Imrem: Wirtz, McDonough set standards high for Blackhawks

  • Blackhawks players celebrate Monday night after winning the team's third Stanley Cup in the last six years.

    Blackhawks players celebrate Monday night after winning the team's third Stanley Cup in the last six years. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Updated 6/16/2015 9:11 PM

Stan Bowman is doing what he was hired to do.

Win the Stanley Cup and then rebuild around core players quickly enough to win another sooner than later.


So far so good.

The Blackhawks won in 2010 and were remade to win again in 2013 and then remade again to win again in 2015.

Don't stop now, fellas. The oddsmaker Bovada already has the Hawks favored to repeat next season.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman proclaimed the Hawks a dynasty before handing the Stanley Cup to Jonathan Toews on Monday night.

Hawks chairman Rocky Wirtz and president John McDonough expected no less when they handed the job of general manager to Bowman in July 2009.

McWirtz decided that successful Hawks roster builder Dale Tallon wasn't the GM to successfully move the club forward.

If replacing Tallon with Bowman wasn't risky enough, how about nine months earlier replacing popular head coach Denis Savard with Joel Quenneville?

Not many executives would have the intestinal fortitude to dispatch a coach and general manager who had taken their team from Point A to Point B with Point C clearly in sight.

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McDonough and Wirtz apparently doubted that Tallon and Savard could deliver the team to Point C as in Championship.

Or maybe it was that they couldn't deliver the Hawks to Point D as in Dynasty.

Firing Savard was similar to the Cubs firing Ricky Renteria and replacing him with Joe Maddon: Someone better was available.

Except that Renteria was a disposable part as a member of the Cubs and the community for only a year.

Savard had become a franchise and community lifer, yet McWirtz boldly demoted him from coach to ambassador.

Tallon went from GM here to the same position with the Florida Panthers, also a demotion by the way.

Since Wirtz and McDonough installed Bowman and Quenneville, all the Hawks did was win those three Stanley Cups.

Hiring Quenneville made sense because he was a veteran NHL coach and already on the way to where he is today … the third-winningest head coach in league history.


Hiring Bowman, the son of NHL icon Scotty Bowman, was a bit more iffy because he hadn't been a general manager before.

Stan Bowman impressed his bosses during eight years in the Hawks' hockey-operations department. Most of all, Bowman had Notre Dame degrees in finance and computer applications, tools that would help manage the salary cap.

McWirtz recognized early on that if a franchise built a champion, the cap would require that the next rebuild would have to begin before the champagne was dry.

Economics had to merge with hockey. Contracts would have to be structured in a cap-friendly manner; player-personnel decisions would have to rely on analytics.

Bowman, with effective new-school academic intellect as opposed to Tallon's effective old-school hockey intellect, is proving to be a capmaster.

Three Cups in six years indicates that Bowman, at least generally, has let the right players go and brought in the right replacements.

Stan Bowman has kept the championship line moving and of course, now he'll have to prove himself all over again to be the guy capable of rebuilding around the Hawks' core all over again.

Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough expect nothing less.

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