Blackhawks

Joel Quenneville reflects on best memories with Blackhawks

Joel Quenneville reflects on best memories with Blackhawks

It may not be surprising that when Joel Quenneville recently sat down with NBC Sports Chicago, his fondest memories with the Blackhawks centered around when he helped end a 49-year Stanley Cup drought in 2010. 

"Obviously the championships were significant achievements," said the three-time Stanley Cup-winning former coach of the Blackhawks, now with the Florida Panthers. "And then when you look back how each one was accomplished and how hard they were and all the things, the ups and downs of winning each one were things that stand out the most. 

"And the thrills that we had at the games and the city, the celebrations were cool, I thought the parades were extremely cool. But going through it with the guys was probably the part that'd be most memorable."

Coach Q is returning to the United Center on Tuesday, when the Hawks take on the Panthers, for the first time since his firing on Nov. 6 of 2018. During the 10-year anniversary of the 2010 Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, Quenneville is still wondering what a lot of Hawks fans are.

"2010, man," Quenneville said. "It's almost like, where's the puck now? Do we know where the puck is? I can't believe it's already been 10 years."

The 61-year-old knew he had a special group on the cusp of doing serious damage when the Hawks lost to the Detroit Red Wings in the 2009 Western Conference Final. 

"The year before we got a good education when we played Detroit and getting to the Conference Finals was pretty impressive with that group, young group, a lot of talent, a lot of ability, competitive bunch," Quenneville said. "And so we learned, had some valuable lessons in that series and throughout those first couple rounds, so that helped us. 

"A young team learning how to win and that exposure the following year. You get that close and you're thinking you got a chance, a real chance, the following year. A lot of things got to go right though. You need goaltending, you need health, you need your best players to be great and you need four lines and you need your D to be solid, so we had a lot of those things happen and fortunate in a lot of ways. 

"Sometimes the matchups work out in your favor, but some amazing series and some things that turned it around, you think about that Nashville game, you think about Game 6 against Philly and then you can go on and on — some series are not as vivid as others — but it was pretty amazing each one, they stand out."

When looking back at big goals, Quenneville had a fondness of Patrick Kane's shorthanded game-tying goal (3-3) with 13.6 seconds remaining in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal against the Nashville Predators in 2010 at the United Center. Marian Hossa scored the game-winner in OT out of the penalty box to put Chicago up 3-2 in the series. 

"That was unbelievable," Quenneville said. "I mean, when I think back about it, you take a five-minute major, down a goal, late in the game and you got Hoss in the box. 

"Now we're getting down late, we've got to use Kaner on the kill — I don't even know if we used him once that whole year killing penalties, I don't even think we did. But he knows what he's out there to do and then we get a break and we scored and we still had to kill it, and then we got into overtime.

"That was a huge goal and the crowd, that might've been the loudest we heard the building in certain times. We've had some moments that stood out, the Vancouver game when Kaner might've gotten a hat trick that night, that might've been louder, Seabs scoring against Detroit, that was loud, that was noticeable, memorable. Duncs scoring against Tampa. Certain goals stand out but that was definitely a huge, huge goal. Don't expect to score shorthanded like that very often."

Of course, Quenneville had nothing but great things to say, as he always did, when asked about Marian Hossa and his impact on the Blackhawks. 

"One of those players that really, really set the table of playing the right way," Quenneville said. "And as a coach, you couldn't ask for a guy that demonstrates exactly what your message is of how we want to play structurally, in all zones, in all situations. Protects the puck, keeps the puck, tough to take it away from him. 

"It was almost like, 'OK, this the perfect player' and does everything you want. Playing without the puck is something we always try to instill and checking is a part of our game and he was perfect in that area, so he was ideal for our team and quietly went about his business. 

"Good teammate, one of those guys that guys would rely upon and every game he was key to what we were trying to do in our team game and it was noticeable. We used him in all situations, all times of the game. Very important player."

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Lucas Carlsson out to prove he belongs with Blackhawks

Lucas Carlsson out to prove he belongs with Blackhawks

DALLAS — The Blackhawks have gotten extended looks this season at two of their coveted defensemen prospects in Adam Boqvist and Dennis Gilbert, the latter of whom is better known for his defensive game than offensive prowess. 

