2010 - 2011 Braintrust Evaluations: Joel Quenneville

You didn't really think we'd go through all this trouble to miss out on taking the suits to task, did you? First on the docket is the man in the mustache, Joel Quenneville. As one of the NHL's more decorated and tenured bench bosses for nearly two decades, the ultimate prize of a Stanley Cup had eluded Q until last season, which earned him a 3 year extension. So just as everyone in uniform experienced, it would be a new venture for Quenneville as well dealing with the aftermath of a Cup hangover and his roster gutted.

Joel Quenneville

Coach Chicago Blackhawks



September 15, 1958

GF GA Diff PP%

2010 - Joel Quenneville 82

29 9 258 225 +33 23.1

Contract Status: Signed through 2013-2014 (mercifully, no cap hit)

Positives: Well, no one died, did they? Though even then there were some close calls. Based on what was coming out of his players mouths after games after tough losses, it seemed apparent that Quenneville stayed on message and positive with his group, seemingly ad nauseum reiterating that their time will come, and they just need to keep working hard and the breaks will come their way. Only Brian Campbell, who was seemingly the only one aware of how dire the situation was early, and Duncan Keith, who couldn't wait to unload on teammates or make excuses for his own play seemed to break rank. Additionally, Quenneville wasn't hesitant to give Marty Turco the hook in favor of Corey Crawford, who clearly was out performing Turco as early as Halloween. Quenneville also didn't blink at using all of the tools in his coaching arsenal, which included but weren't limited to benchings, verbal lacerations, and bag skates, though their timing and effectiveness are all certainly debatable. And Q did keep his team from panicking when down 3 games to none against the Canucks, rallying them to within an inch of pulling off what could have been arguably the biggest upset in sports history.

Negatives: Strap in. Quennville's personnel decisions and how he allotted playing time were justifiably under scrutiny from the word go this past year. He leaned on on his horses too much too early, trotting Keith out there for 30+ minutes a night on the regular while chasing points. We were subjected Nick Boynton far too frequently while a then able-bodied Jordan Hendry sat for reasons still unclear. Viktor Stalberg and Jack Skille were on about as short of a leash imaginable, despite the fact that they brought speed to the bottom six. Nick Leddy and Duncan Keith kept getting thrown out there together even though there was seemingly a breakaway against that pairing nightly. And then there's John Scott. While it remains unclear just how much influence Quenneville had in Scott's signing here, we do know the circumstantial evidence is not in his favor, having already lived through the Matt Walker experience. And that Scott was continually taking a spot in the lineup only to skate 5 minutes a night, all within the first 30 minutes of a game and therefore exhausting the rest of the lineup doesn't reflect well on Quenneville in the least.

Defining Moment: "Quenneville Hospitalization Caused By Ulcer". We can sympathize, coach.

Outlook: Because of how hockey works where coaches are given the guillotine on the regular, it would not have been surprising in the least if Quenneville would have been fired at numerous points in the season (getting pantsed on home ice by Edmonton, either of the embarrassments in Calgary, or the back-to-back blown 3rd period leads to the toilet-bound Avs immediately come to mind). But given the fact that he was (rightfully) given fresh paper coming off a cup win, that card wasn't pulled. The short summer and roster re-tooling were certainty mitigating factors as well, but they won't be next season, the former being evidenced by the fact that this review is even being posted right now. If Quenneville gets points-chasey early once again, Mike Haviland has shown to be of taking the reins, and management now knows this and may not be as reluctant to act upon it.

Final Grade: D. I like Joel Quenneville's coaching mantra; that the best offense starts with coverage in your own zone, and he wants to play an uptempo game and dictate that to the opponent. But his insistence on keeping purported "physical presences" in the lineup to the detriment of that philosophy seems to be self-defeating. While some may claim he was dealt a shitty hand personnel-wise, he still ultimately decides who's in the press box and who isn't. And while injuries certainly didn't help things, his constant shuffling of line combinations created a lack of continuity that the players all but overtly said grows tiresome. Last year, the roster was so stacked that Quenneville was wise to get out his own way on a lot of occasions, and avoided many of his faults that had caused the Cup to previously elude him despite having fantastic teams. This year, the roster exposed every one of Q's downfalls and showed why a man with such success had been fired twice. If he can't regain that form next year, a third time could very well be forthcoming.