How can a guy go from a marketing genius to a man that is booed at a convention that he created in the first place? Well, it happened to Chicago Blackhawks' president John McDonough this past weekend. The question remains: is it worth it?
Well, when I wrote the blog before the convention on how he will be received, I wasn't really expecting the guy to actually be booed. He probably shouldn't get the negative reception, but you can see where some Hawks fans are coming from...sort of, and with a bit of irony to it as well.
Before McDonough's arrival in 2007, the Blackhawks were basically an afterthought, if that. Those die-hard Chicago hockey fans remained, but they were few and far between, and the AHL's Chicago Wolves may have had more fans. Now that the former Cubs president joined the Hawks, they have not just gained a fan base, but they set a record for attendance.
Now that there are people following the team, there are more people out there who could get upset for what people like McDonough do with the team...such as demote Dale Tallon.
The other aspect, in this history of the revival, was the death of owner Bill Wirtz. As bad as this sounds, that was "good" news in the eyes of most Blackhawks fans. His son Rocky took over in Oct 2007, and he was the face of the front office right before McDonough's arrival a month later. Rocky was the man that put games on television which created more of a following.
Rocky, Tallon, and McDonough were each responsible for the start of the positives, but when it comes to the negative attention, all that is being aimed toward McDonough because he has become the center of the front office over Rocky.
Even Martin Havlat, who did not re-sign with the Hawks this offseason, bashed McDonough in an interview with TSN on Wednesday before the convention.
""My negotiation with Chicago was not between Dale and my agent [Allan Walsh], it was between Dale and McDonough. Why? Because McDonough couldn't stand that Dale was so successful and getting the credit for building the Hawks from a last place team to making the Conference Final in three short years."
"Remember, we were also the youngest team in the NHL last year. I was too closely identified with Dale. McDonough knew long ago he was going to fire Dale. He wanted someone he could claim as his own. He wanted to stand up at the convention and claim credit for signing this guy or that guy."
Well, McDonough was booed instead of receiving credit. This whole thing is becoming a mess, but again, it boils down to the team meaning something again. Yet, I don't think this is the attention that McDonough or Rocky meant to receive.
The boos will all go away if the Blackhawks keep winning, but if they somehow struggle on the ice next season or at least do not live up to high expectations, this attention may continue to go in a negative direction...whether it is deserved or not.