(CBS) Two days after promising change was coming for the Blackhawks after an “unacceptable” first-round exit, general manager Stan Bowman has followed through with an initial step.
Assistant coach Mike Kitchen has been fired, the team announced Monday. Kitchen had been with the Blackhawks since July 2010 and was a part of championship staffs in 2013 and 2015.READ MORE: Chicago Sky Win First WNBA Championship As They Top Phoenix Mercury
“We believe this decision is best for our organization moving forward,” Bowman said in a statement. “Mike had an impact on two different Stanley Cup championship teams during his tenure in Chicago. We appreciate his many contributions and wish he and his family success in the future.”
Kitchen had most recently been in charge of the Blackhawks’ penalty kill, which ranked 24th in the league in the regular season. Kitchen was also considered a close friend of coach Joel Quenneville, whom Bowman backed with a vote of confidence Saturday while also admitting everyone in the organization needs to look in the mirror to see how they can improve.READ MORE: Jubilant And Inspired Fans, Booming Businesses Near Wintrust Arena As Chicago Sky Win WNBA Championship
After finishing with the best record in the Western Conference, the Blackhawks scored just three goals in a four-game sweep at the hands of the eighth-seeded Predators.
“We did not come even close to reaching the standard that we’e set over the years here, and that’s unacceptable,” Bowman said Saturday.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Slow Warm-Up Beginning
“Any successes that we did experience this year are complete overshadowed by the abrupt ending to our season. It’s not close to good enough for anybody, and I think it’s time like now to take a look in the mirror and face facts. When you do that, you look at accountability, and that starts with me. I need to be better, there’s no doubt about it. I’m going to take a look at all things, and I can promise you I will be better. Top to bottom, we need more.