The Blackhawks were in a unique situation for the majority of the season after having both an interim general manager and head coach. It wasn't an ideal circumstance but the organization wanted to take its time by conducting an internal assessment before launching an official search.
The first search was for a GM, and the Blackhawks made their decision on Tuesday by removing the interim tag and giving Kyle Davidson the permanent title. The next will be for the head coach, but that isn't expected to come until the end of the season.
Now that he's firmly entrenched in his role as GM, Davidson was asked in a roundtable discussion with the Chicago beat writers on Wednesday about whether or not interim head coach Derek King has a shot at keeping the gig full-time, like Davidson did.
"He is definitely a viable candidate moving forward," Davidson confirmed. "Going back, he was someone that — I liked that he knew a lot of the younger players that were on the team and that could come into the team over the course of the year. He brought that familiarity to some extent.
"But he wasn’t already in the room. I think that was something key I wanted to bring in, someone to head that coaching staff that wasn’t in the room. It’s just kind of a new voice rather than someone who just kind of moves laterally and brings just a new perspective to a room that I think needed a new voice, needed a new motivator."
King said he hasn't spoken with Davidson yet about his future, and probably won't unless Davidson approaches him about it. His focus is on the here and now.
"This is just, let’s finish this season the right way and just keep these guys focused and playing hard and see what happens here," King said. "That’s all I can do. After that, if everything works out and I’m back, great. If not, I’ll respect the process, respect their decision. My wife won’t be happy because then I’ll be home all the time, but oh well."
King's personality and humor — as he proved in that last sentence — radiates throughout the locker room. It's hard not to like him and you have to imagine the players feel the same.
While the Blackhawks aren't where they want to be in the standings, King has done a solid job under the circumstances. Davidson believes so, too, and you have to think King is probably a great person to keep around during a rebuild, where you need to keep things light in and around the rink.
"In some respects, too, it’s very hard to change midstream," Davidson said. "You don’t want to change too much. And I think you’ve seen that, some new little flavors along the way just to keep guys engaged and motivated to try something new. So I think I have liked some of the tweaks that he’s made, with the understanding that you can’t come in and say, 'OK, we’re doing something completely different.' I think that’s fairly unrealistic.
"But we understand that, too. That’s all part of the evaluation process with Derek knowing that he can’t come in here — he didn’t have an offseason, he didn’t have a training camp to teach what maybe he would like to do. But I think he’s done a fantastic job with what he’s done so far."