Quenneville on staying in Chicago, coaching move
Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville spoke with members of the media via teleconference Tuesday night.
On his desire to remain Blackhawks head coach:
“I think over the last few days there was some speculation about other things that were going on, about me being somewhere else. First and foremost, I’m excited about being here in Chicago. I love the opportunity, the organization and where we’re heading in the future. That’s something I want to put to bed at the outset.
“I love everything about our situation here in Chicago. I think organizationally we have a chance to win a championship every year. We left this season disappointed; I felt we underachieved and left something on the table. There’s probably a lot of blame to go around, and I feel I should be absorbing as much or more than anybody. But I wasn’t thinking about anything else; I have two years on my contract and I’m very happy here.”
On the decision to relieve Assistant Coach Mike Haviland of his duties:
“A couple of days after the end of the season, [Vice President/General Manager] Stan Bowman visited with me and we talked about a lot of things regarding the season and our team. One of the things we talked about was our coaching staff. I think he looked at it like there was some dysfunction to it.
“I took a look back at the situation and had my own reflection on the job I did. I know I can be better in certain areas, and at the same time I had an assessment that there was some dysfunction to our coaching staff and we needed some change. He gave me the opportunity for the first time since I’ve been here to look if I needed changes to our coaching staff. I felt a change was necessary going forward, and it’s not an easy decision.”
On the plan for the coaching staff moving forward:
“As far as who comes in, I have the options to bring in at least one guy, or even more than one.
“I have no timeline exactly. I’d like to get on the fast track, but there are a lot of teams who are still playing. I have some ideas of who would be the proper guy to move forward with. But to say I have that guy in my back pocket, we’re not at that place.”
On the division of responsibilities on the coaching staff:
“I’ve got a lot of respect for how challenging the requirements are to be a successful coach in our league, and I have a lot of respect for [Assistant Coach] Mike Kitchen. He’s been under a lot of scrutiny here throughout the year and the end of the season. There’s not a more respected man throughout hockey, from my viewpoint. He’s taken a lot of this brunt as well.
“I think there’s probably been a misconception on how he’s been viewed. Whether [a coach's assingment] is the PP or PK, I don’t want to have one guy saying, ‘you’re in charge of the PP,’ because if the PP goes bad, then that’s your fault and everyone is going to get all over you. If we have collective responsibilities, we’re all in it together.
“Kitch is getting blamed for our power play this year, but here are the facts: last year, our power play was fourth in the league, our penalty kill was 25th; Kitch had the power play. This year, I wanted to make changes going into the season; Havi was going to have the power play, and Kitch had the penalty kill. We made the change, we started and after 15 games our power play was 30th in the league, so we went back and Kitch got the power play back, Havi got the penalty kill. All of the sudden, it was like our entire team’s problem was Kitch, and it’s not about him: it’s about us making our power play better collectively. This isn’t about blaming Havi either; this is just the way it is, and part of that is part of the decision.”