Dietz: Hawks making wrong call with Wiedeman
Well, it's official: John Wiedeman will not succeed Pat Foley in the Blackhawks TV booth next season.
President of business operations Jamie Faulkner said as much to the Athletic's Scott Powers in a story that ran last week.
This is a mistake, yet not particularly surprising.
As poor of a decision as it is, the Hawks are doubling down with plans to change Wiedeman's role. The veteran announcer, who has been with the team for 16 years, was not on WGN radio's play-by-play during the Hawks' 8-5 victory over New Jersey on Friday and he is expected to be replaced in five more games.
Next season -- assuming he returns -- you won't hear Wiedeman for all 82 games.
"We want to use John Wiedeman across content, too," Faulkner told Powers. "I don't just want him to be calling radio games. That gives us the opportunity to bring other people in to call radio, and then we can use him during games to do other things.
"So we've talked a lot about how whoever sits in the booth -- whether it's the radio booth, the TV booth, the podcast booth, the studio -- I said that we're gonna use across all of our content channels and interacting with fans."
Faulkner also said the Hawks thought about using multiple TV broadcast teams next season, but scrapped that idea after hearing feedback from Foley, Eddie Olczyk and the fan base.
It will be interesting to see whom the Hawks choose because whomever it is has some awfully big shoes to fill.
What's the rush?
The search for the new Blackhawks GM could be over as early as this week. The three finalists, according to SportsNet's Elliotte Friedman, are current interim GM Kyle Davidson, Tampa Bay president of hockey operations Mathieu Darche and Cubs assistant GM Jeff Greenberg.
Although the Hawks have said they want someone in place by the March 21 trade deadline, it's still worth wondering why they're in a rush. Why not allow Davidson to continue in his interim role and cast a wider net after the season?
A larger pool of candidates means a better chance for success.
But I digress -- that likely won't happen.
I see the Hawks going one of two ways:
• Giving the job to Davidson and using Eddie Olczyk in an advisory/talent evaluation role.
• Giving the job to Greenberg, naming Davidson assistant GM and using Olczyk in the aforementioned role.
No matter what level of sports you play, sometimes the coach's voice becomes white noise. That's why it's so important for veterans to offer advice to up-and-coming teammates.
The Hawks are fortunate to have Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Ryan Carpenter, Connor Murphy, Seth Jones, Marc-Andre Fleury and others who can fill this role. But interim coach Derek King would love to see Alex DeBrincat and Brandon Hagel, who are just 24 and 23 years old, also voice their opinions more often.
"It's tough to get out of their little comfort zone, right?" King said. "But this is the team we have and what we need from guys (is) to step up like that and help each other out."
The Hawks held a short practice at Fifth Third Arena on Saturday ahead of their 2 p.m. tilt against St. Louis (31-14-6) Sunday. Jonathan Toews participated for the first time since going into concussion protocol January 28, but he will not face the Blues.
After practice -- as players were working on individual drills -- the 5-foot-7 Alex DeBrincat pinned the 6-foot-3 MacKenzie Entwistle against the boards and began shoving him. Afterward, Entwistle said it was all just in good fun and then cracked up the assembled media when he said: "I always tell him, 'I can't hurt you -- or else I'm gone.'"
So what happened?
"Oh, he just chirps," Entwistle said. "He's always chirping me, shooting pucks at me. I let him do his thing and then eventually he starts grabbing me."
Here are the eight double hat tricks in Blackhawks history:
• February 7, 1943 by Doug Bentley and Bill Thoms in an 8-4 win over the Rangers
• February 26, 1947 by Doug Bentley and Max Bentley in a 9-7 win over the Rangers (Max had 4 goals)
• January 31, 1963 by Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull in a 9-2 victory over Boston
• February 18, 1968 by Stan Mikita and Kenny Wharram in a 7-1 victory over Detroit
• April 4, 1973 by Pit Martin and Dick Redmond in a 7-1 victory over St. Louis
• January 1, 1986 by Troy Murray and Al Secord in a 7-4 victory over Pittsburgh
• March 9, 2003 by Eric Daze and Steve Sullivan in an 8-5 victory over Boston
• February 25, 2022 by Patrick Kane and Brandon Hagel in an 8-5 victory over New Jersey
Note: The Hawks assigned forward Lukas Reichel to Rockford after practice Saturday.