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Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville reaches out to Lovie Smith as Bears prepare for NFC Championship

Jan 20, 2011, 3:30 PM EST

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Joel Quenneville AP

Surely NFL coaches hold the opinions of their closest peers – other coaches in the league – in the highest regards. Still, every now and then, coaches in other sports will converse with each other – whether it’s a matter of discussing motivational strategies or just a nice pat on the back.

Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville received a “good luck” phone call for Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith when the team made an impressive run to the Stanley Cup finals, so it only makes sense that Coach Q returned the favor.

It will be a big sports day in Chicago on Sunday, as the Blackhawks will face the Philadelphia Flyers for the first time since their Cup finals series shortly before the Bears take on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Quenneville said he was glad to return the favor with an encouraging phone call to Smith and wants to make sure he can watch the football game once the Flyers-Hawks game concludes.

“I exchanged messages with Lovie there,” Quenneville said after practice on Thursday. “We’re rooting for each other.

“I just appreciated the phone call last year and I wished him good luck. We’re behind him and rooting for them.”

The Hawks will play the team they beat for the Stanley Cup — the Philadelphia Flyers — just hours before the Bears take on the Packers.

“What a game, what a game,” Quenneville said. “Perfect time. Our game ends and we get to watch it. I think it’s going be very close, very close.”

The Hawks play the Flyers at 11:30 a.m. CT. The Bears and Packers kick off at 2 p.m. A short “open locker room” for the media after the game was suggested, in order for Quenneville to get to a television.

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