Former Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said his firing in November after 15 games is ‘‘part of the business’’ and chose to cherish the good memories of his 10-year run rather than harp on the bitterness of his sudden departure.
‘‘In our business, there’s not too many surprises anymore,’’ Quenneville said in an interview with WGN-TV’s Dan Roan in his first public comments since being fired by general manager Stan Bowman after the Hawks’ 6-6-3 start this season. ‘‘I was privileged to be in Chicago for 10 years. It’s part of the business. I understand all that.’’
The Hawks, of course, won three Stanley Cups under Quenneville — in 2010, 2013 and 2015. They were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in 2016 and 2017 and failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons last year.
After a 6-2-2 start this season, the Hawks lost five consecutive games (0-4-1) and Quenneville was replaced by Rockford coach Jeremy Colliton.
‘‘I know when I exited other places [St. Louis and Colorado], the bitterness, the animosity was at a different level. Here, the memories were so special and so good and the people were so special to me and my family that it was tough.’’
Quenneville said he regretted the sudden dismissal didn’t give him the chance to thank Hawks fans publicly for their support.
‘‘But I’ve got nothing but appreciation and admire all they’ve done [to support] our team and our experience in Chicago,’’ he said.
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Quenneville figures to coach again and likely would be the top candidate for any vacant NHL job — and maybe even some non-vacant ones. He said he ‘‘is in no hurry’’ to get another job but admitted the eagerness is growing the more he is out of the game.
‘‘We’ll see how things transpire in the offseason,’’ he said.
As for the Hawks?
‘‘I try not to watch as much Blackhawks as I used to, but I watch most of the games,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘It’s been a great race, and it’s going to be fun to see how it all plays out.’’
Perlini is a star
Red-hot wing Brendan Perlini, who scored five goals and had seven points in victories against the Coyotes, Maple Leafs and Canadiens, was named the NHL’s No. 2 star for last week.
Perlini has scored eight goals in his last seven games. He had scored three in his first 29 games with the Hawks after being acquired from the Coyotes with center Dylan Strome for center Nick Schmaltz on Nov. 25.
The Hawks honored Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Thome with a ceremonial puck drop before the game.
Thome, who played for the White Sox in 2006-09, received a huge round of applause from the home crowd during the pregame ceremony and again when he was featured on the videoboard during the first period.
The Hawks also held a pregame moment of silence for Thome’s dad, Chuck, who died Saturday at 83.