And then Bowman fired Quenneville for not winning with that kind of bad offseason added to a wonky roster that apparently has banned scoring from the bottom-six forwards Bowman has provided.
Looks like a rigged election, eh?
The view here is Bowman doesn’t do his job as well as Quenneville did his, but the rule is, the GM might not always be right, but he’ll always be the GM.
And so, the end for the three-time Stanley Cup-champion coach was announced Tuesday morning in the wake of a five-game losing streak in which the Hawks had been outplayed and outscored after 40 minutes in each of those games.
All the people above the coach — the owner, the president and the GM — offered the usual quotes about what a shame it was, sorry it came to this, thanks for all he has done, blah, blah, blah.
Speaking of blah, blah, and blah, here are goalie Cam Ward, defenseman Brandon Manning and forward Chris Kunitz, the trio that comprises Bowman’s lame response to the Hawks missing the postseason for the first time in 10 years.
Go ahead and win. Dare ya. Quenneville didn’t. Bowman’s father, Scotty, Hockey Yoda, the winningest coach of all time, wouldn’t have won either. Jeremy Colliton likely won’t, but I’d guess he really doesn’t have to.
Colliton, Quenneville’s replacement, has experience coaching Hawks prospects in Rockford. This looks like a rebuild. This looks like a step toward giving younger players all the ice time they can eat. The Hawks are not reloading. The only repeat appears to be missing the playoffs.
Going from a veteran coach such as Quenneville, the second-winningest coach of all time, to a 33-year old coach who was 12 games into his second year behind the bench for the Hawks’ top minor-league team tells you the Hawks want to start over. Tells me that, anyway.
The Hawks wouldn’t say it out loud. They claim they’re serious about this season. They also will have Colliton assisted by Barry Smith, a member of the Hawks’ hockey operations staff and a longtime assistant coach for Scotty Bowman who rankled Quenneville by his presence several years ago, underscoring what many believed was an uneasy alliance between Quenneville and Stan Bowman.
If so, then Bowman won. This move says so. This move also protects Bowman’s draft choices. This move also makes me think there will be several other moves — or at least attempted moves — that will back it up, just as soon as they can convince some of the big-money veteran players to waive their no-movement clauses.
Those players who can’t be traded without waiving their rights to say no are just who’d you’d think — the stars who won all those Cups under Quenneville. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews might seem untouchable to a franchise that is a brand as much as a hockey team, but if Wayne Gretzky could get traded in this league, then just make the Hawks an offer.
Yeah, Quenneville had his faults. Every coach does. Quenneville had issues with certain gifted players for reasons that might not ever be known. Quenneville also could be a prisoner of loyalty to older players who couldn’t make the plays Quenneville remembered them making regularly.
But he won. He won three Cups. He won because he was the best bench coach in the league and still ranks up there. I hope Quenneville gets another chance. I expect him to. I’d say good luck to him, but he doesn’t need it. His former team certainly does.