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Blackhawks Notebook: Fresh Paint Before a Fresh Start



The Chicago Blackhawks put a coat of fresh paint on the ice Tuesday. Paint can be used to touch up faded images of the past, or potentially redefine something that once was.

It might be a little bit of both on the ice but symbolically, it could also represent the offseason the Blackhawks experienced.

From the exit of Jonathan Toews to the drafting of Connor Bedard, it sure feels like more than paint is being splashed around the United Center.

From Toews’ Goodbye to Rocky Wirtz’s Sudden Passing

A lot has happened since Toews took a final lap around the United Center. It was there that many fans felt like it was the end of an era.

But that down feeling made way for exultation when the Blackhawks won the Draft Lottery. Suddenly, it was a completely different emotion. The Blackhawks had the opportunity to take a generational player who could reshape and redefine the organization–much Toews and Patrick Kane did.

Bedard and Oliver Moore were selected, the excitement hit a fever pitch with what was a heck of a draft for Chicago. Development camp showcased another fresh coat of change, one that featured an off-ice focus on the mental side of the game–and an organizational shift on how they would approach things with Kyle Davidson at the helm.

July ended with mourning, though. Chairman Rocky Wirtz passed away, sending shockwaves through the organization. Following the public memorial, it was evident that in just a short span of just three months, so much had changed.

The Blackhawks Start Over

A new coat of paint might have just been on the ice, but it certainly felt like it went beyond. Bedard has yet to take the ice in a game and it’s a new direction that’s already felt.

Ticket sales exploded. So did expectations, though the astute fan both local and nationally realizes there’s still some time on the rebuild.

While change is expected from the end of one season to a new one, few see such differences that the Blackhawks and their fans did. So much shifted, from one legendary player skating away to the potential of a new one filling the void just four months later.

Between that was the death of a  giant, one who oversaw an unbelievable stretch in franchise history. But he was gone before a potentially new one could get underway.

Now, as Rocky once did following the passing of his father, Danny Wirtz will lead the Blackhawks into a new era under his leadership.

Yes, it was a fresh coat of paint on the ice. But it sure feels like it’s a broad stroke of change across the board for the Blackhawks.

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