Giving Q his due: Four incredible facts from Joel Quenneville’s Blackhawks run
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Joel Quenneville’s storied tenure with the Blackhawks ended with a firing Tuesday following the team’s lackluster start this season. The coach survived back-to-back first-round playoff exits and a last-place finish in the previous three seasons, but couldn’t get through a brutal autumn road trip.
Current and former Hawks were effusive in their praise of Quenneville after the news broke. GM Stan Bowman defended the decision by focusing on his excitement around Jeremy Colliton, the 33-year-old former AHL coach who’s stepped up into the vacancy.
But no matter whom you’re talking to, the accomplishments and performance of Quenneville over the past decade are beyond reproach. During his lengthy run as the head man in Chicago, the Blackhawks took their final steps into hockey royalty.
In honor of that remarkable decade in Chicago, one that turned him into a local “icon,” according to Patrick Kane, here’s a look at four incredible facts and stats that back up Quenneville’s greatness.
49 NHL head coaches have debuted since the year he was hired
While the Blackhawks found unmatched stability with Quenneville behind the bench, the other 30 franchises were shuffling their coaching staffs constantly. Some guys – Barry Trotz, John Tortorella and Peter Laviolette – have been around nearly as long as Quenneville, but like the Hawks did with Colliton, teams have regularly turned to fresh faces.
Forty-nine men have made their NHL coaching debuts since 2009, when Quenneville was hired in Chicago, according to Hockey-Reference. It’ll be 50 once Colliton coaches his first game Thursday night.
It’s the fourth time he’s been part of a midseason coaching change
If anyone should know what it’s like to be part of a midseason coaching shuffle in the NHL, it’s Quenneville. This is the fourth time in his head coaching career that he’s been part of a change on the bench by his bosses.
- 1996: Quenneville got his first gig as a head coach with the Blues after the team fired Mike Keenan 42 games into the season
- 2004: The Blues fired Quenneville after a 29-23-7 start and replaced him with future Hawks assistant Mike Kitchen
- 2008: Quenneville became the Blackhawks’ head coach after the team fired Denis Savard just four games into the season
- 2018: Quenneville lasted just 15 games into the season before being replaced by Colliton
He’s the best playoff coach in Hawks history
No matter how you slice it, nobody in Blackhawks history comes close to what Quenneville accomplished in the postseason. He’s the franchise leader in playoff games (128) and playoff wins (76), and the only Hawks coach to ever win multiple Stanley Cups. Despite being around for just 10 seasons in their 91-year history, or roughly 11 percent of it, Quenneville has coached 24 percent of their playoff games and 29 percent of their playoff victories.
He’s the best regular season coach in Hawks history, too
Despite earning exactly 1,000 points in Chicago, Quenneville couldn’t reach the franchise record for all-time coaching wins, which is still owned by Billy Reay with 516. However, in terms of winning points in the standings, nobody has been better than Quenneville, whose teams won 62.7 percent of all possible points. No other coach in Blackhawks history has topped 59 percent. He’s also the only coach in club history to win 50 games in a single season – a feat he accomplished twice.