With the Blackhawks mired in a nine-game losing streak, plenty of solutions have been thrown out on how to fix the team. Shake up the lines. Trade Patrick Kane. Get a new goalie.
Fire Joel Quenneville.
The latter recently came to the forefront when Chicago GM Stan Bowman gave Quenneville a vote of confidence. While some might see that as the kiss of death — most coaches say a public vote of confidence is often a sign of future unemployment — Quenneville might appreciate the gesture given all the grief he’s faced. And according to one ex-coach, that grief is probably weighing on Quenneville.
“I’m sure the criticism will bother him in some shape or form,” Crawford told the Chicago Sun-Times. “[But] he’s been through that before in Colorado and in St. Louis. He’s a smart veteran coach. He knows they’re a win away from turning this around.”
Two current NHL coaches also offered their thoughts on Coach Q.
Barry Trotz, Nashville: “I’ll say this, when you win, coaches get too much credit, and when you lose, you get too much blame. I don’t know all the criticism they’re giving him, but I know he’s one of the best coaches in the NHL. They’re just going through a dry patch.”
Dave Tippett, Phoenix: “It’s funny when you coach that long, and all of a sudden people think you’ve just forgotten everything you’ve learned over the last 20 years. It’s a volatile business, but you’ve got to look at the big picture, not just the last nine games.”
The ‘Hawks will look to snap their losing streak tonight at MSG against the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers. It won’t be easy — the Blueshirts at 18-6-2 at home this season — but you’d expect Chicago to play with a previously-unseen sense of desperation. The Blackhawks’ losing streak is their longest since an 0-8-2 stretch in 2007 and they’ve dropped 11 in a row on the road for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign.
Teuvo Teravainen has played both center and right wing over the course of his brief NHL career.
Now, he’s got a new position — left wing — and a pair of shiny new linemates to boot.
Teravainen will open the year playing alongside captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, per the Sun-Times.
The move could be a boon for the young Finn. Several ex-Chicago wingers thrived playing alongside Toews and Hossa, most notably Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Teravainen, who just turned 21 last month, can manufacture on Chicago’s top line. His numbers from last year weren’t spectacular (nine points in 34 games), but he did a solid job of racking up points en route to the Stanley Cup, with 10 in 18 games.
It’ll also be interesting to see how long he sticks with Toews and Hossa.
Head coach Joel Quenneville has been known as a frequent user of the line blender, often switching up his combos at at moment’s notice.
That said, Quenneville is hoping to find some stability with this new-look group.
“[Teuvo will] play there to start the season,” he said. “Hopefully, all year.”
Pretty cool story out of Texas, where Mattias Janmark, the 22-year-old rookie that’s played a grand total of nine games in North America, has defied the odds to make the Stars’ opening-night roster.
“It’s a great story,” Dallas GM Jim Nill said, per the Morning News. “We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds.
“It’s a great example of what you can do if you just play hard.”
Nill acquired Janmark, 22, from Detroit at last year’s deadline as part of the Erik Cole trade. Nill was familiar with the Swedish forward from his time with the Wings — he was part of the front office team that drafted Janmark in ’13 — but didn’t think the deal would pay such immediate dividends.
As for Janmark, he didn’t even think he’d be in North America this year.
He has a contract with SHL club Frolunda, where he scored 36 points in 55 games last year. Given he’s barely played in the AHL — a few games with Grand Rapids, a few with Texas — Janmark figured he’d be back in Europe this season.
His strong play in the exhibition season changed all that. Janmark beat out two of Dallas’ touted prospects — former AHL rookie of the year Curtis McKenzie, and ’12 first-rounder Radek Faksa — for a roster spot, and showed good chemistry with third-line center Cody Eakin.
Janmark also performed well on a line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.