Haviland’s firing comes after speculation that Quenneville might be willing to leave the Hawks because of friction with team brass.
“That’s something I want to put to bed right from the outset,” Quenneville said. “I love everything about our situation here in Chicago.”
But that doesn’t mean there won’t be more discontent, especially if Quenneville doesn’t get the final say in who replaces Haviland. If director of player development Barry Smith is thrust upon Quenneville again, more problems might arise.
Smith, you may recall, was sent in by management partway through the season to help the Blackhawks turn around their struggling power play – a power play that neither Haviland nor assistant Mike Kitchen was able to solve.
Ultimately Haviland paid the price while Kitchen’s services were retained despite many believing he should be the one to get the boot. A close friendship with the head coach likely helped Kitchen in that regard, though Quenneville denied that had anything to do with it.
Frankly, it all sounds quite dysfunctional.
As for who will be in charge of hiring Haviland’s replacement?
“I feel like it’s going to be my decision,” Quenneville said. “I haven’t put [Smith] on my list. I don’t have a list drawn up here at all right now. I don’t even want to speculate on any list. That process, I want to keep confidential.”
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.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
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:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger