The Chicago Blackhawks Have a Fanbase That Wants Answers

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 15: Duncan Keith #2 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal in the second period against Ben Bishop #30 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during Game Six of the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the United Center on June 15, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Blackhawks have made all of the moves that they needed to make the team competitive for next season.

The Defense was terrible, so they signed Seth Jones and JakeMcCabe. Seth Jones is a great defenseman with offensive upside. McCabe is a defensive defenseman who is physical and concentrates on the defensive aspect of the position. These two players can complement each other very well. The second pairing of Riley Stillman and Conor Murphy has a lot of positives. I think these two players can really come into their own next year, and make an impact. To round out the defense I think Calvin DeHaan and Caleb Jones will get a go. If Caleb Jones or DeHaan don’t play well look for them to get subbed out with Ian Mitchell or Nicolas Beaudin.

Next, we have the goalie position. Kevin Lankinen was a pleasant surprise last year. As the season went on he got worn down and needed some help. Unfortunately, he didn’t get that from Malcolm Subban. So the Blackhawks traded for Marc Andre Fleury, and what an upgrade that is. He just won the Vezina Trophy this past season and will be a great addition to the locker room.

Next, we got Tyler Johnson from Tampa Bay Lightning. A lot of people have mixed feelings about this but Matt and I wanted the Blackhawks to claim him off waivers earlier in the year, and they didn’t. Tyler Johnson has speed, is defensively responsible, can win faceoffs, and knows what it’s like to play with highly skilled players. I think he will be a great center on a line with Kane and The Cat. This will improve the possession game and getting Patrick Kane the puck is what we want.

These are the things we should be talking about, but it isn’t. The Blackhawks are embroiled with the investigation in their sexual harassment allegations. We all know the story by now, but if you don’t, I suggest reading this before you move on with the rest of this article.

As more information comes out, the worse the organization looks. Nick Boynton made a comment suggesting that other players from the team should speak up. He says all of the team knew about it but Jonathan Toews said he didn’t know about it until training camp the following season. This is the problem with making blanket statements. When saying everybody knew about it, you are assuming, and that might not be the case.

It has also been said that players from the team bullied the accusatory player about the incident. Now I have played sports growing up as a kid, as a teenager, and as an adult. As far back as I can remember kids have said things in practice and in games that I care not to repeat in this article. I’m not trying to excuse anybody, I just want to bring context to what kind of environment it is playing in sports and competing. I would assume at the professional level it’s the same behavior.

What was said, I don’t know. Who said it, I don’t know. What I do know is that I can’t virtue signal 10 years after the fact from the sidelines. What I think we should do as fans is ask for accountability.

The Blackhawks announced this past week that they were going to make the findings of their investigation public. It think this is the first step of making things right. Doing an investigation and keeping your fanbase in the dark isn’t the right way to go about things. In a way, the fans are the biggest stakeholders the team has.

The fact of the matter is this, John McDonough was the team president at the time. The buck stopped with him. Essentially he ran the whole team. Hockey side and the business side. After being fired last year. They split his job into practically 3 positions. Danny Wirtz is the CEO, Stan Bowman is the President of Hockey Operations and General Manager, he runs the hockey portion of the team. Jaime Faulkner is President of Business Operations, she runs the business side. It’s important to understand this because 10 years ago John McDonough ran everything.

He was the boss. I believe it was him who decided that the Blackhawks would not report the sexual harassment allegations to the Chicago Sex Crimes Division. So here is the conundrum. Are the Blackhawks legally bound to report these things or does that responsibility fall on the individual? Considering the Brad Aldrich was employed by The Blackhawks at the time there should have been some administrative action done against him. The Blackhawks should have launched an investigation then and supported the player and enabled him to feel comfortable coming forward.

Not taking action when Paul Vincent brought the information forward was the wrong call. Essentially they tried to sweep it under the rug. Brad Aldrich left before next season and it was “all over”, except that isn’t the case. These things always seem to come back and it’s worse now than what it would have been if they had just dealt with it back then.

I have a feeling this isn’t going to end the way everyone wants it to. Judging from Twitter, everyone wants the whole front office fired. I get it. The problem is the whole front office isn’t who is responsible. Like any organization there is a chain of command. The person at the top delegates down and so forth. You can institute decentralized command but when it comes to making big decisions it comes from the top. This falls into John McDonough’s lap. You can say “Stan should have said something” but it really was John McDonoughs responsibility not Stans. It was McDonaugh’s responsibility to do the right thing from the beginning.

Considering McDonough isn’t with the team anymore and was mysteriously fired last year, there is no one to fire. Brad Aldrich was convicted in 2013 of criminal sexual conduct involving a student, he has already been prosecuted.

The Blackhawks need to accept that by not dealing with this case when they needed to, they enabled Brad Aldrich to go on and continue his misconduct. This is a lose, lose situation for them. It may turn out that they have no legal responsibility but there is a moral responsibility, and they need to accept that.

-Mike Prieto

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