As many are already suggesting and speculating, Eddie Olczyk is a strong candidate to become the new President of Hockey Operations for the scandal-plagued Chicago Blackhawks.
National Hockey Now has learned the former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach and longtime TV analyst has been aiming for a Blackhawks hockey ops job long before Tuesday’s bombshell news and Stan Bowman stepped down as general manager.
“Eddie has been gunning for Stan’s job or a higher position for a while now,” a well-placed NHL source told NHN. “He’s always been tight with the Wirtz’s and has their ear already. Don’t be surprised if he’s running the show really soon.”
In wake of the results of their internal investigation into sexual allegations made in 2010, against former Chicago Blackhawks video coach Bradley Aldrich, the Blackhawks announced Tuesday that general manager Stan Bowman stepped down and senior vice president Al MacIsaac was let go on Tuesday. Former President and CEO John McDonough was abruptly let go back on April 27, 2020 in a perceived power struggle with Bowman.
With their departures, all members of the 2010 senior management team have either been let go or left. In addition to Bowman, McDonough, and MacIssac, executive Jay Bunk, assistant GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, vice president of marketing Pete Hassen, mental skills coach James Gary, vice president of human relations Marie Sutera, and head coach Joel Quenneville had either been fired or moved on already.
Kyle Davidson will serve as interim GM of the Blackhawks and CEO Danny Wirtz said that a search to fill the vacant Hockey Ops positions will begin in earnest within the next week.
According to the source, Olczyk, who was recently hired to be an NHL analyst on TNT, after doing the same job for Versus and the NHL on NBC since 2006-07, has maintained a ‘tight relationship’ with the Wirtz’s and ‘has their ear’ when it comes to hockey. ‘Eddie O’ or ‘Edzo’ as he is affectionately known within not just the Blackhawks community, but the NHL, makes a ton of sense for a team trying to reconnect with and earn the trust back from their fans in the wake of the sex abuse scandal and missing the Stanley Cup playoffs in three of the last four seasons.
The Chicago Blackhawks have also failed to advance past the first round in three playoff appearances since winning the Stanley Cup in 2015.
As for the open Blackhawks GM slot, chatter around the NHL Wednesday had former New York Rangers GM and Boston Bruins interim GM Jeff Gorton likely emerging as a favorite to replace Bowman. Former Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, former Penguins, and New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero, and current ESPN NHL analyst Kevin Weekes will all likely get looks as well.