The Chicago Blackhawks made some changes to their coaching staff over the weekend by parting ways with associate coach Marc Crawford and assistant coach Rob Cookson, but they may take their time in determining their permanent head coach, GM Kyle Davidson said.
In his end-of-season press conference on Tuesday, Davidson said he wanted to start fresh going into the offseason and that this doesn't impact interim head coach Derek King's status when it comes to whether he'll have a shot at the permanent gig.
"He's going to be a candidate in the coaching search," Davidson said. "With respect to Marc and Rob, just we want to have a bit of a clean slate as we go into the next head-coaching and coaching regime. They did some really great work for us. It was a tough year. Rob came in in a pinch halfway through. It was really great to have them around but I just felt like new voices were needed. Not too much more than that."
Davidson and the executive group are currently building a profile for their next head coach, the characteristics of which will most notably include great communication skills and holding players accountable. They're also planning for the permanent head coach to be a long-term fit, not just a stopgap option during the rebuild.
Davidson said the Blackhawks are hoping to have a coach in place by mid-July at the latest, probably closer to the NHL Draft. Free agency opens on July 13, and you have to imagine they'll want to know who the bench boss will be before then.
"When we get there — or when we feel comfortable with using that list of criteria and that profile to create a candidate list, we'll do that, but we don't have a firm, firm timeline," Davidson said. "We want to be pretty nimble with it. There's just so much going on at the same time right now. We've got preparing for the draft, we've got the coaching search, we're building the front office — they're all kind of running in parallel.
"We've got ideas. I think early July is a loose target for having a good idea of where we want to go with selecting a candidate. I don't want to say we want to have someone in place by the draft, but shortly thereafter. I don't think you want to get too far into the offseason without knowing who your head coach is, so realistically I'd say that middle of July timeframe is when we'd like to end things."
Crawford had one more year left on his contract while Cookson was on an expiring deal and did not have his contract renewed.