Joel Quenneville doesn’t want to be here. As he takes off his coat and has a seat at the restaurant in the team hotel in Calgary for a rare one-on-one interview with the Sun-Times, Quenneville cracks that this is “like going to the dentist.” The Blackhawks coach frequently says that nobody likes winning more than he does. Well, nobody likes talking about himself less than he does. We’re here ostensibly to talk about his pursuit — if you can call it that; he doesn’t — of Scotty Bowman’s all-time wins record. But Quenneville quickly brushes that off as laughable. “Scotty’s so far away,” Quenneville says with a dismissive wave of his right hand. The math says otherwise. Quenneville, second all-time with 869 regular-season wins, trails Bowman by 375. At the remarkable rate he has won in his 21 seasons as a head coach, it would take Quenne-ville about eight more seasons to pass Bowman. Quenneville would be 67 at the time. Bowman retired at 69. And Quenneville has the advantage of three-on-three overtimes and shootouts, while Bowman coached in 314 tie games. But that’s just it. The rate at which Quenneville has won — more than 45 times per season — is getting more and more difficult to maintain in a league that’s getting deeper and deeper. And the Hawks aren’t going to be anywhere close to that number this season. In fact, they’re in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since Quenneville took over four games into the 2008-09 season. This, after two straight first-round playoff exits, including last spring’s four-game debacle against Nashville. Which brings up a more pressing, more uncomfortable question.
Joel Quenneville not sweating short-term job security, long-term legacy
Chicago Sun-Times | Jan 3