For the first week or so, CSNChicago.com recalls how the Blackhawks players organized and ran their own practices. Jonathan Toews drew up drills on the dry-erase board and Jamal Mayers had the whistle.
But over time the players have gotten some real coaching help. And Kenny McCudden has been the latest to assist them.
McCudden, the skating and skills coach for the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League, has been directing practices in Chicago for the past few days. In his 14th season with the Wolves, McCudden does have a past connection with the Blackhawks. He became the Blackhawk’s stick boy at age 17 in 1979, and spent six years with the them, ending his stint as the team’s assistant equipment manager.
So when McCudden got the call from the players, who pay him for his services, he was ready to help.
“I’ve always dreamed of being on the ice with the Patrick Sharps and Patrick Kanes, and here we are,” McCudden said. “I’m going to try to do as many skates as possible as an independent contractor, and this is what I do professionally.”
McCudden said he’s just bringing “direction” to the sessions.
“When guys go off by themselves they play a lot of shinny hockey and just drop the puck and away they go,” McCudden said. “They were looking for direction, with drills and situations and feeding off of one another in those situations and getting their timing with their hands and their feet. “