Blackhawks take different approaches to Twitter

605466.png

Blackhawks take different approaches to Twitter

Sami Lepisto was just trying to help Viktor Stalberg out a little bit.

The Blackhawks defenseman had dinner at Stalbergs home one night this fall and let Twitter followers know about Stalbergs stellar domestic abilities. And, Lepisto added in his tweet, Ladies he is single!!

From time to time you have to do something like that, Lepisto said with a smile.

Stalberg did get a laugh and an immediate spike in his followers.

I dont think it boosted (my personal life) but I did get a lot of hits that day, thats for sure, he said. A lot of guys are against (Twitter) but its a fun way to keep in touch with fans; especially for guy like me whos not in the center of the media stitch every day like (Jonathan) Toews and others. Obviously we cant say everything on there, but its a fun way to keep in touch.

Welcome to the world of Twitter, which up until this season featured very few Blackhawks. But between veterans and newly acquired players, more Chicago players have entered the social-media world. Their reasons for joining or quitting are as different as their individual personalities:

timingiseverything

Patrick Sharp joined Twitter in March, just as the Blackhawks got to Washington D.C. to play the Capitals and visit the White House. As expected, the right wing got a lot of followers in no time.

Sharps first tweet came when the Blackhawks visited the Walter Reed Army Medical Center on that D.C. visit. It would be his only tweet. In hindsight, Sharp said his timing may not have been the best.

I didnt think in March, near the playoffs, was a good time to do that, Sharp said. It exploded there one night in Washington. I was getting a lot of messages and felt I had a lot of responsibility and I wasnt ready for that.

Sharp said there is an invasive side to it, too.

Probably the issue I had is Im all for fan interaction and I love talking to and meeting different fans. But I dont like the idea of having a bad game and hearing about it from 15,000 different people, said Sharp, who added that he may try Twitter again in the future. But there are two sides to every coin. Those negatives are outweighed by maybe having some fun with it.

feelingthelove

Patrick Kane is the latest of the Blackhawks to join. His account was confirmed after the Blackhawks final preseason home game on Sept. 29. When Kane went to sleep that night, he said he had about 4,000 followers. By the next morning, he had nearly 20,000.

Pretty crazy, Kane said. The numbers are almost kind of scary and make you cringe a little bit.

Kane, who now has more than 60,000 followers, doesnt tweet often; the last entry on his account was Nov. 19, his birthday. But he nevertheless appreciates the fan response.

Its pretty cool way to interact with the fans, he said. I could probably get better at it. Sometimes Im thinking about so many other things I dont pay attention to it. But it can be used for pretty good reasons.

wannabet?

When defenseman Steve Montador joined Twitter a few months ago he wasnt keeping close check on how many folks started to follow him. But his sister did. So she bet him he couldnt get so many followers in a set amount of time. When Montador reached the first number she bet, she upped the numbers.

She said, Well, get 10,000 by the end of the week. I actually got there now so I should chirp her, Montador said. I didnt impress her enough in the week.

For Montador, Twitter is more of a promotional tool for team or personal causes. He wont get too personal.

Im a little more private than Twitter typically allows for, so for the most part its something Ill keep on the professional side, he said. But I do appreciate the following and the people who respond. Its fun to follow friends and people in the business and what not. Its unique that you can connect that way.
friendsinhighplaces

Its always easier to join a group when you know one of the top guys in it. Thats how it was for Jamal Mayers, who has a friend in the executive ranks of Twitter. He told Mayers how it all worked, got the Blackhawks forward verified in a matter of days and explained how Twitter was a safe social-media option.

Its not like any of those other things where people can directly contact you necessarily. That safety helps, said Mayers. Obviously you have to be aware of what youre writing. Its definitely far-reaching; it has an effect on you, the organization and your family. So you have to be aware of what youre writing.

proceedwithcaution

When youre an outspoken individual, Twitter can be dangerous territory. Daniel Carcillo is certainly one of those guys, and hes very careful to walk that line between having fun and tweeting TMI.

