February 22, 2019

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Chicago Blackhawks Fire Joel Quenneville After Slow Start

Chicago Blackhawks Fire Joel Quenneville After Slow Start
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CHICAGO — The Chicago Blackhawks fired Coach Joel Quenneville on Tuesday, ending a run that produced three Stanley Cup titles and returned the franchise to the top of the N.H.L. after years of disappointment.

The trouble for Quenneville began when Chicago was swept by Nashville in the first round of the 2017 playoffs, after the Blackhawks had finished with the best record in the Western Conference. Chicago then missed the playoffs last season for the first time in a decade.

With the Blackhawks struggling again, General Manager Stan Bowman had had enough. He dismissed Quenneville and his assistants Kevin Dineen and Ulf Samuelsson.

Jeremy Colliton was hired as the 38th coach in franchise history, and Barry Smith was added as an assistant. Colliton, 33, had been the coach of the Blackhawks’ American Hockey League affiliate in Rockford, Ill.

Chicago (6-6-3) has dropped five in a row heading into Thursday’s game against Carolina.

“This is certainly a very difficult decision,” Bowman said in a statement. “But I believe it is in the best interests of the Blackhawks’ organization. We need to maximize each and every opportunity with our playoff goals in mind and create continued growth and development throughout our roster at the same time.

“After much deliberation the last several days, with great respect to what Joel has meant to the Blackhawks, we knew we had to make a change.”

The 60-year-old Quenneville took over as Blackhawks coach early in the 2008-09 season and led the team to the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015. He went 452-249-96 during the regular season, and Chicago made the playoffs in nine of 10 full seasons with Quenneville behind the bench.

Quenneville is the second N.H.L. coach to be fired in three days. The Los Angeles Kings fired John Stevens on Sunday.



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