Kitchen Taking “His Talents” North To Chi Town


PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 26: Assistant Coach Mike Kitchen of the Florida Panthers watches practice prior to his game against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 26, 2009 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

I'm Going Where The Talent Is! Source Yardbarker

 Former Florida Panthers assistant coach Mike Kitchen has decided to “take his talents” elsewhere and has been signed by the Chicago Blackhawks to take the place of former Florida Panthers head coach (briefly) and assistant coach John Torchetti.  Torchetti last week was named as an associate coach with the Atlanta Thrashers  joining good friend and former Panther GM and Blackhawks assistant GM  Rick Dudley.  Phew!  Did you catch all that.  Florida to Chicago to Atlanta.  Kind of like a popular airline route.

As you know Kitchen was asked by new Panthers GM Dale Tallon  (formerly of the Blackhawks) whether he wanted to stay on or not and be part of the rebuild here in Florida.   Kitchen chose to pursue other opportunities.  You should know that Kitchen was on the staff of the St. Louis Blues when current Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville was head coach there.  Yikes I can’t keep us with all these teams and cities.  You thought Mike Keenan got around!

Now it’s not that Kitchen leaving here is a surprise.  Most of us fans here in the sunshine state were probably doing the Macarenawhen we knew Kitchen wasn’t coming back here as coach of the defence.  After watching our piss poor penalty kill which Kitchen was responsible for, suck over the last few seasons, most of us would have been ready to back his bags for him and drive him to the airport.  In addition, you’re all probably feeling pretty good that it won’t take six or seven passes for us to get out of our zone anymore.  Or that we won’t have to rely on chipping it off the glass  to get the pressure of the opposition’s forecheck off our backs.

Now as regular readers of this site, you know that I’m originally from Chicago myself, and still am a Blackhawks fan.  So you must be thinking, oh crap, Frank must be pretty worried about this move for the Hawks right?  Well, not so fast mate.  I firmly believe that this is not just a systems issue, but a talent issue.  Not just from a defenceman standpoint, but the forwards also. 

See the Hawks, even with the bit of change they are going through have a few attributes the Panthers have been lacking recently.  Well hell, who am I kidding?  They’ve been lacking it for about 10 years right?  Those attributes?  Skilled players.  Charachter  players that know their roles and have bought into the system.  Players that have hockey sense and hockey smarts.  Especially when looking at the top four D-men on the Hawks roster, it should be pretty simple to coach those four guys right?  I mean if Kitchen fucks that up, then I’m really going to be surprised.

Now, not that this is a knock against the current Panther roster of defencemen. We will never know how they would have been with Kitchen on the bench, but  it will be interesting to see how both sides play out.  Will the Panthers defence look and play better with new assistant coach Gord Murphy.  A former Panther defenceman who was coaching in Columbus.  Another city in this mix!  Will the Blackhawks defence get worse, or play worse with Kitchen behind their bench?   Well I doubt the latter very much.

I think Kitchen knew all along what was happening.  The minute Dudley took the job in Atlanta as GM, it was only a matter of time before Torchetti went there as an assistant.  Kitchen then did the only thing that he knew was right for him.  Take himself to where the talent is!

While the future defence of the Panthers looks bright, where would you rather coach?

Speaking of talents, have fun watching Baseball’s All-Star Game tonight!

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Tags: Chicago Blackhawks Dale Tallon Florida Panthers Mike Kitchen Rick Dudley

  • slapshot1106

    Frank–You must be getting a bit worried with your Hawks. It’s not a dismantling, but sure there seems to be more changes than most would’ve imagined.. It’s too bad they’re so cap-strapped, but I think they should’ve tried to be more creative to help themselves and their lack of Cap $$..

    It seems their 2 biggest problems were the contracts of Huet and Campbell.. Since they were already content in losing Buff, Versteeg, Ladd, Eager, and Sopel, why not try to get a team like the Leafs, Oilers, Panthers or someone else with a lot of Cap Room to take on Campbell’s contract? If they would’ve offered Tallon Campbell, Versteeg, Ladd, and Eager for McCabe, Allen, and Olesz, it seems somewhat logical for both… Sure it would be a salary dump and we’d be overpaying for Campbell, but the Hawks would’ve been able to keep Buff and had serious cap relief for the future… McCabe’s contract expires after this year, Allen’s after 2, and Olesz could be sent down or bought out if he couldn’t hold a spot… A guy like Olesz could actually hav a chance on a talented team, but still there’s options… Tallon would have to be tempted as he’d be adding 3 or 4 roster players, and losing some more deadweight contracts that no one else would take…

  • Frank Rekas

    Slap shot, while the appearance of dismantling in Chicago may look worrysome, the good news is the core is together. Kane, Toews, Hossa, Bolland, Seabrook, Keith,Hjalmarsson, Sharp, Brouwer. Still a pretty decent lineup. While Verseeg and Ladd are important pieces, they are replaceable. As for Buff, while I think he has a ton of talent, he needs motivation. He could be the next Horton. Which is why he’s probably not here in Florida.
    Dale knows those guys and maybe there’s a reason we didn’t rrade for any of them, or maybe the Hawks don’t want to deal wiht us.
    I’m not worried about them yet. Although having Olesz go to the Hawks would make me very nervous!

    As for the Panthers, it’s too quiet!

  • slapshot1106

    Yes I agree Buff and Versteeg are more easily replaced on a team with a solid team that has a CORE like the Hawks, but they still could use Cap Relief.. They’re pretty much commited to spending to the CAP every year for the foreseeable future.. Then there’s always possiblities the Cap could go down next year, Seabrook’s going to want $$$ similar to Duncan Keith…

    Even if they demote, buyout, or get Huet to play in Europe, it still counts somewhat… Campbell as a 3rd Dman making $7mill plus for a bunch of years has got to be tough to swallow… I realize you wouldn’t want Olesz, but it’s got to be some sort of favor for a favor deal..

    And yes it’s quiet in free agency for the Panthers. I doubt the Hawks want to deal with Dale, so I think some sort of creative bad contract swapping should take place. Take a chance Dale, and get Cap Creative…