Bowman and Quenneville

Blackhawks GM anticipates Coach Q will be back


Stan Bowman refused to comment on the rumors of Joel Quenneville leaving the Windy City for Montreal, but the Blackhawks’ general manager did tell the Chicago Tribune he anticipates his head coach will be back next season, and that he wants him back.

“I think we made that clear at the end of the year, that we’re trying to look forward and get better as a group,” Bowman said.

However, until the Canadiens actually hire a new coach or Quenneville outright says he’s staying, don’t expect the rumors to die down, because they didn’t come out of nowhere.

First, there’s the fact Quenneville’s friend (and ally), Marc Bergevin, was just named the new GM of the Canadiens, moving on from his role as assistant GM of the Blackhawks.

Then there’s this, as per the Tribune:

Other than Bergevin’s friendship with Quenneville, there are other factors in play that have led to the speculation, fueled by a discussion on “Hockey Night in Canada” on Sunday that hinted at strife in the Hawks’ front office that could result in at least a discussion of Quenneville heading to Montreal.

Tribune sources have indicated Quenneville was not pleased when director of player development Barry Smith — a longtime associate to Hawks senior adviser Scotty Bowman — joined practices during the season to help the team work on its struggling power play. Smith continued in that role until the playoffs began but did not travel with the Hawks to Arizona, where they faced the Coyotes in the Western Conference quarterfinals. One source said Quenneville came out on top of a confrontation with management and Smith’s on-ice role was ended.

Quenneville’s contract runs through the 2013-14 season, so his situation is a bit different than Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, another name that’s been linked (at least by those who traffic in speculation) to the Canadiens. Vigneault’s contract expires at the end of 2012-13 and he’ll likely demand an extension this summer.

That said, if I’m Quenneville, I’m slightly worried about my job security heading into next season. The new coach of the Canadiens will surely get signed for more than two years, and he’ll definitely get a longer leash than Coach Q will get next year in Chicago.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?