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Columnist believes Joel Quenneville’s job could be in danger

Feb 10, 2012, 8:27 PM EDT

Joel Quenneville AP

The NHL ranks pretty high among professional sports leagues when it comes to treating its coaches with a “What have you done for me lately?” approach. It’s almost comical how a bench boss can go from a Jack Adams winner to unemployed – sometimes in the span of a couple seasons.

With that in mind, it’s almost not too ridiculous to read some murmurs about Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville’s job security. (Almost.)

Adrian Dater brings up that question in his Sports Illustrated column. Before you call Dater a buffoon, sample his historically-backed argument:

Think it can’t happen? This is the NHL. Peter Laviolette won the Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006 and was fired in 2008. John Tortorella won the Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004 and was axed three seasons later. Bob Hartley won it with Colorado in 2001, went to Game 7 of the Western finals in 2002, and was canned 31 games into the ’02-03 season. Randy Carlyle won the Cup with Anaheim in 2007, and now he’s looking for work.

Quenneville has a contract that runs through the 2013-14 season, but money is about the only thing it guarantees. The pressure is always high on coaches in a league where financial profit usually only comes with a playoff berth. Quenneville is not immune to such reality. If his team’s current six-game losing streak (0-5-1) continues, and the postseason starts to look at all like the dicey proposition it was last year, sources close to the situation tell SI.com that a change behind the bench is possible.

Much like when the Pittsburgh Penguins hired Michel Therrien and the Washington Capitals promoted Bruce Boudreau, there was a noticeable difference when Chicago brought Quenneville in. Still, the Blackhawks are spending a lot of money and are far removed from the low-profile days of Daze and Zhamnov, so you never know.

Let me ask, then: is Quenneville’s seat getting hotter in Chicago?

  1. taytay099 - Feb 10, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    We’d here a lot less “worst call in the history of the game” complaints with him out of the league. Also would hear a lot less crying every time Brent Seabrook was hit.

  2. kicksave1980 - Feb 10, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    I get the point on the last sentence of the article, but you should’ve used someone other than Daze to make your point. someone like JY Leroux, Doug Zmolek, or Brad Brown. If Daze would have had this Blackhawks team around him, he would have been recognized as one of the best players in the league.

    • chiadam - Feb 11, 2012 at 8:47 AM

      Alex Zhamnov. Don’t forget the worst captain in the history of everything. And how about the ABC line? Yeah!! Oh, and the goalie coach that was hired but never showed up because he ran for office in Russia (no replacement was hired). Blasting the Hawks of the late 90s and early 2000s is picking low-hanging fruit.

  3. tommytd - Feb 10, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    How about some production from Kane? He’s been in a funk all season. How about some goaltending from Crawford? How about some D? Last time I checked, Q is supposed to coach and the players are supposed to produce. Am I missing something here?

    • stakex - Feb 11, 2012 at 2:24 AM

      While I generaly agree with you, there is a school of thought that says its a coach’s job to get the most out of his players.

      Also, if the whole team is not playing up to expectations… who do you start to blame? They can’t all be in a funk, can they?

      • sabatimus - Feb 11, 2012 at 12:01 PM

        Just ask Flip Saunders, who got fired because they couldn’t fire the whole team (NBA reference, but apt). But yeah, Kane is behind his career averages, and Crawford’s been abysmal.

  4. canucks18 - Feb 10, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    Ur right Tommy and I hate how coaches get the blame but it’s easier to can one than trade 20… So is the life as a NHL coach…

  5. stakex - Feb 11, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    Is Quenneville’s seat getting hotter in Chicago? Perhaps. Is it out of this world to think he could be fired? Not totaly.

    However I think its way too early to start talking about that. First of all, Chicago is still in 6th place despite this current slide and are 6 points clear of 9th place in the West. That might not be great, but its not horrible either. Second Quenneville’s stock is still pretty high from the teams play the last few years .Not only did he get Chicago to the Cup a couple seasons ago, they also made it to the Western Conference finals the year before. They also made the playoffs last season with a team that was gutted after its Cup win do to cap issues… an impressive feat despite the 8th place finish and first round exit.

    Now, when you look at the records of the other coach’s that were fired, there are some big things that stand out that point to why they were fired. Peter Laviolette’s Hurricains missed the playoffs the year before they won the Cup, the two seasons after, and were 12-11-2 when he was fired. Tortorella’s Lightning finished 8th, 7th, and missed playoffs respectively in his next three seasons. Randy Carlyle stayed with the Ducks for four and a third seasons missing the playoffs once, and losing in the first round twice. All of these guys were with their cup team longer then its been since Quenneville’s Cup win, and most of them had a far worse post-cup record. If anything they are examples that its unlikely he will be fired… or that his job is even in danger.

  6. chiadam - Feb 11, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    Now is not the time to fire Q. Three more losses in a row and the Cubs send him a customized Quenneville jersey and a set of steak knives. Look out eight seed, the Hawks are on the way! Again!!

  7. ravenscaps48 - Feb 11, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    If he gets fired, you’ll have 15 teams line up for his services

  8. CraigGivant - Feb 11, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Wow! I have seen the mumblings regarding this and now this article but I have to wonder how Q can be expected to get this team to perform with the Defense he has been provided?

    Sure the Hawks were the darlings of the League a month ago but now Keith and Seabrook are burned out and starting to make mistakes. They were asked to carry the team and have done so honorably but they can’t continue. Leddy has a lot of promise but he should be playing 3rd pairing minutes this year so he can develop. Hjamarson handles the puck like a grenade and is only good at blocking shots, O’donell and Montador are …er….well…. USELESS.

    Change coaches if you wish but it will be a mistake. Bring in a couple of solid D Rentals and you might have something to work with.

  9. yettyskills - Feb 11, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Don’t put an excellent coach on the hot-seat, put the players on the hot seat. And whoever doesn’t rise to the challenge, trade outta town.

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