Firing Joel Quenneville, in essence, is the right move, however, the timing of his firing was horribly wrong.
The Chicago Blackhawks are far from a Stanley Cup caliber team and even barely a playoff team. I can confidently say Quenneville had little to do with the current state of the Blackhawks. The front office has continually failed themselves day in and day out.
At the end of the day, the front office is responsible for the product they put on the ice. Quenneville hasn’t been given much to work with for a few years now, seeing a lot of talent being shipped away in desperate attempts to wrestle with the salary cap.
Quenneville isn’t perfect by any stretch. He has always had a hard time giving younger players the chances they deserve. Too many times I’ve seen a rookie make a mistake and ride the bench the rest of the game, then a veteran would make the same mistake and be right back on the ice without missing a shift. Things like that can’t happen when you’re trying to develop young players.
The power play has been an absolute mess the past few years. None of the assistant coaches Quenneville brought in have ever had an answer to fix the power play. It has been frustrating watching the same power play units with some minor changes being trotted out on to the ice with nothing to show for most games. The power play is what separates good teams from bad and the Blackhawks are far from good.
The Blackhawks timing of Quenneville’s firing is somewhat confusing especially with every thing he’s done for this team and city. Coach Q is 452-249 with 3 Stanley Cups and 10 playoff appearances in his 11 years as coach of the Blackhawks. At the very least the Blackhawks owed him a chance to go out respectably instead of using him as the fall guy.
Getting rid of Quenneville doesn’t fix anything, the Blackhawks are still an underwhelming team that lacks the depth to be a contender. If the Blackhawks front office thinks they are a coach away from another cup run, this is a swing and a miss.
In a sense, firing Quenneville was the right move. The Blackhawks were clearly ready to move in a different direction. It’s no secret that Quenneville and Bowman have differing views on how to run a hockey club. Unfortunately it seems as though team politics got in the way of hockey operations.
One thing is for sure, Quenneville won’t be without a job for long.