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.
Kyle Turris was far from an accomplished NHLer when he requested a trade out of the Coyotes organization. In fact, when he was dealt to the Senators in 2011, the third overall pick in the 2007 draft had just 46 points in 137 NHL games.
Since then, Turris has emerged as Ottawa’s top center, with the promise of a big payday in the summer of 2018 when his current $17.5 million deal expires and he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
It’s for that very reason that he can understand Jonathan Drouin‘s position with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“It’s tough,” Turris told the Tampa Bay Times. “Everyone has mixed feelings, and especially not being an established player. Then people are doubting that you’re doing the right thing, you really have to have confidence in yourself and your ability to do it.”
Though Turris, now 26, took a “lot of heat from the media…and people within the organization” and recalls the time after his trade request was made public as a “tough, tough go,” he believes the opportunity he received with the Sens “saved” him.
As we’ve written in the past, you don’t have to agree with how Drouin is handling things — maybe it ends up hurting him; he still has a lot to prove — but there have been young players who have chosen similar paths, and it’s worked out well for them.
Drouin, by the way, has 40 points in 89 NHL games.