UPDATE II – This from the Wednesday Chicago Sun Times. About rumours Quenneville is unhappy in Chicago.
“That’s something I want to put to bed right from the outset,” Quenneville said. “I love everything about our situation here in Chicago.”
Sounds like the end of story, but the mess that is the Hawks under Stan Bowman continues with the spector of Barry Smith, of whom Quenneville is not a fan, being forced on the team’s coaching staff. You can read about it here.
UPDATE – From the Tuesday Edition of the Chicago Tribune. Stan Bowman, when asked whether Joel Quenneville would coach the Blackhawks next season, answered simply “Yes.” But what if Quenneville, after all of the front office meddling in his job, isn’t very enthusiastic about returning. It is generally conceded that the Hawks management is a “mess”. For that reason, this rumour is not going to go away quickly until Quenneville makes a definitive statement So far, he’s been silent.
It’s all about a comfort zone. Marc Bergevin comes to the Canadiens from the Chicago Blackhawks front office. It’s natural, if one is in the business of hiring that he goes with people he knows and respects.
We are told Bergevin is in the process of putting a contract on the table for Rick Dudley, who hired Bergevin for his scouting department when he was Hawks assistant GM. Bergevin is also reported to be trying to bring pro scout Martin Lapointe from Chicago. Bergevin hired Lapointe when he was Chicago’s player-development director.
It was expected that hiring a head coach would be down the priority list in terms with things like the NHL draft and free agency looming, but Randy Cunneyworth’s replacement may fall into his lap.
Out of Chicago comes the fascinating news that Joel Quennville could be on the outs with his front office. The Hawks management tandem of Stan and Scotty Bowman may be angling to replace Quenneville with Barry Smith who was an assistant under Scotty in his Detroit days.
Somebody has to take the blame for the collapse of the Blackhawks, and it generally takes longer than a season or two for the finger to be pointed at the front office. So Quenneville could be the sacrificial lamb on the heels of the management induced salary cap mess that led to the disintegration of the team he coached to a Stanley Cup only two years ago. This year he was asked to coach a team without the presence of championship stalwarts such as Kris Versteeg, Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Troy Brouwer, Brian Campbell, Ben Eager and goaltender Antti Niemi. All gone, mostly for salary cap reasons.
There’s no doubt about Quenneville’s coaching ability. His teams have made the playoffs 13 of his 15 NHL years. The Bergevin connection goes back to a 4 year player/coach relationship in St. Louis through to a three year stint as Quenneville’s assistant in Chicago before he moved to the front office.
And yes, Quenneville does know French. At least he has some knowledge. He studied it at Brennan High School in his hometown of Windsor Ontario. Doesn’t mean it’s fluent, but a couple of months in emersion should shake the rust off enough to handle at least basic hockey questions.
This is all very logical. Maybe too logical. Quenneville is under contract to the Hawks through the 2013-2014 season, so the Hawks will have to agree to let Bergevin talk to him. Where there’s a will there’s a way and off what we hear, there might be as much “will” on the part of the Blackhawks as the Canadiens.
Bergevin, Dudley, Lapointe, maybe Quenneville. Anybody else?