The Chicago Blackhawks have not advanced past the first round of the NHL playoffs since they won the Stanley Cup during the 2009-10 season, but that shouldn't put head coach Joel Quenneville on the hot seat entering the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.
Quenneville has been the coach of the Blackhawks for the last four years and has made a tremendous impact on the team's growth and success achieved in that time.
When you consider the fact that the 2010 championship team was dismantled due to salary cap restrictions, Quenneville has done a pretty good job maintaining the team's status as a top Western Conference contender.
Not many coaches could lose so many important players from a Stanley Cup team and still find ways to win consistently in one of the NHL's most competitive divisions.
He has a record of 186-99-39 with Chicago and is not the reason why the Blackhawks have failed to make a deep playoff run despite having one of the most talented teams in the league.
The blame for the Blackhawks' recent playoff failures should not be put on the coaches. The players who dug themselves an 0-3 hole in their first-round series versus the Vancouver Canucks in 2011 and the ones who lost to a less-talented and inexperienced Coyotes team last year are to blame.
The team was smart to not make a knee-jerk reaction following last season's playoff exit, because poor goaltending and injuries ruined the chances of Chicago beating Phoenix. Losing top-scorer Marian Hossa in Game 3 was a major setback for the Blackhawks' offense.
The coach can only do so much to help the team win. It's up to the star players to perform at a high level and earn their salary.
Star winger Patrick Kane and No. 1 defenseman Duncan Keith have to play better for the Blackhawks to have success, and unless Quenneville isn't putting them in the right situations to succeed, he cannot be blamed for their poor play.
Quenneville is an experienced coach that displays a lot of passion behind the bench. He's the perfect coach for a team like the Blackhawks that play a physical style of hockey.
Quenneville can only work with what he has, and it's up to general manager Stan Bowman to make a trade if his team needs another piece or two to contend for the Stanley Cup.
There's no reason to fire Quenneville right now. He's the right coach for the Blackhawks, and if he was fired anytime soon, it wouldn't be surprising if a lot of teams had interest in hiring him because he's a Hall-of-Fame-caliber coach.
Quenneville should not be on the hot seat this season. His contract expires at the end of the 2013-14 season, and his long-term future with the Blackhawks should not be determined until then.
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