Why did the Chicago Blackhawks fire Joel Quenneville?
By Benjamin Otero
After many years of success, the Chicago Blackhawks missed the playoffs in 2018. After a poor 2018 season, Joel Quenneville was on thin ice. It only took the team 15 games to fire Quenneville in 2018-19.
The Chicago Blackhawks fired Joel Quenneville after 15 games during the 2018-19 season, ending the Blackhawks career of possibly their best coach. Almost two full seasons have passed and still, the question is asked constantly by Blackhawks fans: Why did we fire him?
When you help a team win three Stanley Cups you deservedly earn some leeway for your job. An example of this is the San Antonio Spurs, who have a long-time coach in Gregg Popovich who had a particularly bad 2020 season, but he won’t be fired, because he has championships to back him up.
The Blackhawks have apparently never heard of this leeway, they fired the three-time Stanley Cup coach after two seasons of playoff losses and a season in which they missed the playoffs.
A new coach or one that hasn’t proven themselves may be fired after that time period but Quenneville? The guy who had very good relations with a lot of players, leaving them praising his work even after him being fired.
He was also fired after only 15 games in which they were 6-6-3, which isn’t great, but he was fired with the idea that his firing would kickstart the team. The person Stan Bowman hired to replace him, Jeremy Colliton.
Colliton is an average coach by all standards, he is 62-58-17 over his two seasons behind the bench of Chicago, with only one playoff appearance, which is mostly because of Coronavirus expanding the playoff format.
He has had bad relations with this team as well, having a publicized conflict with Brent Seabrook, Jonathan Toews criticizing his coaching style, as well as Duncan Keith.
I’ll admit that Colliton has a hard job with Chicago’s defense and a lot of dead-end contracts, Seabrook’s included, but he has made some mistakes. Including benching Henri Jokiharju, a young defenseman, to the point that he left the team. Colliton has been said to have lost the team since early last year and it has been evident throughout this 2020 season as well.
Quenneville has been busy leading a Florida Panthers team to a 36-26-8 and a tenth seed in the expanded playoffs. This Panthers team also isn’t stacked with talent either, it is a young team with a lot of heart which is very Quenneville-esk.
Both teams are in the playoffs, but one cannot help but wonder what this season would be like if we had Quenneville behind the bench. Whether you think the Blackhawks came out better or Quenneville did is up for debate, but a lot will be proven in this year’s playoffs.