John McDonough: Blackhawks have dealt with Patrick Kane
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org June 19, 2012 10:46PM
“Would I have liked to see him in the photos? Of course not,” Rocky Wirtz said of Patrick Kane.
Updated: July 21, 2012 6:33AM
LAS VEGAS — A fired assistant coach. Reports about a once-glowing franchise seemingly in disarray. A star player going viral on the Internet for partying again.
And it’s only June.
If there is one thing this offseason that truly has rankled the Hawks’ top decision-makers — owner Rocky Wirtz and president John McDonough — it was pictures of star forward Patrick Kane partying in Madison, Wis., in May.
It was another public blemish in Kane’s young, promising career and another black eye for an organization dedicated to being successful year after year.
“There were discussions with Patrick, and he knows our stance on it,” McDonough told the Sun-Times in his first public comments on the subject after the NHL board of governors meetings Tuesday in Las Vegas. “We’re hoping, as we go forward, there’s fewer and fewer of these. But we addressed it internally, and we’ll leave it at that.”
General manager Stan Bowman is on record saying the organization was “disappointed” with how things carried out for Kane in Madison. The Sun-Times also reported in May that some within the organization suggested Kane seek help.
“Stan spoke pretty well [about it],” Wirtz told the Sun-Times in his first remarks. “We’ve dealt with it. It’s past us. It’s an internal issue. It’s not like he was arrested or anything. Would I have liked to see him in the photos? Of course not. I think the hockey folks dealt with it accordingly.”
But there has been more than Kane.
There was speculation that coach Joel Quenneville might leave the Hawks for the Montreal Canadiens in the midst of internal squabbles, which reached a tipping point after the organization sent in director of player development Barry Smith (a longtime assistant of senior adviser Scotty Bowman when he coached) to assist on-ice with the power play. Sources said Smith’s participation ended after a heated exchange with Quenneville late in the regular season.
In the end, Quenneville publicly maintained his desire to stay with the Hawks, and he fired assistant coach Mike Haviland, a favorite of the players.
Wirtz and McDonough said reports of dysfunction in the organization were overblown.
“I don’t think there is any dysfunction,” Wirtz said. “I don’t see any. I just don’t. People can say what they want. But I think people communicate well. Our record is not that bad. Obviously, we want to go farther in the playoffs, but to have 100-and-some points with a nine-game losing streak, I think is pretty good.”
McDonough said that he has gotten involved “when necessary” and that he “absolutely” holds those he empowers to make decisions accountable, whether it’s in hockey or business operations.
“They certainly understand what my expectations are of the organization,” McDonough said. “There is never a complacent, easy day at the United Center for us. There is a lot at stake here. I impart that on Stan on a regular basis, and he understands that. But I like the way we go about making our decisions.”
That would include the decision to send in Smith. Did McDonough help smooth things over between Quenneville and the Bowmans?
“We’ve discussed every situation during the season, not just that one,” he said.