This year, the Chicago Blackhawks failed to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in nine seasons. The perennial Cup contenders ended the season with just 76 points. Clearly they felt the pinch of losing star players like Marian Hossa and Artemi Panarin, but the loss of goaltender Corey Crawford, out most of the season with post concussion symptoms, was perhaps the hardest blow.
And so, chatter began being heard and right after the end of the regular calendar, many fans expected head coach Joel Quenneville to get the boot and for the Hawks to start anew behind the bench. In the end, team president John McDonough gave his vote of confidence to Quenneville and general manager Stan Bowman.
And now, while Quenneville acknowledges some uncertainty about his future as coach of the Blackhawks, he maintains that he is not listening to what fans are saying about his job security.
"As a coach, [getting fired] can happen at any moment. That's all part of our business. It's the way it goes," Quenneville said at the annual Blackhawks Convention, as reported by NHL.com. "We're in the winning business, and as a coach, that's the only way we think, is winning the next game. The other stuff, we can't control. We're fighting to get two points, getting the guys ready to play and playing right. That's our job, and I can't think of the other things."
Quenneville cannot think about the fact that the Hawks are failing to lure free agents to Chicago, as Bowman needs to look at the trade market more often to fill roster holes. Of course, Bowman and some devoted fans will argue the opposite, pointing out that the the Hawks added Chris Kunitz, Brandon Manning and Cam Ward via free agency.
Once again, it seems like Bowman is ignoring what fans have to say...
"We can't control what other people are thinking or saying. We just have to stay focused on how we try to improve our team," Bowman said. "We all want to do well and this is why we do this. We're part of the Blackhawks because we want to win. Everybody, from the front office to coaches to players, there's no other thing we want other than to be successful. The expectations are there, and understandably so.
"But it's not something you sit and talk about or fixate on. Because at the end of the day, when you perform well, that other stuff all takes care of itself."
Let's hope it does...