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Kevin Dineen joins Blackhawks staff for Whalers reunion, Cup chance

Canada head coach Kevin Dineen celebrates with players after Canada beat Switzerland 3-1 in a 2014 Winter Olympics women's semifinal ice hockey game at Shayba Arena, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Sochi, Russia
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Canada head coach Kevin Dineen celebrates with players after Canada beat Switzerland 3-1 in a 2014 Winter Olympics women's semifinal ice hockey game at Shayba Arena, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

If Kevin Dineen’s post-playing career has had anything, it’s unpredictability.

He coached the AHL Portland Pirates from 2005-2011, through two NHL team affiliations (Anaheim Ducks and Buffalo Sabres). His first season as head coach of the Florida Panthers saw them make the playoffs for the first time since 1924*, before he was fired just over a season later. His next gig? Head coach of the Canadian women’s Olympic team, a Tom-Hanks-in-“A League of Their Own” experience that saw them win a fourth straight gold medal in a miraculous comeback victory over the U.S. 

He could have parlayed that into another head coaching job. Instead, Dineen is back in the NHL as an assistant … to an old friend.

Dineen was announced as the Chicago Blackhawks’ new assistant coach on Monday, replacing Jamie Kompon, who left to take over the WHL Portland Winterhawks. He’ll work under Joel Quenneville, who was his teammate with the Hartford Whalers from 1984-90.

"I am thrilled to join Joel Quenneville, a future hall of fame coach, and Mike Kitchen, as we strive to reach the ultimate goal in professional hockey," said Dineen, via the Blackhawks. "After spending time speaking with John McDonough, Stan Bowman and Al MacIsaac it is easy to understand why the Chicago Blackhawks are considered one of the top franchises in all of professional sports. Starting with Rocky Wirtz and continuing through the rest of the organization, the measure of success is very high in Chicago. I look forward to supporting the coaching staff and working with some of the best players in the National Hockey League."

Obviously, his friendship with Quenneville is the major selling point here; as the saying goes, Ducks fly together, and Whales float together slowly through the ocean, collecting plankton in their teeth.

But Dineen doesn’t have a Cup ring. The Chicago Blackhawks are one of those teams that can remedy that. And he apparently chose them over the Boston Bruins; which, again, might have more to do with previous relationships than anything else.  

(*Rough estimate)

 

 

 

 

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