Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
The ’Hawks have the better head coach. Chicago boss Joel Quenneville has gotten flak from plenty of sources for ideas such as “playing Rozsival,” “not playing Teravainen” and “using Sheldon Brookbank on offense.” But let’s face it. The man is one of the best in the game. He ranks third in NHL history with 754 regular-season wins and third in playoff wins with 107. His playoff winning percentage with Chicago is 62.5. And, of course, he has two Stanley Cups. Bruce Boudreau is a fine coach in his own right with 363 career regular-season victories, plus 35 in the playoffs. But, in nine seasons as an NHL head coach, his teams have won their division seven times (including this current Anaheim squad). And, as has been pointed out, this is his first conference final appearance. So his track record falls well short of Quenneville’s.
Again, playoff experience is crucial at this stage. Knowing how to approach certain situations and how far players can be pushed at this point of the season is important to keeping a team in the right mindset to contend for a Stanley Cup. Quenneville clearly knows how to do this, as his history indicates. Boudreau hasn’t yet proven he has these abilities. If the players on either side are looking for a calming influence or fiery speech from their coach, who between these two is more likely to deliver something more effective, more believable? Q has been to this rodeo before. Boudreau will just have to try to hang on for eight seconds.
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