I'll admit it—when the Blackhawks fired Dennis Savard two years ago, my first reaction was one of astonishment.
My question was: "How can you fire a coach who, while it wasn't a great year, brought the 'Hawks oh-so-very close to the playoffs last season, and, not to mention, is a Blackhawks great?"
The Hawks seemed to be on the rise when the 2008-2009 season began, but only after four games they had a new head coach.
His name was Joel Quenneville.
I was a bit skeptical at first, because the Hawk players had come to love and respect Savard very much, and pulling the rug from underneath them didn't seem like such a good idea.
But to my surprise, after watching how Quenneville coaches and manages his team, I grew to love the man, and so did the players.
The thing that makes Quenneville such a great coach is his ability to adapt to a situation that's really not in his favor.
When the 'Hawks are not doing so hot, or they're lacking in offense or defense, Quenneville changes the pairings or lines a little to help restore the natural balance. More often than not, those changes do work out.
It's not luck. It's coaching talent, and Quenneville has it.
It's one thing to have great, young talent like the Blackhawks do, but it's another to harness that talent and really put it to great use.
When it comes down to it, it's the coach's job to fully extract all that young talent and put it to good use.
Quenneville was a master at that last season. He put players together on lines that he thought would help them maximize their talent. When players were having slow offensive or defensive stretches, Quenneville would make the necessary changes to fix the problem.
You can't ask for more than that from your coach.
Now a team and fan favorite, Coach Quenneville has proven he's a coach that can put players in sports where they will shine the most.
So, when you think about the reason why the 'Hawks won the Stanley Cup this year, you can think about the young talent that, physically, won it all. Or, you can think about the man behind the whole story, who was given a team with so much potential, and fully used that talent to bring the Stanely Cup back to Chicago.
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