Keith Tkachuk doesnt get a chance to see coach Joel Quenneville as much as hed like, but he still remembers their days together in St. Louis.
Hes still my favorite coach ever, said Tkachuk, who was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night. He was just a great coach to play for, very down to earth.
As Tkachuk reflected on his career and the state of U.S. hockey, he also had some kind words for his former coach. Quenneville coached the Blues from 1996-2004, with Tkachuk playing there from 2000-07 and again from 2007-10. Tkachuk said it was tough to see Quenneville get fired when it happened.
He did a lot of great things in St. Louis, Tkachuk said. You ask any player whos played for him; they love playing for him. He loves to coach. Hes not over-demanding about practices but when its time to do you work you better do it.
Quenneville said Sunday night that Tkachuk was a pleasure to coach.
Walt was an amazing player, he said. Ive never been around a guy who went through a defense or holes like he did. He was a big part of our success in St. Louis.
Tkachuks allegiance is obviously still with the Blues; he retired with them in April of 2010 and he and his family still live near the city. He loves that the Blackhawks-Blues rivalry is still strong and likely to get an even bigger boost from realignment.
Youll see those two fighting it out at the end for the division title, no question about it, Tkachuk said. Theyre two great young teams and obviously theres always been that bitter taste with not just hockey but in all the sports between St. Louis and Chicago. Im looking forward to that next game they play.