Editorials

Is It Too Late In The Season For Joel Quenneville’s Doghouse Door To Open?

By Keith Schultz
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Mar 2, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Kris Versteeg (23) with the puck during the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Quenneville has a doghouse that is for certain! We have seen in the past few years Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin, Daniel Carcillo and special guest once a season Bryan Bickell find their way into and usually not out of Joel Quenneville’s doghouse, but with every point a premium at the end of the season is it too late in the process for Quenneville to be using his doghouse now?

If your going to side with Coach Q, Bryan Bickell will be the player everyone points to.  After getting scratched, two games later there was Bickell in the slot picking up a huge third period goal for the Blackhawks in their 6-2 victory.  Bickell is one of those players that seems to respond to coach adversity and the hand of Joel Quenneville comes down hard on him at least once a spring.

If you’re asking why the question is even being asked it’s because Kris Versteeg was skating on the 5th line today at practice while Andrew Dejardins and Daniel Carcillo were in the top 4 lines and looking to be in the lineup when the Blackhawks face the New York Islanders on St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow night.

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If there is one player this season who is hurt the most by Patrick Kane’s injury it has to be Kris Versteeg.  Versteeg when put together with Kane and Brad Richards in December was one of the hottest lines in all of the NHL, and Versteeg was having a comeback player of the year type of season.  Versteeg season hit it’s own wall when he blocked a shot in the third period of the Winter Classic and hurt his wrist missing a month and a half.  When he returned following a few slow games looked to have his game returning before Kane went down.

Versteeg is one of the few players that actually thrives playing with Kane because he doesn’t necessarily need the puck to be effective while being able to play with speed and getting off one timers and picking up rebounds.  Without Kane in the lineup Versteeg has been lost no matter if he’s playing on the top line with Jonathan Toews or the bottom line with Marcus Kruger.

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Now after Versteeg’s point production has come to an almost complete halt Quenneville is opening the door for Versteeg the question is will this be the right decision when playing a young fast team like the Islanders?  Does a message when points are needed the right call this late in the season? Here’s the poll question.

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