Jim O'Donnell: Olczyk sends unmistakable message to the Blackhawks with his departure
EDDIE OLCZYK IS FAR TOO gracious a man to taunt beleaguered Blackhawks executive poseurs.
But if he's been humming Johnny Paycheck's old country classic "Take This Job and Shove it" in recent days, what are they going to do?
Olczyk's stunning decision to bolt the Hawks for the Seattle Kraken rocked West Madison Street like nothing since the walls of Chicago Stadium came tumblin' down.
In Seattle, Olczyk will be reunited with occasional TNT platform mate John Forslund on ROOT Sports Northwest and younger brother Rick Olczyk, an assistant GM of the Kraken.
The root cause of Olczyk's departure is said to be a stalemate in negotiations over a new deal.
Blackhawks chess munchkins reportedly wanted Olczyk to sign for a higher per-game rate but not be paid for the full 82-game schedule.
BECAUSE OF HIS EXTRAORDINARY broadcast talent, Olczyk has had to periodically cut out for both TNT assignments and even thoroughbred racing appearances on NBC.
Hawks bosses apparently thought it was time to get clever.
For chairman Rocky Wirtz, rocked gosling Danny Wirtz and careening president of business ops Jaime Faulkner, it was very bad timing and even worse management thinking.
They failed to factor in how much Olczyk has seen and processed regarding the franchise in the last seven years (2015-22).
In that span, the Chicago-area native has watched the Blackhawks go from a three-time Stanley Cup champion to one of the most embarrassing and implosive franchises in the NHL.
He's also silently witnessed some very respected colleagues -- from Joel Quenneville on up and down -- get thrown under grossly career-altering skates as the team's bizarre sex scandal played out.
HIS DEPARTURE SIGNALS an unmistakable message from one of the organization's greatest contemporary icons to its entitled slash crew in the front office:
"You took a very good thing and turned it into swill. Your methods are also incredibly mean-spirited. Go sail your yacht and count your family's money. Find your 'hipper, younger' audience.
"I have options and will no longer toady to your debasing culture.
"I'm going to Seattle."
AS A BOMBARDIER, Olczyk scored a devastating hit.
As the ultimate faithful, noble warrior, he and his spirit have left the building.
Somewhere, old Arthur Wirtz -- beyond The Final Horn since 1983 -- has to be looking on and wondering:
Can't I have one generation that gets this hockey thing right?
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• Jim O'Donnell's Sports and Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at email@example.com.