When I first got it, it was a little overwhelming. Im pretty outspoken, and on that you have to think three or four times before you write it, Carcillo said. So it wasnt a good fit in the beginning and so you live and learn.

Carcillos done that. Hes used Twitter for fun making fun of Kanes mustache, or lack thereof, during Movember and for his interests such as his friends T-shirt company, jaktapparel.com, and his new radio show on WGN.

Its kind of just building your own name and getting it out there, outside of hockey if you have other interests, he said. You can see the advantages to it.

In wake of first-round playoff sweep, Patrick Kane talks about the Blackhawks' 'reality check'

In wake of first-round playoff sweep, Patrick Kane talks about the Blackhawks' 'reality check'

It’s been just over a month since the Blackhawks were eliminated from the playoffs in swift fashion. And as Patrick Kane told WGN Radio on Tuesday morning, the bitter taste hasn’t gone away.

“I think a lot of us didn’t figure we’d be in the situation we’re in right now,” Kane told Steve Cochran and Dave Eanet on Tuesday. “All of us can work this offseason to get better. It’s a long time to wait to get back to that opportunity to play in the playoffs again, so we’ll have a sour taste in our mouth for a while.”

The Nashville Predators, who made quick work of the Blackhawks in the first round, eliminated the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night to earn the first Stanley Cup Final appearance in franchise history. Kane told WGN he’s been watching the playoffs and said Nashville “has a pretty good system going.”

“They come at you, they play aggressive. I don’t think any of us would be a big fan of the way they defend in the neutral zone, just sitting back and playing that 1-3-1. But at the same time they come at you,” said Kane, who added that the Blackhawks “weren’t even close in that (first-round) series.”

“Maybe we had a chance in Game 3 when we were up 2-0, but it was a clean sweep and that’s probably how it should’ve been,” he said. “So now it’s time to regroup.”

When the Blackhawks had their wrap-up media session on April 22, general manager Stan Bowman was asked if some players, having won three Stanley Cups since 2010, had lost some of the hunger. Bowman didn’t buy that and neither did Kane.

“Four sounds a lot better than three, right?” he said. “It’s a long time away and a lot of work, but sometimes you go through those situations and you realize you won three Cups and it’s almost like you’re going to be there again. That’s where the reality check is for us now, realizing how hard it is to get back in that situation, how hard it is to win a Cup or go deep in this league. There’s a lot of work to be done.”

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

On April 22, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman vented his frustrations on the team’s all-too-abrupt exit from the postseason, adding that he and coach Joel Quenneville, “are going to work together to make sure that this never happens again.”

There will be plenty of decisions for the two to mull between now and September, when the Blackhawks convene for training camp. When it comes to the assistant head coach vacancy, however, that might need to be decided with a more one-sided approach. That choice ultimately should be made by Quenneville.

In a recent podcast, Pat Boyle and I discussed the Blackhawks’ need to work together on some upcoming decisions. But with the assistant coach, the head coach has to have the loudest voice. The head coach probably should even have the final vote. The relationship between coaches has to be there because they’re around each other constantly. They’ve got to be on the same page. There has to be trust from Day 1.

As for when the Blackhawks name that assistant, there appears to be nothing imminent. A source said Monday that the Blackhawks and Ulf Samuelsson have been in communication about the job — Chris Kuc of the Tribune first reported on Samuelsson on Sunday. On paper it looks like it would be a great fit. Samuelsson and Quenneville played several seasons together with the Hartford Whalers, along with current Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen. The relationship with Samuelsson has been there for a long time and it would make for a smoother transition. It might also provide somewhat of a panacea for Quenneville after former assistant Mike Kitchen, whose friendship with Quenneville also went back to their playing days, was fired last month.

Earlier this month Bowman told the Sun-Times that Quenneville will have a big role in the Blackhawks’ finding their next assistant coach, with the final choice being a “joint collaboration.” We get that there’s an order to these things and everyone has to be in agreement with the final decision. But in the end the head coach has to be 100-percent happy with his immediate staff. So whoever the next assistant coach is, the decision has to be 100 percent Quenneville’s.