Good Guy Joel Quenneville
When Q came to Chicago to coach the Blackhawks, players were devastated that Hawks legend Denis Savard had been let go, especially Toews and Kane. He was the only head coach they’d had during their time with the team, and it was a weird feeling for them. But Quenneville tried to make the situation as comfortable for them as possible. He knew this was a tight-knit group, and the only way to earn their trust was with success.
All these years later, the Blackhawks wouldn’t want it any other way.
“When Joel came in, he immediately brought in that presence and that experience,” Toews said in 2014. “He slowly … had his own effect on our team. We had some great success that year even with an inexperienced team and we’ve just been getting better and better ever since.”
Fellow teammate Patrick Kane credited Quenneville for his growth as a player throughout the years. And as a fan, I’ve taken notice in Kane’s change in play. Of course, he’s one of the best scoring forwards in the game. But he’s been reliable defensively, too, developing into more of a two-way forward than he ever thought he’d be.
“(Quenneville’s) a special coach,” Kane said. “He obviously knows a lot about our team and how to deal with us. He’s very smart. He’s got a great feel for our team, who to put on the ice and when and if someone is going or not going. He’s a pleasure to have around here. We’re lucky.”
When Q earned a three-year contract extension in 2016, GM Stan Bowman praised him and all the things he’s done with the Blackhawks.
“We’ve got a great situation going here,” Bowman stated. “Fortunate to have Joel on board and he’s been a huge part of what we’ve accomplished as a group. There’s no one more you want behind the bench than Joel.”
Bowman has also credited Quenneville for knowing how to make adjustments as a coach. He can find ways to pin the best against the best in all situations, creating the best scenario for his team to win games.
When you’re a head coach in the NHL, you want to have success. But you also want to be approachable in most ways, and develop the players in front of you to reach that level of success. Continuity is also important, and Quenneville has now been behind the bench for the Blackhawks for nine season, and hopefully there will be many more to come. He’s shown how great of a coach he can be, but also how great of a guy he is, as well.
Joel Quenneville currently sits second all-time in wins (839) as a head coach in the NHL, only behind another great, Scotty Bowman. All in all, he’s one of the best in the game. Blackhawks fans might argue he is the best coach in the National Hockey League. No matter what your opinion is, as a fan of the sport, the least you can do is have respect for Quenneville’s success, especially with the Chicago Blackhawks.