To add to all the issues facing the Blackhawks right now, there seems to be a power struggle going on at the United Center. It appears that Joel Quenneville and Stan and Scotty Bowman are not on the same page right now. There is a battle going on between the man behind the bench and the father/son duo upstairs.
The first shot was fired 10 days ago when Stan Bowman traded John Scott to the New York Rangers. I think Bowman made this move to save Q from himself and no longer give him the option of playing Scott for 3 minutes a game. Bowman must have been sick of watching Scott wasting a roster spot. Q has been playing Scott’s replacement, Sami Lepisto, for about only 5 minutes a game. I am not sure if this is Q’s way of firing back, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it is. Even with the acquisition of Johnny Oduya, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith are still carrying the load when it comes to ice time.
Barry Smith was recently hired at Director of Player Development by Scotty Bowman. Smith was on Bowman’s coaching staffs for 5 Stanley Cup winning teams in Pittsburgh and Detroit. Smith has been on the ice coaching the Blackhawks’ special teams more than once in the last few days. The word around town is this came from upstairs and not by Q’s request. Q has played this off by saying all the right things in media but this can not be sitting well with him. Quenneville has won a Stanley Cup and has the most wins among active coaches and now Scotty Bowman is going over his head. The special teams do need all the help they can get but this is a very strange way to do it.
Is Barry Smith the next head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks? I wouldn’t rule it out by any means. Let us not forget how Quenneville got the job in the first place. He was hired as a scout just a few weeks before the 2008-2009 season. He replaced Dennis Savard as head coach after just 4 games that year. Smith could have been brought in to be the man in waiting as the Bowmans decide what direction to take the team in. I am in the middle of the road on whether to fire Quenneville or not. He did bring home the first Stanley Cup in 49 years but his teams have done nothing but underachieve since then. Stan Bowman does deserve some of the blame for that as well. If Scotty Bowman wants to fire Quenneville I will give him the benefit of the doubt. After all his name is on the Stanley Cup 12 times for a reason. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. If Quenneville gets the Blackhawks deep into the playoffs all this talk and speculation about his future will go away.