Bowman, Hawks show support for Quenneville
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Although the Blackhawks have lost eight straight road games, general manager Stan Bowman told CSN.com he "absolutely" believes head coach Joel Quenneville, above, is the right person to lead a turnaround for the club.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is safe for now.
There was support voiced for Quenneville inside and outside the Hawks' dressing room on Monday, the most important vote of confidence coming from general manager Stan Bowman.
Bowman said during an interview with CSNChicago.com that Quenneville was "absolutely the guy" to lead the Hawks out of their current eight-game losing streak.
"I'm very confident in Joel's ability, our coaching staff's ability," Bowman said.
Team leaders such as Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane came out in support of Quenneville as well, putting the blame for what has happened squarely on their own shoulders.
"He's our leader, he's our coach, we play hard for him and we believe in him," Sharp said. "If something would happen, there would be a lot of unhappy people in the room right now as far as players.
"We're putting it on ourselves. We know we're the guys out there on the ice that control the outcome of the games a lot of times."
Even Red Wings coach Mike Babcock weighed in on the situation from Detroit, saying he still considered the Hawks a dangerous team because they have Quenneville behind the bench and that he would be "100 percent" stunned if the veteran coach was let go.
"Let's not get carried away," Babcock said. "Joel Quenneville's the coach; they've got real good players. Things aren't going the way that Joel wanted right now, but they're still a very dangerous team.
"A few weeks ago everyone thought Chicago was going to win the West. I mean, I wouldn't get in a big panic. You'd rather it was them than you, but a little adversity never killed anybody. It's just how you respond to it."
Quenneville addressed his job status head on following practice Monday, admitting such talk comes with losing but saying he didn't need to head Bowman give him a vote of confidence to carry on in a positive fashion.
"I'm confident in what I do and I look forward to the challenge to try to instill in our group to find a way to win and have a nice environment around here where we can only get better as we go alone," Quenneville said.
"(Being fired) is something you don't think about as you're going along as coach, but when you're in this situation, it can be reality."
Not even a month ago, the idea that Quenneville's job could be in jeopardy was unthinkable.
"I think we're all aware in our business and how things develop, but we can only control what we can control and that's try to win (Tuesday's game) and try to be positive and instill some confidence in our staff and players as well," Quenneville said.
"Try to look on the bright side of things because up until game 48 we did a real good job, and right now there's nothing good going on, so let's try to recapture some of that feeling."
At least out from behind closed doors, Quenneville has remained on an even keel through this stretch that has seen the Hawks go without a win since Jan. 20, at which time they led the NHL with 64 points.
But Kane said the coach has exploded "a couple times" behind closed doors.
Kane agreed the players need to take responsibility for what has gone so wrong.
"The problem is probably the players," Kane said. "The coaches are doing everything possible to get us ready and to get us prepared.
"I don't think anyone in here questions his job or what he's doing. He's had a lot of success in the NHL and we won a Stanley Cup with him a couple years ago. He's the same guy, same practices, same coach as he was when we were successful. He's a great coach and I love playing for the guy."
But as much as the players say they love playing for Quenneville, it's their recent dreadful performance of late that has put the coach on the hot seat.
A coach is only as good as his best players, and right now Quenneville is being let down on a nightly basis by Kane, Hossa, Sharp, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Dave Bolland and Brent Seabrook.
"It's easy to point fingers and look around the room and say what's wrong, but for sure the top players need to step up and be your top players," Kane said. "We've got to score some goals, take over games, battle and show leadership so everyone can kind of follow us."
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