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Joel Quenneville demonstrating poor judgement with handling of Antoine Vermette

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Joel Quenneville continues his string of questionable decisions, but setting the Blackhawks up to be without Antoine Vermette in their lineup in the series opener against Nashville.

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Whether it's initially refusing to play Teuvo Teravainen, playing Daniel Carcillo over him, or trotting Andrew Shaw out on the ice as a center, among a multitude of other things, we've seen some incredibly poor judgement demonstrated this season by Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville.

Of course, the defense of Quenneville falls right in line with the TWO CUPS crowd, that will simply point to his number of career wins as a head coach, as well as the two Stanley Cups he's won since taking over behind the bench for the Hawks, as a rationale for defending him regardless of his lineup decisions. Yet, Quenneville's judgement as the season wears on has become indefensible, and he continues to demonstrate that as we stand on the eve of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With the Blackhawks set to get underway in their first series of this NHL playoff season, Quenneville iced lines at practice that featured the following:

Brandon Saad Jonathan Toews Marian Hossa
Kris Versteeg Brad Richards Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell Andrew Shaw Patrick Sharp
Joakim Nordstrom Marcus Kruger Teuvo Teravainen

Obviously the Patrick Kane element of this is exciting, but that doesn't excuse the glaring omission from the lineup. Quenneville has made it quite clear that, at least for Game 1 against the Predators, Antoine Vermette will not be a part of the lineup. Which means that the likes of Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom, neither of which bring the potential upside that Vermette brings to the mix, will be logging time over him.

Yes, the same Vermette that the Hawks traded a top defensive prospect (that they apparently could find no use for on a shoddy blue line) and a first round pick to acquire is riding the pine for the series opener on Wednesday. The same Vermette that Quenneville has rolled out as a winger despite the fact that he was acquired to serve a key role as a pivot, and has completely underutilized, especially as a penalty killer.

Now, Vermette's performance with the Blackhawks hasn't been tremendous. Statistically, he hasn't brought much to the table. But his skill set makes him a potentially important contributor and is now being reduced to a 13th forward by TWO CUPS Quenneville. One of the best faceoff men in the league and a player capable of serving in all situations, including both special teams, is set to spend time in the press box. This is happening while Andrew Shaw continues to inexplicably log time as a center, a position which he has continued to demonstrate he has no purpose serving as.

To an extent, it makes sense to try and get Versteeg's game revitalized on a line with Patrick Kane. That's acceptable, given that he and Brad Richards played their best hockey this year with no. 88 to their right. However, Nordstrom over Vermette? Nordstrom, who is the ultimate symbolic form of "that guy" and brings very little to the table in terms of his skill set? It's a mystery how people can continue to not question Joel Quenneville at this point.

Conventional wisdom would probably feature four lines that look like this:

Brandon Saad Jonathan Toews Marian Hossa
Kris Versteeg Brad Richards Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell Antoine Vermette Patrick Sharp
Andrew Shaw Marcus Kruger Teuvo Teravainen

In that case, you're rolling four legitimate centers and putting Andrew Shaw in the place where he is best suited to utilize his skill set. Putting him in the middle of that third line is begging for disappointment. Of course, Quenneville continues to prove that he's anything but a conventional guy.

This almost certainly isn't the last of Q's moves that will send the Blackhawks' fanbase into a frenzy, as he's done it throughout the year. While Vermette hasn't been the raging success that many hoped he would be, the upside he brings and the skill set he brings, makes him too valuable to sit out, especially over someone like Nordstrom, who is an unspectacular fourth line forward. Especially when you can be rolling four lines that are as complete as any in the league.

But hey, TWO CUPS.

Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.