While Derek King didn’t succeed in his bid to become the Chicago Blackhawks’ full-time head coach, he still succeeded in playing a part as the team embarks on a full-on rebuilding process.
King, who was hired to join head coach Luke Richardson’s staff this summer, discussed his offseason with NBC Sports Chicago’s “Blackhawks Talk” podcast on Tuesday, saying that he was solely focused on landing a job with the team.
“To be honest with you, I didn’t even look. I had an agent that was ready to put out some feelers if I needed him to, but after talking to Luke, I was just like ‘hopefully this will work out,’ and it did,” he said. “This was a perfect situation. A lot of guys are out there looking for jobs, and there are a lot of jobs available, and you have to get your feet moving and the work in, get your nose dirty and schmooze a little bit. This was a lay-up. Luke came to me and I felt real comfortable with it, so I said ‘yeah, I’m in.’”
King took over 12 games into the regular season after the Blackhawks fired Jeremy Colliton. King put up a record of 27-33-10 in those games, and while he interviewed for the full-time head coaching position, it instead went to Richardson, a former assistant with the Montreal Canadiens.
Even still, King said that he enjoyed the process of interviewing for the job, saying that G.M. Kyle Richardson, along with assistant G.M.’s Norm McIver and Jeff Greenberg, put him at ease during the process.
“It was very relaxing with all three of them, with Kyle, Jeff and Norm,” he said. “It was a real Q & A and chatting about hockey. Different situations and how I would handle them. I felt it went well, there was no tension, and it was great.”
King says that he is familiar with Richardson from the duo’s days in Canadian junior hockey, with King playing for the Soo Greyhounds and Richardson suiting up for the Peterborough Petes.
“I’ve had great talks with Luke. A great pro and a good person. I enjoyed having our conversations. The fact they thought of bringing me back as an assistant, I thought that was really nice of them,” he said. “When he did talk to me, I jumped all over it.”
The coach says that he has not yet ironed out his official role on the coaching staff, saying that he’ll talk with Richardson and fellow assistants Derek Plante and Kevin Dean later this month.
He also says that he is excited to be part of what will likely be a lengthy rebuilding process, and says that he is looking forward to the challenge of bringing the Blackhawks back into contention for a Stanley Cup championship.
“This is a great fit,” he said. “I want to be part of this rebuild, and I want to work with these kids, and I know a lot of them, so I can help.”