Chicago Blackhawks: Is Joel Quenneville equivalent to Ditka?
By Ryan Fedrau
The Chicago Blackhawks former coach Joel Quenneville has had many great memories in the city. After being one of the most successful coaches in Chicago sports history, is Quenneville equivalent to Mike Ditka?
Okay, Chicago Bears‘ fans, just wait. When Bears’ fans saw this article, they cringed. No one is more of a legend in this city than Mike Ditka. He is the former Bears’ tight end and the only Super Bowl-winning head coach. Coach Ditka brought the Bears to new levels in the 1980s. There is no questioning his coaching abilities, or even how much of a legend he is. The question is, is Joel Quenneville worth as much to the city of Chicago?
Quenneville took over the coaching duties of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009. In his first season as head coach, he took the Blackhawks to the Western Conference Finals. Even though they got smoked by the Red Wings, he already established the Blackhawks as a solid team.
As the story goes, of course, Quenneville was a part of three different Stanley Cup-winning teams. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013, and 2015. All three of those years, Quenneville was their head coach.
In all but one year, Quenneville made the playoffs as the Blackhawks’ head coach. Honestly, his firing was a surprise to many. It looks just like the Joe Maddon firing for the Chicago Cubs. Both teams fired a coach for not making the playoffs one time. It’s an interesting choice.
So, Ditka won only one Super Bowl. The 1985 Bears are considered the best team in NFL history. They were very dominating. They had one of the best defenses in NFL history. The team also had the best running back to ever touch a football in Walter Payton.
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If you have to compare Ditka’s best team to any of Quenneville’s teams, it’s fair to compare the 2013 Blackhawks. That team went 36-7-5. They started off the ‘shortened’ season 21-0-3. The 2013 Blackhawks had many crazy playoff moments. The two ones that come to mind off the top of my head are the series against the Red Wings and two goals in 17 seconds.
If there’s a team to compare the 1986 Bears to, it’s the 2017 Blackhawks. Both of those teams were very successful in the regular season. The ’86 Bears didn’t win the Super Bowl, even after going 14-2 and dominating the regular season. The ’17 Blackhawks didn’t win a single game in the Stanley Cup playoffs, even after dominating the regular season.
So, is it fair to compare these two coaches? I think so. I’ll never ask the question of who is a bigger legend in the city because there isn’t a right or wrong answer. They are equivalent to each other. So here’s how I look at it, Quenneville is the Blackhawks’ coach Ditka.
Quenneville and Ditka will be legends in the city of Chicago forever. Both coaches deserve all the credit in the world.