Joel Quenneville

Joel Quenneville sees parallels between current Panthers team and Blackhawks team he took over

Joel Quenneville sees parallels between current Panthers team and Blackhawks team he took over

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.

Florida Panthers hire former Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville

Florida Panthers hire former Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville

Joel Quenneville will be back behind an NHL bench for the 2019-20 season.

The Florida Panthers announced that they have hired Quenneville as their next head coach. A press conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT on Monday.

"Joel is a three-time Stanley Cup champion head coach who will be a transformative leader for the Florida Panthers franchise," former Blackhawks and current Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said in a press release. "We've seized the opportunity to add one of the most successful head coaches in hockey history and we're thrilled that Joel has agreed to take on the challenge of leading our promising young team.

"I've worked with Joel previously and have seen firsthand how his passion for the game, head coaching experience and leadership can impact an organization. Joel will accelerate our growth into a club that qualifies for the playoffs consistently and competes every year toward our goal of winning the Stanley Cup."

Quenneville was the Blackhawks head coach from 2008-18, leading the team to three Stanley Cup championships and nine-straight trips to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Following back-to-back first round exits in 2016 and 2017, the Blackhawks missed the playoffs in 2018. However, the team was without goaltender Corey Crawford for much of the 2017-18 season after he sufferred a concussion on Dec. 23.

According to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun, Quenneville's deal is for five years and worth north of $30 million, depending on bonuses. Because he was under contract through 2019-20 with the Blackhawks before getting fired,  the Panthers not only have to pay Queneville under his new contract, but also the $6 million he was owed by the Blackhawks for 2019-20. 

The Panthers fired head coach Bob Boughner on Sunday after two seasons with the team. Florida has missed the playoffs three seasons in a row, though they came just a point short in 2017-18 under Boughner.

Following Boughner's dismissal, the Panthers said in a press release on Sunday that they were seeking an "experienced head coach with Stanley Cup pedigree." Quenneville, who is second on the NHL's all-time wins list with 890 victories, certainly matches that description.

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.

Joel Quenneville opens up about firing from Blackhawks and what's next

joel_quenneville_usa_today.jpg
USA TODAY

Joel Quenneville opens up about firing from Blackhawks and what's next

The Blackhawks made a franchise-changing decision on Nov. 6 when they parted ways with Joel Quenneville, who was at the helm for three Stanley Cup runs and five Conference Final apperances. He became the second-winningest NHL coach of all-time while in Chicago and will one day be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

But he's stayed out of the spotlight since the firing, until this weekend when he returned behind the bench briefly for a Blackhawks alumni charity event at Willowbrook Ice Arena.

In an interview with WGN TV's Dan Roan, Quenneville opened up about being relieved of his duties, whether he was surprised by the move and thanked the fans for their support over the last decade.

"I think in our business there's not too many surprises anymore," he said. "I was priviledged to be in Chicago for 10 years. It's part of the business, I understand all that. I know when I exited other places, the bitterness, the animosity was at a different level. And here the memories were so special and so good, and the people here were so special to me and my family that it was tough, but they made it all like ... I never [had the opportunity to] thank the fans since I left, but I've got nothing but appreciation and admire all they've done and supported our team and our experience in Chicago."

There are many people wondering what Quenneville could be up to next. His contract with the Blackhawks doesn't expire until the end of the 2019-20 season, so he could theoretically sit out and collect his $6 million for another year before deciding.

But there's an expectation that he'll evaluate all his options this summer and get back into coaching sooner than later because coaches like Quenneville don't like sitting on the sidelines for too long.

"It's been a while now since we've been behind the bench, so I think there's an appetite as we go along here to get back into the game," Quenneville said. "I try to not watch as much Blackhawks as I used to, but I watch most of the games. It's been a great race and it's going to be fun to see how it all plays out.

"We're in no hurry right now. We'll see how things transpire in the offseason. We'll have to think about it and we'll see."

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.