Change has to come for struggling Blackhawks

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Change has to come for struggling Blackhawks

At 35,000 feet on the road back from Phoenix to Chicago, the Sam Cooke classic, A Change is Gonna Come was playing on the old iPod shuffle.

Its appropriate, really. Because as the Chicago Blackhawks muddle through their eight-game winless streak, a change has gotta come. And at this point, it may have to be a drastic change.

The Blackhawks are past the struggling point. This may be more of a reeling point. And when a team that many including its bosses pegged for a long playoff run is suddenly in danger of falling out of the top eight, somethings got to give.

So what will the Blackhawks do? Will there be a coaching change? Do they need a major acquisition? Do they make an eye-popping, multi-player deal?

Only time will tell, but you have to think something has to happen soon.

Firing a head coach during a big slump is nothing new. Its already been done, what, six times this season? Sometimes it works, as with St. Louis bringing in Ken Hitchcock. But it may not be the right move for the Blackhawks right now. Yes, coach Joel Quenneville changes lines at a furious rate, probably too often. But at this point his dismissal would be a temporary salve, a band aid on a gaping gash.

And if the Blackhawks make one big move before the trade deadline, would a top-four defenseman solve all the team-defense ills? Likely not. No, it may take making a big move, and it may have to be for a goaltender.

General manager Stan Bowman said he was confident in his goaltenders, but that was on Feb. 3, before the Blackhawks lost four more in a row. Between Corey Crawford and Ray Emery, neither of whom have proven to be a true No. 1 this season, they gave up 14 goals in those four games.

The trading markets probably going to be a tough one. Its going to take giving up something to get something. It may singe a little, but it cant hurt any more than an eight-game winless streak.

The Blackhawks didnt expect this kind of skid. Theyre doing everything they can to hold onto a playoff spot, but they need a jolt and they need it fast. This is going to be a true test for them, be it players, coaches or team brass.

A Change is Gonna Come. It has to.

Kevin Dineen to stay on Blackhawks' staff as Avalanche hire Jared Bednar

Kevin Dineen to stay on Blackhawks' staff as Avalanche hire Jared Bednar

The Blackhawks' coaching staff will be intact for the 2016-17 season.

Two weeks after Patrick Roy abruptly resigned as head coach, the Colorado Avalanche officially picked Jared Bednar to be his replacement over Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen, who was among the favorites for the coaching vacancy.

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Bednar has no National Hockey League coaching experience, but did guide the Columbus Blue Jackets' American Hockey League affiliate to a 15-2 postseason record last season en route to the franchise's first Calder Cup championship.

Retaining Dineen is good news for the Blackhawks, who start training camp next month, but it goes without saying that Dineen is certainly deserving of a second crack at a head coaching position in the near future.

Dineen, Mike Kitchen and head coach Joel Quenneville will enter their third season together after helping the Blackhawks capture a Stanley Cup in their first year as a group in 2015.

Jonathan Toews named Team Canada alternate captain for World Cup of Hockey

Jonathan Toews named Team Canada alternate captain for World Cup of Hockey

Jonathan Toews was named alternate captain of Team Canada on Thursday for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

Sidney Crosby was named Team Canada’s captain. Crosby, who claimed his second Stanley Cup in June, was also Team Canada’s captain en route to the gold medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

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Toews, who has been the Blackhawks’ captain since the 2008-09 season, was also alternate captain of Canada’s 2014 Olympic squad. Shea Weber of the Montreal Canadiens will serve as Team Canada’s other alternate captain.

Duncan Keith won't play for Team Canada in World Cup of Hockey

Duncan Keith won't play for Team Canada in World Cup of Hockey

Duncan Keith will not be part of the Blackhawks’ World Cup of Hockey contingent after all.

Keith will focus on improving his health rather than play for Team Canada in the tournament, which takes place next month in Toronto. The Blackhawks released a statement regarding Keith on Wednesday afternoon.

"As Duncan continues offseason rehabilitation on the right knee injury that he sustained last season, we understand his decision not to participate in next month’s World Cup of Hockey," team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in the statement. "We believe it is in his best interests to focus on getting stronger and not risk further injury."

Keith had surgery on that knee last October and was sidelined about one month.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester will take Keith’s place.