A story from Colorado emerged today that shows what the Blackhawks are trying to build is starting to take hold. From Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun Times:
Last five guys on the ice at Blackhawks practice in Denver: Connor Bedard, Wyatt Kaiser, Cole Guttman, Lukas Reichel and Kevin Korchinski.
In fact, they’ve stayed out there so long that the team is yelling at them they need to get off in order to catch the bus 😂 pic.twitter.com/GCJeDxL1K1
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) October 18, 2023
The whole purpose for what general manager Kyle Davidson did–tearing it down and making the locker room centric around the new core–was to organically have moments like this.
It’s not staged. It’s organic. Just like the hopes that the young core will organically become the next best nucleus to bring a Stanley Cup back to Chicago.
Blackhawks Young Core Taking Hold
It’s Connor Bedard who gets the lionshare of attention. Why wouldn’t he? First overall pick, generational player, skills that prompt grown men (and women) to rise out of their seat in anticipation of something happening. But there’s the others: Kevin Korchinski who kicked off the Davidson era–which also saw the first of the previous guard shipped out (Alex DeBrincat) to start building anew.
There’s Lukas Reichel–the versatile forward who is one of the hopefuls to hit and bring the Blackhawks back. Cole Guttman and Wyatt Kaiser, who may very well be role players, are doing the little things to stick and impact. All five on the ice to end the practice, joking told to get off the ice because the bus was ready to leave.
There’s others, too.
Soon, they’ll all be driving that bus.
Culture Being Built as More Arrive
It’s a careful thing Chicago is doing–sending off stalwarts of a successful past who presided over one of the most successful stretches in franchise history. Other organizations keep them to the end–look no further than the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Boston Bruins. All Cup winners–all holding onto their leadership core until they walked away on their own.
Davidson chose a different path. He decided to slowly and deliberately change it–with the hopes that a new group of young players would set the tone and look around their room in hopes of building something together.
Instead of being a continuation.
If the conclusion of Wednesday’s practice showed anything, it’s that clearly they’re onto something.