The Chicago Blackhawks have started to shake up the organization, firing assistant coach Mike Kitchen on Monday and the head coach of the AHL Rockford IceHogs, Ted Dent, on Tuesday.
After the Blackhawks became the first top-seeded team to be swept in the first round since the NHL adopted its current playoff format in 1994, general manager Stan Bowman promised changes.
"We believe this decision is best for our organization moving forward," Bowman said of firing Kitchen in a statement. "Mike had an impact on two different Stanley Cup championship teams during his tenure in Chicago. We appreciate his many contributions and wish he and his family success in the future."
Kitchen joined coach Joel Quenneville's Chicago staff in July 2010. He had worked with Quenneville for six years in St. Louis. He helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015, focusing primarily on defense and special teams.
The Blackhawks ranked 24th in penalty kill percentage and 19th in power play percentage last season.
The Blackhawks won the Central Division this season with a 50-23-9 record, finishing with the most points in the Western Conference. But in the playoff sweep, Chicago managed just three goals.
Bowman said Quenneville will return next season, while assistants Kevin Dineen and Jimmy Waite are still on staff.
An angry Bowman issued a statement on Saturday.
"Standing here April 22 is not the way we expected our season to end. And it's a complete failure when you measure it against the expectations that we have of ourselves," he said. "We did not come even close to reaching the standard we have set over the years here. And that's unacceptable.
"Any successes that we did experience this year are completely overshadowed by the abrupt ending to our season. It's not close to good enough for anybody. And I think it's time right now to take a look in the mirror and face facts."
Dent was 221-179-33-21 in six seasons as head coach of the IceHogs and was an assistant with the team for five seasons before that. The Rockford program has become increasingly important to the Blackhawks in recent years because the parent organization has come to rely on younger players to fill out the roster amid salary-cap constraints. That dynamic should remain for the near future as well.
Dent signed an extension last April.
"The Chicago Blackhawks thank Ted for all of his contributions throughout his tenure with the organization," Bowman said in a statement. "He played a major role in helping a number of players reach the NHL level with the Chicago Blackhawks, many of whom became Stanley Cup champions. We wish Ted and his family the best."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.