The primary reaction from the hired hands to the firing of Blackhawks general manager Mike Smith was surprise and anticipation.
"It looks like there are going to be some changes made," winger Steve Sullivan said. "They wouldn't have fired Mike if everything was going good."
Sullivan said word of Smith's impending dismissal spread on the team bus after practice Friday, and they heard the confirmation over lunch.
News of friction between Smith and coach Brian Sutter surprised most of the players.
"I really don't know what happens between the coach and general manager," defenseman Jon Klemm said. "We don't worry about stuff like that."
Klemm said he and his teammates need to focus solely on what happens on the ice, such as Saturday night's game against the Los Angeles Kings.
"We have a couple of good games under our belt," Klemm said. "Hopefully we can come out and get a win and get on a little bit of a roll the other way. It's been a long time since we had a streak going our way."
The Hawks went out and extended that unbeaten streak to three games in a 3-2 victory over the Kings.
After falling behind 39 seconds into the game on a Derrick Armstrong goal, the Hawks had their way the rest of the period, outshooting L.A. 16-4 and taking a 2-1 lead on goals by Nathan Dempsey and Steve Sullivan.
The Hawks made it 3-1 on Pavel Vorobiev's first NHL goal midway through the second and held off the Kings after Lubomir Visnovsky cut the lead to 3-2 early in the third. The Kings outshot the Hawks 46-24.
Considering Smith's firing was basically over a power struggle, it should be clear to everyone on the Hawks that if the team continues to struggle, it will be the players, not Sutter, who will be the first to go.
"You can't deny that [Sutter is firmly in charge]," Sullivan said. "Brian won that. We're just kind of curious what kind of changes will be made."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times