Mike Kitchen may not have been the problem that ailed the Chicago Blackhawks this postseason. Following a disappointing performance in the playoffs, the veteran NHL assistant coach has been canned. Just two days earlier, the management had promised changes were going to be coming after the sweep at the hands of the Nashville Predators. Kitchen may be the first domino to fall, but there's a decent chance he won't be the last.

No longer with the franchise

Kitchen lost his job just days after the Blackhawks became the first top-seeded team in NHL history to be swept out of the first round of the postseason.

In a statement, general manager Stan Bowman acknowledged that the assistant was part of two different Stanley Cup teams during his time on the bench, wishing him well for the future. Bowman also claimed that head coach Joel Quenneville was safe for next season and fellow assistants Kevin Dineen and Jimmy Waite still have jobs for the time being.

Kitchen joined the team in July 2010, having six years of experience working with Quenneville on the St. Louis Blues staff. With defense and special teams working under his guise, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015. After finishing this season at the top of the Western Conference, expectations were high once again. Because those expectations weren't met, heads were bound to roll.

More changes on the horizon

On Saturday, Stan Bowman held a press conference to express how disappointed he was at the conclusion of the season. He called the team's performance "unacceptable" and suggested that changes were coming to the Blackhawks. It's not immediately clear if the firing of Kitchen is enough to clear Bowman's conscience.

Perhaps trades or major free agency decisions will be in the works for the Western Conference juggernaut as well.

Kitchen should be able to land on his feet - or his skates. The 61-year old former defenseman has also served as an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers prior to his time with the Blackhawks.

He was also briefly the head coach of the St. Louis Blues. He is well-respected in league circles and will be able to find a job on an NHL bench again, if it's something that interests him.

A good fit could be with the Vegas Golden Knights, who will be searching for established names to help them form their identity prior to their first season of hockey in the nation's entertainment capital next year.

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