Joel Quenneville might be joining a new team, but that doesn't mean things will be completely different.
Monday, the Florida Panthers announced the hiring of Quenneville, 60, as their next head coach. At his introductory press conference, the former Blackhawks head coach said he sees parallels between the current Panthers and the Blackhawks team that he took over in October 2008.
"You’re watching talent, and I’m excited about having the privilege of coaching some of these guys," Quenneville said. "I look back to when we were in Chicago when I first arrived and had the privilege of coaching that group that Dale [Panthers general manager Dale Tallon] had put in place, and [I see] a lot of parallels from that time and this team."
Tallon, who was the Blackhawks general manager from 2005-09, said he is giddy to work with Quenneville again.
"This man to my left [Quenneville] is a champion. And champions breed champions. We’ve had a good run together and we’re going to make it even better moving forward," Tallon said. "I can’t tell you how excited I am about our future. It’s going to be great fun to work with Q.
“It’s a great pleasure for me. I’m giddy like I’ve never been before. It’s like scoring my first goal.”
Tallon and the Blackhawks fired Denis Savard on Oct. 16, 2008 in favor of Quenneville. The latter took over a Blackhawks team featuring three players — Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp — coming off of 20+ goal seasons in 2007-08. Five Panthers scored at least 24 goals in 2018-19, three of which — Mike Hoffman (36), Aleksander Barkov (35) and Jonathan Huberdeau (30) — scored at least 30.
Another parallel between the two teams is that both finished 10th in their conference standings the season before Quenneville arrived. The Blackhawks missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs by three points in 2007-08, while the Panthers finished 12 points back this season.
Between young players and being in the playoff picture, Quenneville said the Panthers have some "key ingredients" that are close to what the Blackhawks had during his tenure as head coach.
“We had a team that just missed the playoffs. [The] team was full of talent, we had a lot of depth on that team,” Quenneville said. “It was deep and [had] a couple of real special players and the bigger the game, the bigger the setting, everybody would rise to that occasion and that challenge.
“I think that’s the next step that we need to take. It was a special time and I was fortunate to be in that spot and I feel that there’s some key ingredients here that really are very close to the same type of lines that we had in Chicago.”Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.