The Hawks just can’t get out of it, can they?
If you haven’t been paying attention over the holiday to the Chicago Blackhawks, and you really shouldn’t, there’s something extremely weird going on with them and veteran winger Corey Perry, who is now an ex-Hawk after a handful of games. It’s hockey, so most things off-ice are pretty weird, and most teams’ desire to keep everything “in the room” only makes things worse, as fans and media are left to feed on the scraps of leaks and rumors. Because this is the Hawks, the stink-whiff is only that much stronger.
Probably best to go through the timeline as a whole. A week ago, Perry was at practice and signing autographs for kids. There was no hint of a problem and, in fact, this all continued the “valued veteran presence” role that Perry had been playing since arriving. He was one of the hockey chaperones for Connor Bedard, the only reason the Hawks are even on anyone’s radar this season.
The next day, the Hawks traveled to Columbus, where they got absolutely smoked by the Jackets and Perry was surprisingly a healthy scratch. The Hawks getting smoked isn’t news, as Perry and the now out-for-the-season Taylor Hall, were two of their maybe three or four NHL-quality wingers. They suck out loud, but getting dusted by the Jackets still takes some doing. They certainly played like they had something else on their mind.
After the game, coach Luke Richardson could only say that Perry’s healthy scratch from nowhere was an organizational decision. That was it. Perry’s teammates didn’t seem to have any idea what was going on, either.
To Thursday, where the Hawks had a practice before their Black Friday game against the Leafs. Again, all Richardson would give the media was that it was an organizational decision, and the Hawks players were clueless as to what was going on. GM Kyle Davidson didn’t appear, nor did president Danny Wirtz.
Davidson finally descended from on high on Saturday, basically to reiterate that Perry had been removed from the team by the organization, that he would be absent for “the foreseeable future,” and it was not Perry’s decision. Perry’s agent released a statement hours later claiming Perry had taken leave to deal with a personal/family matter and the usual ask for privacy. Probably not too much to be read into that, as that’s what agents do. Make their clients look good.
But again, no one was giving any indication of what was going on. To today, and the Hawks released a statement that Perry had been placed on waivers with the intention of terminating his contract, as Perry had, “engaged in conduct that is unacceptable, and in violation of both the terms of his Standard Player’s Contract and The Chicago Blackhawks’ internal policies intended to promote a professional and safe working environment.”
The lack of comment or indication about what is going on with Perry has led to some pretty wild rumors that have no basis in reality, other than the hope that they are true because the comedy level would be off the charts.
The Hawks are a bit limited in what they can say, obviously, no matter how this turns out. But given that this is the Hawks, who have promised transparency across the board after the Kyle Beach scandal and that the entire front office and ownership has turned over since then either through firings or death, whether they had to remain mum just lands them back in the same muck of suspicion and criticism they’ve basically been in since Patrick Kane beat up the cab driver. Except now there’s no winning they can hide behind.
Releasing a statement announcing a contract termination due to “conduct unbecoming,” shall we say, is about as far as any team is going to go. That it took a week for the Hawks to get here is strange, though checking with lawyers, the union and the league, and such, over a holiday weekend probably threw a wrench into proceedings. These things rarely, if ever, turn around in a day, no matter what they are.
The comedy factor is heightened by this being Perry, one of the more despised players in the league by pretty much every fanbase for a decade and a half for his on-ice behavior that usually registered just below “cockroach.” Still, his former and current teammates spoke glowingly of him, at least until last week.
But you should still make all the Mom’s Trip jokes your heart desires.
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