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Coach Q to Blackhawks: Less cute, more ugly

Joel Quenneville

Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville talks to the reporters during a news conference after Los Angeles Kings defeated the Blackhawks 5-4 in the overtime period in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Sunday, June 1, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)


The beautiful and cruel thing about hockey is that sometimes one team can absolutely dominate another, yet that dominated team’s goalie can just shut the door.

On face value, that seems like it was the case on Wednesday, as Jonas Hiller stole a 2-1 overtime win for the Calgary Flames despite 50 Chicago Blackhawks shots, making the most saves in a Calgary win in 20 years.

It doesn’t sound like Joel Quenneville just wants to chalk that defeat up to running into a hot goalie, though. Instead, the mustachioed bench boss broke down tape and told the Chicago Sun-Times that the Blackhawks passed up 15 opportunities and 10 “A-plus chances” in that loss. With that, Quenneville sent players this message:

Stop being so nice; start being more selfish. Stop being so creative; start being more direct. Stop being so cute; start being more ugly.

Blackhawks players said all the right things in that article in the Chicago Sun-Times, but take a look at some of the saves Hiller had to make on Wednesday:

Here’s one hypothesis:

Quenneville’s had too much time to think about this.

The Blackhawks played last Saturday, Wednesday and will finally play again tonight. As much as hockey coaches gripe about back-to-back and travel, one almost gets the feeling that some of them are better off having quick turnarounds rather than too much time to stew about a specific loss.

Chicago’s far and away the best possession team so far in this very young season, and while facing the Flames and Buffalo Sabres obviously inflates those numbers, the point is that the Blackhawks seem primed to be a dangerous offensive team once again in 2014-15.

Now, if a well-rested Blackhawks team can’t take advantage of a rising Nashville Predators team on the end of a back-to-back set, then there might be more cause for concern.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins