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Lightning Round: Chicago owner Rocky Wirtz loses it in town hall over culture questions

The solution to the new culture problem is bring in the old culture problem

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Chicago Blackhawks Announce Coaching Change
CHICAGO - OCTOBER 16: Chicago Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz attends a press conference as Joel Quenneville is introduced as the new head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks on October 16, 2008 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Chicago hockey team owner and chairman Rocky Wirtz threw a fit on Wednesday after questions from multiple reporters on the present and future culture of the team at a town hall. Despite statements by the team about learning from the 2010 sexual assault scandal of Kyle Beach and the power imbalance between coaches and players that caused it, Wirtz angrily stated, “We’re not going to talk about Kyle Beach. We’re not going to talk about 2010. We’re moving on.”

Wirtz also claimed that despite the team losing, morale at yet another low, and attendance crumbling, that reporters Mark Lazerus and Phil Thompson weren’t allowed to ask any questions about the culture because, “What we’re going to do today is our business. I don’t think it’s any of your business. Because I don’t think it’s your business. You don’t work for the company. If someone in the company asked that question, we’ll answer it, and I think you should get on to the next subject.”

Quotes from ESPN.

The quotes aren’t great, but they don’t feel that explosive until you watch the video, and notice the tone and how much he interrupted the questions. It’s clear the team, from ownership down, doesn’t want anything to do with their very well-documented failures. They don’t want to talk about them, they don’t want to learn from them. And those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

The full quote, for you to review, Rocky.

Lazerus then wrote an article with this incredible headline at The Athletic: Lazerus: Rocky Wirtz’s childish, unprofessional outburst calls into question his fitness to lead the Blackhawks

In the town hall, Wirtz asked the media to ask about the GM search and what the team is doing now. Well, it turns out what they’re doing now is bringing back that 2010 leadership group that kept the sexual assault secret for the good of the company.

Wirtz’s PR team then sent out this milquetoast statement, once again failing to address any of the concerns over how they plan to make the work environment safe. Saying the team has the right leaders in place after watching this season’s version of the team still doesn’t answer the questions from Mark Lazerus and Phil Thompson, and bringing back the old leaders from 2010 does the opposite of bringing in the right people.

A childish tantrum from start to finish from a son of a rich guy who doesn’t want to hear he’s not perfect.

Alex Ovechkin will miss the ASG while in COVID protocols. Tom Wilson will take his place. I petition Stamkos should get to skip it too. Take the one game suspension, Stammer!

Lightning re-assign three players to Syracuse [Crunch Twitter]

Fredrik Claesson, Darren Raddysh, and Cole Koepke were re-assigned to the Syracuse Crunch in time for the game against Belleville [a 4-3 loss for the Crunch]. These moves weren’t very surprising as Raddysh and Koepke had been called up as insurance in case any Lightning players were injured over the weekend. With the Lightning off the ice it makes sense that these players were sent back to Syracuse for ice time.

Lightning have a knack for overtime success [Tampa Bay Times]

The Bolts are 7-2 in overtime (and 2-4 in shootouts) this season which ties them with the Detroit Red Wings for the most bonus session wins in the league. “I think a huge part is having Vasy back there. I mean, he’s making unbelievable saves for us.” Preach on, Anthony Cirelli.

Jack Campbell excited to meet/learn from Andrei Vasilevskiy [Video - TSN]

The two netminders will be sharing a locker room in Vegas for the All-Star game and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ player is looking forward to spending time with Vasy.

Pat Verbeek expected to become the next Anaheim Ducks GM [Pierre LeBrun Twitter]

It appears the Little Ball of Hate is going to be calling the shots in Anaheim pretty soon. He was part of the executive team here in Tampa, serving as Assistant GM to Steve Yzerman.

Women’s Olympic Hockey is underway [The Ice Garden]

The preliminary rounds kicked off in the women’s tournament with Canada dominating Switzerland, 12-1 and Czechia holding off China, 3-1. Hannah Miller’s goal for China was their first Olympic goal in 12 years.