Blackhawks without Quenneville feels wrong

Thursday night the Chicago Blackhawks played in their first game without former head coach Joel Quenneville (and his glorious stache) behind the bench.

Hearing the news Tuesday morning was a shock to Chicagoans and many NHL fans.

Quenneville, the second-winningest coach in NHL history, was fired.

I, like many other fans, thought I was misreading the giant headline right in front of my eyes. How could this be?

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Thank you, Q. For everything.

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Quenneville’s time in the Windy City was unmatched, having a record with the Blackhawks of 452-249, a winning percentage of .627 in 11 years and an overall record of 890-532, and a winning percentage of .609.

Coach Q’s firing comes after a rough five game losing streak, where the Blackhawks were outscored in the third period 7-0. Its wasn’t pretty, but it seemed a bit abrupt to fire Q.

Almost immediately following the firing of Quenneville, the Blackhawks announced the hiring of Jeremy Colliton, 33 years old and the youngest coach in the NHL.

Let’s put it this way, there are guys on the team that are the same age as their coach, or older. Think about that dynamic, people.

I wouldn’t be fond of having a coach that was my age after having one of the greatest coaches of all time. It’s just fact.

Before coming to the Blackhawks, Colliton was with the IceHogs (the Hawks’ AL affiliate). Don’t get me wrong, he seems like a good guy, but I don’t care how long it’s going to take him to grow a mustache, he is not Q!

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Colliton becomes the 38th head coach in franchise history. #Blackhawks

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Watching the first game without Q just felt off, even before the puck dropped.

Side note: They didn’t announce Colliton during the video introduction. I don’t know if that was his choice or the organization’s, but still, it’s off.

The Blackhawks honored 50 Vietnam veterans and it would then follow up with one of the best traditions in all of sports, the playing of the National Anthem by Jim Cornelison.

Anyone that has been to the Madhouse on Madison knows that the National Anthem is louder than life! Fans cheering, going crazy, clapping, whistling, whatever it may be, it’s pure madness but not on Thursday night.

As NBC Chicago’s cameras panned around the United Center, people just stood there. I think within the time span the National Anthem played I saw three people cheering.

Now I know it sounds crazy to point something out like this, but the lack of enthusiasm says a lot about how the fans feel right now. Everything about the game felt off.

Even listening to the play-by-play, color commentary and sideline reporter felt different.

By the end of the first period, the Carolina Hurricanes were up 3-0.

And those three goals screamed to fans what’s going on with the Blackhawks wasn’t, and isn’t Quenneville’s fault, it’s the players.

Inevitably, the Hawks would lose their first game, (4-3) without Q and I don’t think fans were surprised either.

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Despite battling back from a four-goal deficit, the #Blackhawks fall 4-3 to the Hurricanes.

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Firing the coach is the easiest thing to do, while also sending a message to the players at the same time.

Three Stanley cups are great, but that was then an this is now.

Playtime is over, boys. It’s time to get back to work and back to winning.

If I could describe Thursday night to you in an awkward moment it would be this… It felt like going to dinner with your best friend and her new boyfriend who you both know shouldn’t be her boyfriend. So you just sit there and awkwardly try to smile and be nice but the whole time you’re just sitting there knowing it’s not right. You follow? I hope so.

It’s the end of an era in Chicago and with that comes the five stages of grief and loss — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

The city of Chicago is still in denial even though it’s being thrown in our face that we should accept this.

But let’s be real — we’re nowhere close to that yet.

In the meantime, Chicagoans and Blackhawks fans are grieving the loss of man who brought three Stanley Cups to a city and a love of hockey to a new generation of fans.

— Jenna 

3 thoughts on “Blackhawks without Quenneville feels wrong”

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