The biggest lie I’ve ever told myself was “now that I work in media, I am no longer a fan.” For the most part, it’s an entirely true statement. That was until Stan Bowman took a sledgehammer to the Chicago Blackhawks today by firing Head Coach Joel Quenneville.
For those of you that aren’t in the know, Quenneville oversaw not one, not two, but THREE Stanley Cup winning teams. He is the second winningest coach in Blackhawks history, but more importantly is the second-winningest coach in NHL history with an all-time record of 890-532-214. His replacement? Jeremy Colliton, a second year AHL coach that is a year younger than star defenseman Duncan Keith.
The Blackhawks media relations department issued a statement today by Owner Rocky Wirtz saying “"The Chicago Blackhawks front office has made a decision to release Joel Quenneville from his head coaching duties, doing so with my full support. As Chicago Blackhawks fans have seen over the last decade, this organization no longer shies away from making tough decisions or ones based on emotion. Those days are long behind us. Of course, Joel's was difficult, as it should have been. During his tenure as head coach to the Chicago Blackhawks, Joel brought the city of Chicago and our fans three Stanley Cups and an incredible era of hockey.” You’re damn right he brought the city three cups Rocky. This man oversaw the maturation of guys like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, both who will eventually see their numbers hanging in the rafters of the United Center. In his ten years with the Hawks, they missed the playoffs once; last season. This year they’re off to a rough 6-6-3 start and apparently the solution is to get rid of a Chicago legend.
In professional sports, we as consumers a lot of times have to take a step back, take deep breaths and remember that everything is done for the sake of business. The reason I walked into work irate this morning, is because the problem was never Quenneville; it’s Stan Bowman. The Blackhawks have made horrendous front office decisions that have led to their recent depression. Bowman saw the departure of Niklas Hjalmarsson, Artemi Panarin, Tyler Motte, Vinnie Hinotroza and a plethora of defensemen that never lived up to their potential of filling holes on the blue line. Stan Bowman and President John McDonough fired Quenneville to shake things up and hopefully save their jobs. For the Hawks, it only gets worse from here. Expect a rebuild, because the top defensemen in Keith and Brent Seabrook are getting old, and Toews and Kane deserve to be somewhere better. After the third cup was won in 2015, Commissioner Gary Bettman proclaimed that Chicago had a dynasty, three years later…I’m here to tell you that it is officially over.