Sunday, Mar. 28, 2010
By Brett Ballantini
One of the more frequent criticisms of Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is that he doesnt manage goalies well. While a glimpse at Coach Qs time in Chicago might immediately elicit a suggestion critics take a gander at what the mentor has had to work with, but the point is that this has been persistent criticism that stretches much earlier than just Quennevilles days piloting the Blackhawks.
By any measure, Cool Hand Q was slow to warm to rookie Antti Niemi, who authored a shutout in his first game of the season and, certainly when compared with incumbent veteran Cristobal Huet, hasnt looked back. Quenneville was also a bit disingenuous coming right out of the blue before the Olympic break with sudden talk of defending the net as the main criteria for determining his goalie starter.
But one criticism that seems most unfair of Quennevilles handling of his netminders has been for his propensity to sub in a new goaltender after one pitches a shutout. The traditional thinking is to let a goalie coming off a shutout skate onto the ice the next game, even if facing a back-to-back.
Its interesting to note that while switching out a goalie after a shutout seems counterintuitive, Quenneville has played his hunches correctly this season. In the six games the coach has switched out a starting netminder after a shutout, the Blackhawks are 4-2-0. When Q has kept his shutout goalie in net for the next game, Chicago is 2-1-1.
Of course, the biggest sting of the season, Thursdays 8-3 shellacking at the Columbus Blue Jackets, came after Huet was given the start in spite of Niemi recording two shutouts in his previous three outings. Overall, Niemi is 1-0-0 when starting the next game after a Huet shutout; Huet is 3-2-0 when starting after a Niemi whitewash.
Brett Ballantini isCSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnikon Twitter for up-to-the-minute Hawksinformation.
After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.
Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.
"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.
"What was said this time around crossed the line."
The Capitals released a statement about the incident:
"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."
The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.
Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.
"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."
The Capitals released the full interview.
Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.
Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.
Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:
After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:
Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: