I’ve long been a proponent (but also a naysayer) when it comes to the psychological impact of a contract year on an athlete, but let’s not forget that coaches and general managers aren’t immune to that either. When it comes to bargaining power, you cannot get much better than winning a Stanley Cup.
Joel Quenneville clearly got that memo. TSN reports that the Blackhawks are primed to announce Coach Q’s contract extension and Mike Brophy reports that Chicago will wrap him up for the next three years.
This follows the trend of the club rewarding front office people for the Cup run, coming on the heels of GM Stan Bowman adding vice president to his title earlier this summer.
Much like Bowman, this season should present a bigger challenge than last season for Coach Q. It’s never easy to defend a championship, but as many will tell you, the Blackhawks lost valuable pieces such as goalie Antti Niemi, Dustin Byfuglien and Kris Versteeg among others. Sure, Chicago still boasts Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith, but they won’t bombard people with wave after wave of talent like they did last season.
It’s a smart move overall for Chicago, but the club faces some fascinating hurdles in the future. Quenneville is competent-to-outstanding coach, so I think the team is in good hands. After all, his mustache alone probably earns him at least a two year grace period.