free agency. We understand it was tough to see those respected veterans go and realize you may have some questions about our direction. We’d like to address that direction and share why we’re hopeful for the future of Blackhawks hockey.
We’re committed to developing young players and rebuilding our roster. We want more than another window to win; we want to reach the summit again, and stay there — an effort that will require a stockpile of emerging talent to complement our top players. The influx of youth and their progression will provide roster flexibility and depth throughout our lineup.
We were already the youngest team in the 2020 playoffs and several Blackhawks experienced that intensity for the first time; this will help to further establish a culture that embraces the grind of improvement driven by competitors who are relentless, engaged, and motivated by a team-first mentality to win.
As our young players develop and learn how to win consistently, they’ll make some mistakes. Inevitably, we’ll miss the mark sometimes, too, but we’ll communicate openly with you on this journey together.
We know that what comes next must be more than just words, and that inspires us.
A message to Blackhawks fans. pic.twitter.com/7wBXrJPDQ1
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 20, 2020
Earlier in the day, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman spoke to ESPN and explained that the decision is more an extension of what the team has been doing the last two years. The team let longtime goaltender Corey Crawford walk during free agency and traded Brandon Saad to the Colorado Avalanche.
“[W]hat I don’t want it to mean is we’re trying to tear this team apart and trying to bring in a whole new group of players in the next year and a half,” Bowman told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. “But we do need to rebuild the depth of our team. We don’t have enough players, top to bottom, to compete with the top teams. We’ve got a lot of good players, we’ve got a pretty good start on the makings of a good team, but we still have a ways to go yet, and I accept that.”
The Blackhawks’ note about a rebuild comes a week after the team’s captain, Jonathan Toews, said he was shocked by the recent decision-making of the team.
“I’ve never been told that we were going through a rebuild,” the Chicago captain told The Athletic on Saturday. “That has never been communicated to me, for that matter. A lot of this comes as a shock because it’s a completely different direction than we expected.”
He added, “It’s sad. It’s really disappointing.[Crawford] has given so much to this team. I feel he was ready to bring more in the next few years and still be a big part of this group. He had that mindset that he could help this team go deep in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs again, and there’s no doubt that he could.”
Fans were mixed in their reaction. Former WWE champion and Chicago resident CM Punk was ready for what was next.
Okay! Ride or die. Three cups in a decade. Some of the fans are spoiled. Some of us get it. Let’s go!
— player/coach (@CMPunk) October 20, 2020
While others were less excited.
Pain Pain PAIN PAIN PAIN PAIN Pain Pain PAIN PAIN PAIN PAIN Pain Pain PAIN PAIN PAIN PAIN Pain Pain PAIN PAIN PAIN PAIN Pain Pain PAIN PAIN PAIN PAIN Pain Pain PAIN PAIN PAIN PAIN Pain Pain PAIN PAIN PAIN PAIN Pain Pain PAIN PAIN PAIN PAIN Pain Pain PAIN PAIN PAIN PAIN Pain Pain
— Ken🗣💯 (@Kenbuckets3) October 20, 2020
Headline photo: @NHLBlackhawks/Pixabay
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