Five steps to fixing the Blackhawks on the ice

    Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.

The Chicago Blackhawks’ fall from grace has been one of the steepest in NHL history.

The team’s calamitous mishandling of former player Kyle Beach’s claims that he was sexually assaulted by former video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010 has led to sweeping changes. General manager Stan Bowman and senior director of hockey operations Al MacIsaac both resigned after an investigation into the matter was released. The Blackhawks were fined $2 million by the NHL.

The tarnish on the team’s Stanley Cup win — from which Aldrich’s name was removed — was so severe that it resulted in the Blackhawks postponing the number retirement for Marian Hossa due to poor timing. “As an organization, we extend our profound apologies to the individuals who suffered from these experiences. We must — and will — do better,” the Blackhawks said in a statement.

Off the ice, there’s a lot of work to do. There’s also work to be done on the ice, where that fall from grace has been ongoing for the past five years.

The team that won three Stanley Cups in the span of six seasons is now just a memory. The last playoff series the Blackhawks won was the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. They’ve failed to appear in the first round of the playoffs in three of the past four seasons. Coach Jeremy Colliton was fired after 2-9-2 start, as Bowman’s offseason coups — goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and defenseman Seth Jones — were consumed by their mediocrity out of the starting gate.

Is this season already lost? Despite a .231 points percentage after 13 games, interim GM Kyle Davidson thinks there’s still a chance at success — or at least learning the best path toward it for next season.

“You find out if you’re a [playoff] team in April. Let’s be totally honest, the math is not in our favor right now to get to that point,” Davidson said after Colliton was fired. “But no season is ever lost, because you’re always going to be able to learn something, you’re always going to be able to continue your evaluation process.”

There are organizational decisions that take precedence over the hockey product, from ensuring the safety of the players to repairing the reputation of the brand locally and globally. But figuring out the next steps to make the Blackhawks a competitive team is a facet of those decisions.

Here are five steps to fixing the Blackhawks on the ice:

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