The video montage rolled prior to the not-so-surprising announcement, a sort of “Best of Joel Quenneville” gathering of clips.
Now with another extension for their head coach, the Chicago Blackhawks hope he adds to those clips and, especially, that Stanley Cup total.
Quenneville’s anticipated extension became official on Friday afternoon, as general manager Stan Bowman announced the team signed Quenneville to a three-year extension. The new deal kicks in for 2014-15. Quenneville’s current deal, which he signed a few months after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, expires after the 2013-14 season.
For Quenneville, staying here is an easy decision. He and his family have made the Chicago area their home. Obviously, though, it goes beyond that. Quenneville enjoys coaching this team, the one he’s now won two Cups with over the past four seasons. And with most of the cast returning from this year’s Cup victory, that just sweetens the pot that much more.
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“They’re a thrill to coach; they make it rewarding,” Quenneville said about the Blackhawks players, who lined the wall during the contract announcement. “They get you excited about going to the rink. I’m privileged to coach best team in the league, as far as the character, quality and leadership. We have all the intangibles that make a team successful, and I get to work with them on a daily basis.”
Duncan Keith said players appreciate Quenneville being secured for the next few seasons.
“We always know what we’re getting from him,” Keith said. “I’ve learned a lot from him over the years. One thing you appreciate about him is he’s even keel. He’s been through everything and he’s so professional with everything. He makes it enjoyable coming to the rink.”
It seems ridiculous that Quenneville was mentioned in hot-seat terms before this season began. The Blackhawks suffered two first-round losses in between these Cup seasons, tough finishes for a team with very high expectations after the 2010 triumph. But Quenneville deserves credit for getting those two clubs into the postseason. The core was there, but not much else familiar was. It took until this season for familiarity and chemistry to be noticeably back in the Blackhawks’ locker room, and they thrived off it. And Joel’s penchant for making the right moves at the right time complimented that.
“He’s got a great track record,” Patrick Sharp said. “It’s good to see a lot of guys returning, but to have the coaching staff back is great. Winning two championships in four years, it’s a good group to be a part of. There’s no reason to make a drastic change. Joel deserves the extension.”
The Blackhawks have their pieces in place for next season, right down to their head coach being secured for a few more. There’s still the matter of a goaltending coach – Quenneville said that hiring process is “a work in progress – but the Blackhawks are ready in every other respect.
And Quenneville will make sure the Blackhawks are ready come this fall – and beyond.
“Sometimes you don’t play your best and you’re not going to win every game, but we know the next day is a new day with him,” Keith said. “That’s what makes it enjoyable to play for him.”