While the Chicago Blackhawks headlines have been dominated by players leaving via trade or getting signed to offer sheets, the job that head coach Joel Quenneville has to do continues to get tougher having to coach a group of essentially new players and defend the Stanley Cup. After former assistant John Torchetti left Chicago to join the Atlanta coaching staff (he should be pretty familiar with half the team there at least) the job got a lot harder but help is on the way as Chris Kuc from the Chicago Tribune tells us.
The Blackhawks said Monday they have hired Mike Kitchen as assistant coach to replace the departed John Torchetti on head coach Joel Quenneville’s staff.
Kitchen is a former head coach of the St. Louis Blues after taking over for Quenneville in 2004 and had been an assistant for the Florida Panthers the last three seasons.
The Hawks also have re-signed assistant coach Mike Haviland to remain with the team.
Retaining one of your own and bringing in a veteran guy helps to ease the pressure that will be on Joel Quenneville for sure. Kitchen’s past as an NHL assistant is a pretty storied one. Aside from his work as Blues head man and assistant coach and as a Panthers assistant, he was a Maple Leafs assistant coach for eight seasons in the 1990s.
For Quenneville, getting this new set of players to blend together well will be the biggest test, especially when filling out ranks will be one of the biggest questions facing the Blackhawks throughout the summer and into the start of the new season.