CHICAGO -- It was early May of last season when the Chicago Blackhawks were at their post-Cup nadir and a power play had as much to do with the front office as the hockey rink.
A first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Phoenix Coyotes was the second spring in a row the Blackhawks went out like lamb. There was no doubt this season would be important for the front office and the coaching staff, namely coach Joel Quenneville.
Some would say it would be a defining season for the future of this organization.
While no one with hiring or firing power would say Quennville's job was in jeopardy, winning the Stanley Cup in 2010 only served as a reminder of what this job was now about, getting back to that ideal. The same holds true for general manager Stan Bowman.
A bad 2013 season could have resulted in big changes for a team that makes money, but also spends prodigiously. Rocky Wirtz has shown loyalty comes after performance.
Even after a record-setting start and a Presidents' Trophy, both meaningless come May, it's fair to assume a second-round playoff exit to the Detroit Red Wings could have spelled doom for some coaches, executives and players, or at least presaged changes to come.
But none of that came to pass. The Blackhawks have new life.