Quenneville to go against former teammate, Tippett

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Quenneville to go against former teammate, Tippett

GLENDALE, Ariz.-- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and Phoenix coach Dave Tippett ran their respective team practices on Wednesday; two teams, directed by two of the best in the business.Watching them dictate practices and then pile up victories, its like the two were born to be coaches. And for the two longtime friends, their coaching integration basically began when they were players.Quenneville and Tippett have been tremendously successful as NHL coaches. And Tippett, who was teammates with Quenneville for six seasons in Hartford, said the groundwork was unexpectedly laid when they were with the Whalers.I remember, just before the game, four or five of us players would be in front of a chalkboard talking about how we were going to penalty kill that night, said Tippett, who has more than 400 victories and has led the Coyotes to three consecutive playoff appearances and their first division title in franchise history.A lot was left up to the players on how to go about things. We all came through an era where you figured out the game instead of someone presenting it to you.That explains a lot of the success for Tippett and Quenneville, who has two Stanley Cups one as an assistant coach and has won more games than any other active NHL coach. And it also explains the bond between those two and several other Whalers from that time span, who are also coaching: Kevin Dineen has the Florida Panthers in the playoffs this year.
Ulf Samuelsson, who was Tippetts assistant the past two seasons, is coaching the Swedish National Team.
John Anderson, former Atlanta Thrashers coach, is one of Tippetts assistants.
Not bad for one team.Quenneville and Tippett are very similar coaches: both intense, both will make changes to spark their teams and, well, both used to sport healthy mustaches. Tippett shaved his when he became coach of the Dallas Stars in the early 2000s.And both were as intense as players as they are now as coaches.He was one of the all-time most competitive guys I ever met, Quenneville said of Tippett. He was one of those guys who immediately fit in with the (Hartford) team and we valued how competitive he was. I cant talk to how intense he is as a coach, but nobody was more intense than him as a player.Tippett said Joel was a very smart player. He was one of those guys who used all the assets he had and maximized his talent. He wasnt the fastest skater, but he sure played the game smart.And the competition will be at the forefront during this series. The nice ties between the coaches will probably go something like this: Hey, good to see you. Family good? Good. Same here. Well, talk to you after the series is over.Thatll probably be along the lines of it, yep, Tippett said with a laugh.Quenneville agreed.I congratulated him (on getting into the playoffs), knowing he was one of five (possible opponents) at the time, Quenneville said, smiling.The friendship will always be there for the two. The chumminess takes a seat for now. The two coaches with a combined 1000-plus victories have more pressing matters.

Bears defensive problems vs. Cowboys not complicated (unfortunately)

Bears defensive problems vs. Cowboys not complicated (unfortunately)

That the Dallas Cowboys were able to put 447 yards, almost 200 of them running the football, and 31 points on the Bears was concerning in itself. The way much of it happened, however, was perhaps more concerning, even if not completely surprising.

And the issues were in more than one area.

The rushing yards, of which 140 were provided on 30 carries by rookie Ezekiel Elliott, were largely gained by simply pounding away on an undermanned Bears front seven. The Bears have allowed 10 runs of 10 yards or more; five of those came in Dallas.

The problem was an alarmingly simple one. Not scheme, not missed assignments.

“We were getting blocked and not getting off blocks well enough,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said on Wednesday. “But basically getting blocked most of the time, a guy or two every time was just getting blocked.”

The defense was without linchpin and nose tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle) as well as inside linebacker and co-captain Danny Trevathan. In Trevathan’s spot, rookie Nick Kwiatkoski started and played on 18 of Dallas’ snaps (26 percent).

He did OK,” Fangio said. “Again, he was part of those guys that got blocked some. Had some good plays, some not so good. The first play of the game that popped out of there for 21 yards, he was at the point of attack on that one. It was OK, hope for better, expect better moving forward.”

The Bears use something of a hybrid form of gap control, not strictly two-gap with linemen responsible for gaps on either side of the blocker in front of them, and not strictly one-gap, with a tighter responsibility but with expectations that the defender get more penetration and disruption.

The system is what one lineman described as “gap-and-a-half,” playing their assigned gap but also with responsibility to help out with one other assigned gap. They are not head-up on offensive linemen, being slightly shaded toward a gap a’la one-gap schemes most of the time.

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The Bears generally were unable to control either their assigned or their secondary gaps.

The issues were not confined to the run defense. The Bears’ pass rush was virtually non-existent (zero sacks, one hit on Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott) and yet it allowed Prescott to scramble free three times, converting first downs on all three.

“Our rush wasn’t good enough when they weren’t throwing it quick,” Fangio said, “and it was evident by the times [Prescott] scrambled. He scrambled three times for first downs and they hurt us.

“Our rush wasn’t good enough. There are a lot of passes that the rush won’t be a factor because it is coming out fast. But we have to get better coverage to make them hold the ball longer, too.”

Blackhawks get shut out in preseason opener by Chris Kunitz, Penguins

Blackhawks get shut out in preseason opener by Chris Kunitz, Penguins

Scott Darling stopped 33 of 35 shots but Chris Kunitz scored twice, including the game-winning power-play goal, as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Blackhawks 2-0 in the preseason opener at the United Center.

Tristan Jarry stopped all 30 shots he saw for the Penguins.

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The Blackhawks outshot the Penguins 13-3 in the first 20 minutes. But Darling’s quiet first period was followed by a very busy second, when he saw and stopped 23 shots.

The Penguins broke through 2:31 into the third period when Kunitz tipped Trevor Daley’s shot for a 1-0 lead. A few minutes later Kunitz batted home his own rebound for a 2-0 Penguins lead.