With an average of two games per team left remaining to the regular season, we do not want to jinx anybody. But you have to admit that it is quite something to see that no NHL coaches were fired this season. TSN's Frank Seravalli said it best: "Coaching job security has typically been an oxymoron, particularly in the NHL, where more than a third of the league (11 teams) changed coaches in the 2017 calendar year."
It is the first time since the 2008-09 campaign that not a single NHL head coach lost their job during a season. Back then, eight coaches had lost their jobs, and in the last two seasons, three coaches were dismissed. Seravalli believes there is a change of philosophy across the NHL:
"I believe a lot of teams have shown significant patience this year when it comes to their head coaches. Look at the Winnipeg Jets and Paul Maurice: the Winnipeg fans calling for Maurice's head last year and now, all of sudden, he could be a Jack Adams Award candidate this year. Like the Philadelphia Flyers, Ron Hextall very loudly said Dave Hakstol is going to remain our coach in November, fans were calling for his head, chanting 'Fire Hakstol' at Flyers' games during a 10-game winless skid. They now have been in a playoff position for two months, and I think a lot of coaches that's music to their ears."
However, Seravalli notes that things will be different in the offseason.
"We may be looming to the version of a hockey’s version of Black Monday on April 9, and I think that one name that a lot of teams are curious about what are the Chicago Blackhawks and Joel Quenneville do? Do they decide to shake hands after thus dynastic run and three Stanley Cups and move on? If so, Joel Quenneville would be unemployed for approximately 34 seconds, and then from the market would be a trickle down effect."
On Thursday, it was finally revealed what the Blackhawks will do with their veteran head coach: he is not going anywhere. It was revealed by the team president that both he and general manager Stan Bowman were staying on board, as reported by Mark Lazarus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
"Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman WILL return to the Blackhawks next season, team president John McDonough says."
This is great news for Chicago and Quenneville, who is loved as a head coach around the National Hockey League. In a recent player survey, when asked “Which coach would you most like to play for?”, Quenneville earned the most votes of any NHL head coach at 16.5%.
For all the criticism he’s received this season, it’s still clear to see why Quenneville is such a popular choice amongst NHL players. The veteran coach has a championship pedigree with three Stanley Cup championships and ranks behind only the legendary Scott Bowman in regular season wins. Let’s be real: Coach Q is a living legend.
And he is in Chicago to stay!