Chicago Blackhawks announced Monday relieved assistant coach Mike Kitchen of his duties after six seasons with the organization. He was named to the staff on July 12, 2010. Kitchen is good friend with Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was “upset and surprised by the move” to fire assistant coach Mike Kitchen, according to Chicago Tribune Christopher Hine. The firing on Mike Kitchen was apparently not originate with Joel Quennville. The firing of Kitchen was likely to re-ignite the conflict between Stan Bowman and Coach Q and the rest of the front office.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman likely fired Kitchen to re-assert authority over personnel in the Hawks organization and send everyone a message, including Quenneville, going into next season. The Tribune also noted that Bowman’s decision to fire Kitchen was also likely a move in self-preservation to demand for change coming from the upper reaches of the Hawks organization, such as President John McDonough.
Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman is trying to exert his power over hockey operations after making regular moves to appease Coach Quenneville and the coaching staff over the years. Blackhawks may have a power struggle brewing in their hockey operations after two straight first-round losses. This is a very interesting development to keep a close eye on.