Joel Quenneville wasn't surprised by firing from Blackhawks

Scott King
NBC Sports Chicago

You could hear a pin drop at the Blackhawks practice facility, now Fifth Third Arena, on Nov. 6 of 2018 when Chicago announced they fired three-time Stanley Cup winning coach of the Hawks, Joel Quenneville. 

Quenneville, now head coach of the Florida Panthers (third in the Atlantic Division), will return to the United Center for the first time since the firing on Tuesday. He recently sat down with NBC Sports Chicago to talk about his time with and departure from the Hawks. 

The 61-year-old bench boss doesn't seem surprised by the timing of when he was let go by the Blackhawks based on the way coaches are being tossed around in today's NHL. Quenneville was relieved of coaching duties in Chicago following a five-game losing streak that gave the team a 6-6-3 record to start the 2018-19 season.

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"At the time surprised or not? Maybe not," Quenneville said. "But after what's going on this year [with the coaching firings across the NHL], I'm going to say not surprised at all. I think in our business, it happens. 

"We're seeing a number of coaches lose their jobs and then you see what happened in St. Louis [last season] and all of a sudden you got a team that was in the toughest spot in the league and they turned out to be a champion, so I think that could be how things [are] going now maybe moving forward, but hey, it happens. 

"Especially in our business knowing that's one of the negative things that can happen in our game. But we took some time away and we're happy where we're at now."

Quenneville, who went 452-249-96 with the Blackhawks, isn't dwelling too much on what he could have done differently.

"Coaching wise, I think you do everything the best you can to win," Quenneville said. "We had a tough year the year before, that start to the season, we had a decent start. The Calgary game (Nov. 3, 2018: 5-3 loss in Calgary) was the last game, I could look back and say I wish I could've done this, I wish I could've done that, kind of like what we do after every game here."

In the Calgary game, Quenneville drew criticism after failing to put a player in the penalty box after Duncan Keith drew a five-minute major that included a game misconduct. After a penalty expires, the fifth player must come from the penalty box per league rules. The Hawks were forced to skate with four players for almost two extra minutes.

"We're always looking, me or our staff, looking at things that I should've done differently, whether who we had on the ice at a certain time and sitting there, 'yeah I should've done this,'" Q said. "So we reflect like that. 

"And I think that second guessing ourselves is something you can learn over the course of a season but the gut and the spontaneousness of coaching is what we enjoy and sometimes you can always second guess yourself on that type of stuff."

Dale Tallon, now GM of the Panthers, was Quenneville's first GM in Chicago from the time he became the head coach - Oct. 16, 2008 - until July of 2009. Quenneville weighed in on his relationship with Tallon and Stan Bowman, still GM of the Hawks, who took over for Dale. 

"Dale's fine," Quenneville said. "We've been with Dale before. I think as long as you're well aware of what's going on with the team, where we're at, the game's different, there's a business side of it, there's a hockey side of it. 

"And Stan [Bowman], we had a good relationship. It was fine. We were respectful for each other's jobs and roles and how we did our things, and that's kind of the way it was or is. 

"I probably see Dale more. We're always talking hockey and you're talking about this or that so that's just the way it is. I'm respectful for their position and the jobs they're doing and what they've done."

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Joel Quenneville wasn't surprised by firing from Blackhawks originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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