Story ends for Coach Q but legacy of success remains


NHL photo Former Hawks coach Joel Quenneville

By Ryan Wolch, Staff Writer

On Tuesday November 6th, the Chicago Blackhawks fired 3-time Stanley Cup Winning coach Joel Quenneville after 10 seasons with the team. Quenneville or Coach Q as he is called was hired in 2008 and did everything he could to turn around the Chicago Blackhawks who were doing very badly at the time.

It all paid off in 2010, when Coach Q led the Blackhawks to a 52-22-8 win season and a total of 112 points which put them first in the central division. In the Stanley Cup Finals, the Chicago Blackhawks went up against the Philadelphia Flyers. This series went to game six and in overtime Patrick Kane shot the puck and it somehow went into the back of the net and it took a while to realize where the puck was. The Blackhawks that year won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 49 years – that was in 1961.

With the rise of players like Johnathan Toews and Patrick Kane as well as defensive players like Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook the future of the Chicago Blackhawks looked bright and it was.

The NHL had a lockout during the 2012-2013 season and when hockey finally resumed they played as many games as possible. The Chicago Blackhawks played 48 games and finished with a record of 36-7-5 and ended up with 77 points and 1st in the Central Division.

That season Chicago went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals where they went up against the Boston Bruins and if you think that the Blackhawks couldn’t win in crazy fashion again, well you were wrong.

Coach Q brought his team back from down 2-1 in the series and brought them back to up 3-2 in the series and in game 6 the Chicago Blackhawks were down by 1 goal with under two minutes remaining in the game and had the Blackhawks would have lost that game it would be game 7 in Chicago. But with 1 minute and 16 seconds left into the game Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell scored the game tying goal to tie up the game at 2-2 and Chicago was going crazy that they tied the game late but that was not all. Seventeen seconds later, Chicago had the puck in their offensive zone and Blackhawks player Dave Bolland shot and scored a goal to bring the Blackhawks up 3-2 with less than 1 minute left in the game. Fifty-nine seconds later, the Chicago Blackhawks were the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions and Coach Q had a huge part in this comeback. He always kept the players focused and just basically coached them back into tying and winning this game.

Joel Quenneville at this point was the best coach in Chicago and possibly the best coach in all sports to turn the Chicago Blackhawks around in 2008 to winning the Stanley Cup in 2010 and winning it again in 2013.

But the fun did not stop there, in 2014 the Chicago Blackhawks went 46-21-15 in the regular season but the craziest part was their home record that season which was 27-7-7. A lot of that had to do with the coach because the coach keeps the players focused to what is on hand which is winning each game.

Unfortunately, the Chicago Blackhawks did not reach the Stanley Cup Finals as they lost in overtime in game 7 against the soon to be Stanley Cup Champions Los Angeles Kings.

The 2014-2015 season was a very good season for Coach Q and the Chicago Blackhawks as they went 48-28-6 with 102 points. But the Blackhawks finished third in the Central Division and went up against the Nashville Predators in the first round. This was a very tough series for the Blackhawks as Nashville looked and played very strong in the beginning of the series but in the end the Blackhawks won the series 4-2.

The second round was the easiest as the Blackhawks swept the Minnesota Wild 4-0 and then it was time for the Western Conference Championship and they played against the Anaheim Ducks which was the hardest series for the Blackhawks that playoffs. As the Anaheim Ducks took game 1, then the Hawks came back and won game two.

This went back and forth till game 6 where Anaheim was up 3-2 and if the Hawks lost then they would have been eliminated. But the Blackhawks came through and in game 6 they won 5-2 to force a game 7 in Anaheim. In that game the Blackhawks came out strong and won the game 5-3 to clinch their ticket in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This final series went all the way to game 6 with Chicago up 3-2 and the Blackhawks could do what they had not yet — win the Stanley Cup on home ice at the United Center. June 15th 2015 it was time for Game 7 and the Blackhawks did what they needed to and they won the game 2-0 and Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford had a shutout and saved 25 shots.

The Chicago Blackhawks had not won the Stanley Cup on home ice in 77 years and that finally ended in 2015.

Things just went down from that point for Coach Q and the Chicago Blackhawks, in the 2015-2016 season even though the Blackhawks had a record of 47-26-9 and 103 points and they were third in the Central Division. When it came time for the playoffs the Blackhawks lost in the first round 4-3 in game 7 to the St. Louis Blues and it turned the magical season to a disappointing season.

The 2016-2017 season for the Blackhawks regular season was better when they went 50-23-9 and they were first in the Central Division. Everything was looking up for the Chicago Blackhawks but when it was playoff time everything just shut down. The Chicago Blackhawks got swept 4-0 by the Nashville Predators.

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford let in 12 goals in the series and saved 111 shots which was a .902 save percentage. While Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne only let 3 goals in and saved 123 shots for a .976 save percentage.

Then the 2017-2018 season for the Chicago Blackhawks was disappointing to say the least, they started out the season strong with a 10-1 win over the then defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. But then things went downhill, in December Blackhawks starting goalie Corey Crawford went down with a injury what they described as an upper body injury and that kept him out for 9 months which included the rest of the season.

The Blackhawks had 4 goalies the rest of the season but on March 29th after two Blackhawks goalies got hurt they brought in an emergency goalie. His name was Scott Foster and he was an accountant in Chicago.

The former college goalie played the last 14 minutes of the game and did not allow a goal as he saved 7 shots out of 7 attempts including a shot from former Blackhawks defensemen Dustin Byfuglien. This gave him the honorably first star of the game and the name Scott Foster was known throughout Chicago and the NHL world.

The Blackhawks finished the season 33-39-0-10 which excluded them from the playoffs ending such a disappointing season. But 2018 rolled in and the Chicago Blackhawks got off to a great start. In the first 10 games of the season the Blackhawks went 6-2-2 and everyone thought the Blackhawks were back. But then things started to crumble and over the next 5 games the Hawks went 0-5-1 bringing their record to 6-7-3.

On November 6th 2018, the Chicago Blackhawks announced that they fired Coach Joel Quenneville and taking his place would be their minor league affiliate Rockford Icehogs head coach Jeremy Colliton.

Coach Q ended his career with Chicago in second place of most wins with the team with 452 wins. His record in the 10 years he coached the Blackhawks was 452-249-96 with three Stanley Cup Championships.

His replacement Colliton coached the Rockford Icehogs and led them to the AHL Western Conference Championship where they lost. Players said that the best thing about Colliton is that he has great communication with his players which is important. Only time will tell what this move means to the Blackhawks,  as of Wednesday, Nov. 21, the team is 8-8-5.