Though the Chicago Blackhawks remain, for many fans across the National Hockey League, a true Cup contender (we even spoke of the team as a modern dynasty), the club has failed to get past the first round of the postseason and could be missing out on the playoffs altogether this time around.
With the current issues, there has been speculation that head coach Joel Quenneville could be on the hot seat. The famous coach is only three games away from posting his 750th game as the head coach of the Hawks. He’s coached 128 playoff games with the franchise. He’s won 435 regular-season games, 76 playoff games and the Stanley Cup three times in his tenure in Chicago.
But some chatter has hinted that maybe Chicago could put an end to those numbers and move on from their head coach.
Added to the rumors is the recent history between GM Stan Bowman and Quenneville, who was reportedly very upset over the summer when assistant coach Mike Kitchen was fired, and how Niklas Hjalmarsson was traded off.
Quenneville is currently signed with the Blackhawks through the 2019-20 season on a deal that pays roughly $6 million per year, one of the highest salaries for any NHL coach.
The pressure is however increasing in Chicago amid a disappointing season as the Hawks sit last in their division and seven points out of the last Wild Card spot in the West.
But NHL insider Elliotte Friedman wanted to clear the air, for Quenneville, in his recent 31 Thoughts on Sportsnet:
"I’m amazed at the rumours out of Chicago that Joel Quenneville could be in trouble. If he wants a change, that’s one thing. But getting fired? Really? Quenneville would be unemployed as long as he wanted to be unemployed. And someone could very well drop a Babcock-style contract on him."
Bowman and the Hawks would certainly face a huge problem with firing Quenneville seeing his tremendous abilities as a coach, and his impressive track record. He’s clearly one of the best coaches in the NHL, as Friedman pointed out, and would get scooped up by another team as soon as he’s interested.
What do you think Hawks fans? Is Quenneville on the hot seat? Should the Hawks even consider this option?