James O'Brien

Joel Quenneville

Roenick says Coach Q deserves Babcock money


At this point, it’s just a matter of time before Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville becomes a member of the Hall of Fame. Really, the bigger question is where he’ll finish in the minds of hockey fans and observers compared to other all-timers.

If you ask Jeremy Roenick, Coach Q deserves to be paid the part, too. He told NHL.com as much.

“I think he gets a lot of credit, but I don’t think he gets enough credit, if that’s the word,” Roenick said. “I think with Babcock signing the deal he did, Quenneville should be licking his chops waiting for his next contract. He deserves to be having the same kind of money that Mr. Babcock got.”

For a Blackhawks organization that is readying for a financial storm after all this success, there’s good news on that front: The ‘Stache is locked up through 2016-17.

A lot can happen until then, as his mettle will be tested in the likely event that the Blackhawks’ supporting cast gets split up quite a bit starting this summer.

That said, he’s also likely to climb the all-time ranks. In the near future, it looks like he’s knocking on Al Arbour’s door in a few categories:

All-time coaching wins (regular season)

1. Scotty Bowman (1,244)
2. Al Arbour (782)
3. Joel Quenneville (754)
4. Ken Hitchcock (708)

All-time coaching wins (playoffs)

1. Bowman (223)
2. Arbour (123)
3. Quenneville (115)

Arbour still has the edge for now (and one more Stanley Cup victory), yet when you’re breathing down the neck of that New York Islanders legend, you know you’re in select company.

In fact, Coach Q is just the third coach behind Arbour and Bowman to coach in 200+ playoff games. He also became just the 11th coach to hoist the Cup three times.

He’s probably already the greatest Blackhawks coach, or at least the most decorated:

Quenneville likely cares most about getting as many Cup rings as possible. In the end, the stats and money will come with the bigger picture success, anyway.

Sights and sounds from Chicago’s Cup celebrations

Via Getty Images
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The Chicago Blackhawks’ party began basically before the Stanley Cup even arrived last night, yet for some, it will probably feel like the question is if the fun will end (not when).

While some team members may still be celebrating for all we know – hey, these guys showed superhuman stamina at times in these playoffs – others may be nursing some serious hangovers and many icing a few wounds at this point (hopefully just from hockey).

Let’s take a mostly photographic tour through some of the reactions to last night’s big victory.

It only seems right to start with Kimmo Timonen finally raising the Cup:

Via Getty Images

Here’s video of his emotional interview with Pierre McGuire:

Of course, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are the two faces of the franchise, even if Kane makes faces like these.

source: AP
Via AP

Duncan Keith won the Conn Smythe, and his kid may grab the playoff cuteness MVP.

source: Getty Images
Via Getty Images

Not to say there wasn’t competition, mind you …

Actually, maybe we should just call it a tie …

The Keeper of the Cup grabbed a candid shot or two:

Speaking of having a few sips, one “inside” account:

Let’s enjoy some random shots of large groups of (possibly inebriated) fans enjoying themselves.

source: AP
Via AP
source: AP
Via AP

There were plenty of kudos from big names ranging from U.S. President Barack Obama:

To memorable Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas:

And Lil Wayne …

Finally, here’s a snapshot of how all the Chicago newspapers handled the big win:

OK, one more bonus for Blackhawks fans who are really reveling:

Sens sign Memorial Cup winner Tobias Lindberg

2015 Memorial Cup - Championship

The Ottawa Senators announced that they signed Tobias Lindberg to a three-year, entry-level contract on Tuesday.

Lindberg, 19 was a fourth-round pick (102nd overall) by the Senators in the 2013 NHL Draft. He helped the Oshawa Generals win the Memorial Cup and had a nice OHL season in 2014-15, scoring 32 goals and 78 points in 67 games. (The Generals also won an OHL championship during that run.)

The team notes that he’ll participate in the Senators’ development camp, which begins on June 30.

Want to know a little more than that about the prospect? Check out this video from the Senators:

Cooper: ‘This is going to leave a scar, no doubt’

Cedric Paquette

CHICAGO — And then, there’s the losing side.

In the wake of their loss to Chicago in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night, the Lightning were forced to do what the losing team does: watch someone else celebrate, listen to the cheers from the dressing room, and wait to field the questions.

Not just any questions, but those questions. The ones nobody likes to ask and even fewer like to answer.

How does it feel? What do you say? How much does it hurt? Can you describe your emotions?

Jon Cooper, credit to him, tried his best to respond.

“We’ve got a group of young men in there, but they’re kids at heart, and they’re crushed,” he said. “It was really hard to look at them and see how crushed they truly are. I’m crushed for two other people. I’m crushed for [assistant coach] Rick Bowness. I envisioned handing him the Stanley Cup. And I’m crushed for [other assistant] Steve Thomas because I envisioned doing the same thing. Guys have been in this league for a long time and you just want to see other people succeed and be a part of the success.

“Maybe we’ll look back weeks from now and somewhat treasure what we accomplished. But we’ve got unfinished business to do. The Montreal series last year stung, but that pales in comparison to what this feels like.”

The Lightning were visibly gutted following tonight’s 2-0 loss — the first time they’d been shut out in 19 playoff games. That lack of offense was a recurring theme over the final three games of this series, all Chicago wins; the Bolts only put two pucks past Corey Crawford through Games 4-6, with captain and former 60-goal man Steve Stamkos failing to find the back of the net all series.

“Ultimately, we didn’t score enough,” Cooper admitted. “If you would have told me at the beginning of the playoffs that we were going to be the team that scored one goal in the last two games, that wasn’t our MO.

“We were only giving up two goals a game. When this team only gives up two, we win a majority of those games. The pucks just didn’t go in for us. It was a tough time for us to go cold, have the well go dry, especially since we carried this on the whole year.”

Ultimately, this will serve as a learning experience for the Bolts. The team is young, talented and thanks to GM Steve Yzerman’s managerial savvy, well-positioned to remain a title contender in a salary cap world.

But that’s of little condolence on a night when their Stanley Cup dreams were dashed away.

“This is going to leave a scar,” Cooper said. “No doubt.”

Injuries revealed: Johnson’s wrist was broken, Bishop played through groin tear

Ben Bishop, Ondrej Palat, Brenden Morrow

We finally know the specific injury Ben Bishop was dealing with through the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. Unfortunately for the Tampa Bay Lightning, word came not that long after the Chicago Blackhawks won it all.

Bishop revealed that he played through a groin tear, which he suffered in the second period of Game 2, according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.

The 28-year-old really impressed with strong play against a great scoring attack, but getting the specifics of the issue only makes it more impressive.

Still, the big goalie isn’t puffing out his chest, as he’s instead digesting that tough loss. Bishop lamented that “it easily could have been us on the ice celebrating” but instead they must move on despite “such a close series.”

It’s hard to argue with that argument, either. Patrick Kane’s third-period 2-0 tally was the only time in this entire series where either team had more than a one-goal edge.

Bishop’s courageous play made a big difference in keeping things so close, yet he must heal up and move on to next season with a heavy heart nonetheless.

Update: We also know what was ailing Tyler Johnson, as he apparently broke his wrist early in the Stanley Cup Final.

No need for excuses, but perhaps the Lightning can say “we’ll be even better if we can stay healthy and get another shot.”