Chicago Blackhawks bench boss Joel Quenneville started the 2013-14 campaign in seventh place on the NHL’s all-time coaching wins list. After his team’s 26-7-6 start, he’s climbed to fourth with 686 victories. He needs just six more to tie Hall of Famer Dick Irvin.
Building a dynasty hasn’t been accomplished yet in the salary cap era and maybe it won’t be, but with two Stanley Cup championships in four season and much of the team locked up, Chicago looks like the best bet to reach that status. Its players will end up with much of the credit if they do, but Quenneville’s role has been important in this team’s rise.
“Playing for Joel is awesome. You know what you’re going to get from him,” Patrick Sharp told CSN Chicago. “What I like about him is he’s approachable on and off the ice. You can talk to him about hockey, about personal things, and he’s always there to help out the player.”
Sharp isn’t alone in his opinion. Quenneville’s players speak highly of him, from veterans like Michal Rozsival, who appreciates the coach’s understanding nature and flexibility, to youngsters like Andrew Shaw, who called Quenneville intimidating, but approachable.
“It’s pretty awesome to be with a coach like him,” Shaw added.
After Quenneville surpasses Irvin, it will be a while before the 55-year-old reaches Al Arbour’s second place total of 782 wins and beyond that, Quenneville doesn’t think he has a shot at Scotty Bowman’s record of 1,244.
He’s got another list to climb up though. Not many people have won the Stanley Cup twice as a head coach, but Quenneville has a shot of becoming just the 10th person to win a third.