On Sunday, it was Lucas Carlsson's turn.

With Erik Gustafsson being held out of the lineup for precautionary reasons ahead of Monday's trade deadline, the Blackhawks called up Carlsson for their four-game road trip that kicked off in Dallas. They wasted no time in throwing their 2016 fourth-round pick into action despite having no practice session or a morning skate for him to get acclimated to the group.

"Maybe it's easier for me to just get right into it, I don't know," a smiling Carlsson said following a 2-1 loss to the Stars. "It was fun, obviously. I was a bit nervous at the start, but I think I got into it pretty quickly. I just try and play my game, don't change anything. Obviously you have to adjust a little bit, everything's much faster here, so it's good."

Head coach Jeremy Colliton said before the game he wanted Carlsson to be clean with the puck, have a tight gap and be physical when he needed to. And Carlsson did exactly that.

The 22-year-old Swedish blue liner had one shot attempt, one blocked shot and three hits in 14:55 of ice time while playing on the second pairing with Connor Murphy. He wasn't too noticeable, but that's not intended to sound negative. He kept it simple, played his game and didn't make any glaring mistakes in his NHL debut.

"I thought he was good," Colliton said. "He was assertive, physical, made plays, skated the puck. He did well for himself, so [I'm] happy for him in his first game."

The one noticeable offensive play Carlsson did make came in the third period when he delivered a nifty backhand pass between his legs in the slot to Dominik Kubalik, who looked surprised it even got to him. It nearly created a prime scoring chance, but the puck got away from Kubalik.

Carlsson clearly wasn't lacking confidence, which is always a good thing as younger players tend to play timid while they try figuring out the league. He's a sound defender with some offensive upside — he led all Rockford IceHogs defensemen in goals (five), assists (21) and points (26) — and is out to prove he belongs at the NHL level.

"Of course," Carlsson said. "I still have one more year on my contract, so I want to show what I can do and hopefully play a few more games here and see what happens."

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Will Brandon Saad be traded by Blackhawks again? He hopes not

Will Brandon Saad be traded by Blackhawks again? He hopes not

DALLAS — Brandon Saad knows what it’s like to be traded. He’s been moved twice in his NHL career — once from Chicago to Columbus and then again from Columbus to Chicago. Both of those deals were made in the summer, though, and they were also unexpected.

With the NHL trade deadline on Monday at 2 p.m., Saad knows his name is out there and admitted the possibility of being dealt is on his mind.

"A little bit," Saad said following a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Sunday. "That's part of the business, right? Love it here in Chicago but it is what it is. You wait for tomorrow and there's always rumors floating, but at the end of the day, you just focus on hockey games and winning here with the Blackhawks and see what happens."

The Blackhawks aren’t necessarily shopping Saad, but they are listening to offers. The return would have to start with at least a first-round pick for the Blackhawks to even consider that possibility, and it’s unclear whether anybody has gotten close to meeting their demands.

What makes Saad an attractive trade piece is the fact he has one year left on his contract after this season at a $6 million cap hit. General managers across the NHL have been reluctant to give up first-round selections for rentals, and it’s hard to blame them. Giving up a king's ransom for pending unrestricted free agents, historically, backfires more often than not.

Jason Zucker, Blake Coleman and, most recently, Ondrej Kase were all moved and fetched first-rounders because they have term left on their contract. Chris Kreider and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, both of whom are at the top of TSN’s trade bait list, have not been traded with less than 20 hours to go until the deadline and you have to wonder how much that has to do with contending teams not being willing to meet the high price tag for a rental.

The Boston Bruins reportedly expressed interest in Saad, but that was before they acquired Kase. The Edmonton Oilers have also checked in, but would they be willing to part ways with their first-rounder? How about the Colorado Avalanche?

GM Stan Bowman's phone line is going to be busy in the coming hours as teams start to put together their final offers, but Saad is hoping he remains with the Blackhawks.

"It's just part of the business, right?" Saad said. "At the end of the day, you're a hockey player, so you're going to play hard for whoever you're with and take it as it comes. The other ones were in the summertime, so I've never dealt with it at the deadline, so that's always a new experience. But hopefully I'm here in Chicago."

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