As a hockey fan, it’s a moment that I’ll remember where I was when it happened. One year ago today I was working in a grocery store stocking shelves when the news broke that the Chicago Blackhawks had fired longtime coach Joel Quenneville. After the team’s 6-6-3 start, Blackhawks’ GM Stan Bowman threw down the ax of the coach that brought his team immeasurable amounts of success.
Since Quenneville’s firing, the Hawks have done effectively worse.
The Blackhawks went 30-28-9 after the coaching change and ended the season 6th in the Central with 270 goals for and 292 against.
The team went through changed throughout the summer, losing players like John Hayden, Artem Anisimov, and Henri Jokiharju, in exchange for a mixed bag of youth and experience in kids like Alex Nylander, Dominik Kubalik, and Olli Maatta. Add in Robin Lehner, a new goaltender coming off Jennings and Masterton winning season, and it seemed like things were going to be set for a hot start.
To start this season the Blackhawks are 4-7-3 with 33 goals for and 44 goals against. Their goaltending averages a .914 save percentage which is good and just considering Robin Lehner reigns in net to keep the team alive.
This team has potential. The youth has shown what it is made of but things aren’t clicking sometimes and it is noticeable. Things haven’t been on the up and up like Stan Bowman wanted to think would happen when he fired the guy who brought him 3 Stanley Cups.
I’ll die on the hill that firing Quenneville was a bad idea. I’m not saying that firing him is the lone reason things are dragging in Chicago.
There is not one singular problem with the team. It’s a culmination of aging veterans and a changed game, of youth trying to grow but not having the support, or a new coach that has never rangled a professional team for a full season. The game has changed a lot since 2015 when the Cup was last Chicago’s and so has this team.
Even if firing Quenneville was inevitable, the timing was worse. The team is trying to rev up for a new season and you shut them down by firing the guy that has coach some of them for their whole careers. Now you (mostly Stan and that snake Barry Smith) look like a fool because your team is struggling through the thicket and Q’s new team is 7-3-4.
Anyway, I can rant for a while about this but what is done is done. One year ago today, the Hawks found out that no one is really safe and not much has changed since then
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