It’s a story that has been on the table for some time with the near-dynasty, modern-day Chicago Blackhawks slowly slipping into irrelevancy. But on Tuesday, it was announced that the team decided to part ways with long-time head coach Joel Quenneville along with assistants Kevin Dineen and Ulf Samuelsson.
Quenneville By the Numbers
Quenneville has been behind the bench in Chicago since 2008 and led the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cups (2010, 2013 and 2015) over six seasons. He tallied a record of 452-249-96 in 797 games as the Blackhawks bench boss and departs as the second-winningest coach in franchise history.
On top of that, his record in Chicago has helped put the 60-year-old coach among the top coaches in NHL history – the second-winningest coach to be exact – with a record of 890-532-214.
Still, according to Sportsnet’s David Amber, Quenneville becomes the 19th NHL head coach fired and replaced since the start of the 2017 season.
Related: Kings Fire John Stevens
Following their Stanley Cup win in 2014-15, the Blackhawks finished third in the Central Division in 2015-16 before losing to the St. Louis Blues in seven games in the first round. The following season, they bettered their regular season result and finished atop the Central Division before being swept by the Nashville Predators in the first round of the playoffs.
Finally, last season, the Blackhawks finished with a 33-39-10 record which was good enough for seventh in the Central Division and they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08.
Replacing Coach Q
As Mark Lazerus put it, the battle between Quenneville and Stan Bowman – the one that has gone on for six years now – has finally been put to rest with Bowman coming out on the winning side. While the choice might not be a popular one, as displayed by Dan Carcillo, the team’s 6-6-3 record through 15 games is surely part of the reason why Quenneville got the axe.
The firing of #Quenneville is nothing more than John McDonough, Stan Bowman & Al MacIsaac’s (Hockey Operations) desperate attempt to save their jobs.
There has always been tension between Joel & the above men mentioned.
Barry Smith is best friends with Scotty Bowman #Blackhawks
— Daniel Carcillo (@CarBombBoom13) November 6, 2018
In a release from the organization (and shared on Sportsnet) the team’s president and CEO John McDonough expressed his thoughts on firings:
“This was an extremely difficult decision, given our respect for Joel and all that he has brought to the Chicago Blackhawks organization the last 10 years. His leadership during three Stanley Cup championships speaks for itself and there is no way to adequately express what he has meant to this organization. He will always be a significant member of the Blackhawks family. We have a deep appreciation for how he helped establish our standard and the Blackhawks culture and certainly wish he, Kevin and Ulf only the best in their future.”
While Quenneville will surely be sought after now that he’s on the market, the Blackhawks also introduced their new head coach on Tuesday. Jeremy Colliton – who was serving as head coach of the team’s AHL affiliate Rockford IceHogs was named the team’s 38th coach in franchise history. With that, Colliton also becomes the youngest coach in the NHL right now at the age of 33.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.