Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks Behind The Scenes: Assistant Coach Kevin Dineen

By Gail Kauchak
Oct 9, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen during the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Blackhawks defeat the Stars 3-2 in the overtime shootout. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 9, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen during the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Blackhawks defeat the Stars 3-2 in the overtime shootout. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Assistant Coach Kevin Dineen is another person that works behind the scenes to make the Chicago Blackhawks a success.

In my next number of posts we are looking at the people behind the scenes for the Chicago Blackhawks.  These are the people that get largely taken for granted; yet they are integral to the success of the team.  Last week I wrote about Chicago Blackhawks Assistant Coach Mike Kitchen.  So this week it seems only fitting we discuss the other assistant coach, Kevin Dineen.  Like Kitchen, Dineen appears to be hand-picked by head coach Joel Quenneville.  Being the second-winningest coach in NHL history definitely has its perks.

Dineen and Quenneville both played for the Hartford Whalers from 1984-1990.  While Quenneville was a defensive defenseman, Dineen was a high scoring right wing.  As a matter of fact, Dineen scored 44 goals in the 1988-89 season, and 41 goals the following season.  He was named an All-Star in both seasons.    The two were friends as players, and remained friends throughout their playing and coaching careers.

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After the Hartford Whalers, Dineen went on to play for the Philadelphia Flyers (1991-1995), the Carolina Hurricanes (1995-1999), the Ottawa Senators (1999-2000), and finally the Columbus Blue Jackets (2000-2002).  His first coaching gig was as a head coach for the Portland Pirates, who were the AHL affiliate for the Anaheim Ducks.  In his first year (2005-06), he was named the AHL’s Coach of the Year.  He continued with the Pirates through 2011.

In May of 2011, Dineen signed as the new head coach of the NHL Florida Panthers.  He led the team to their first post-season appearance in 12 years, but they lost in the first round to the New Jersey Devils.  The following year, Dineen and his staff were fired in November of 2013 after winning only 3 of the first 16 games of the season.

An interesting chain of events led to Dineen being offered the head coaching job for the Canadian women’s Olympic hockey team.  He went on to lead this team to a gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics.  So his fall from grace in the NHL eventually led to the glory of winning a gold medal for Canada.  Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski wrote an inspiring article about it at the time.

On July 14, 2014, Dineen was offered the vacant assistant coaching job for the Chicago Blackhawks.  A position was available, as Jamie Kompon left to become the head coach for the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks.  Quenneville didn’t want to lose Kompon, but he expressed excitement in being able to hire his old friend.  As we all know, the 2014-15 season turned out to be another Stanley Cup winning season for the Hawks, and Coach Q had two former teammates and friends by his side in the form of Dineen and Mike Kitchen.

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Since coming to the Hawks in 2014, Dineen has been in charge of the power play.  In his first season, the team was ranked 20th in the NHL in this category.  This was down from 10th from the year before.  But the Hawks won the Cup, so a lot can be forgiven.  Surprisingly to me, the Hawks ranked second in the league on the power play this year.  This certainly bodes well for Dineen.  He definitely benefitted from utilizing the dynamic second line of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, and Patrick Kane on the man advantage.  He also experimented with using Duncan Keith in a more offensive role.  Hopefully he and the team can continue with this success next season.

Another point of interest in regards to Dineen is that while Mike Kitchen has been an assistant coach for most of his career, Dineen has spent more time in a head coaching role.  This upcoming season will be his third year in Chicago as an assistant.  I’m sure his current position with the team is exciting; he won his first Stanley Cup with them, and the window appears to be open for another run at it next year.  But will Dineen eventually get the itch to be in charge again, or will he continue to be comfortable in his assistant coaching role?

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For right now, it appears that the coaching staff will be comprised of Quenneville, Dineen, and Kitchen for next season.  Since the three have been together, they have enjoyed winning the Stanley Cup, and been disappointed with losing in the first round of the playoffs.  I wonder what will happen next year?!

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