Never a doubt on keeping Quenneville with Chicago Blackhawks
When the Toronto Maple Leafs signed coach Mike Babcock to an eight-year, $50 million contract last May, it certainly changed the pay scale for NHL coaches.
Especially the league's most successful coaches.
Like a certain one in Chicago who has won three Stanley Cups.
Babcock's eye-popping deal averages $6.25 million annually, more than double what Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was pulling in.
So if the Blackhawks wanted to keep Quenneville around, they knew they'd have to pony up. And that's exactly what they did by signing the 57-year-old to a three-year extension worth a reported $18 million.
"I was always confident it was going to get done. I think with any negotiation, it takes a little bit of time," said Hawks general manager Stan Bowman.
"We've got a great situation going here. We're fortunate to have Joel on board, and he's been a huge part of what we've accomplished as a group, and there's no one more you'd want on the bench than Joel."
While Babcock's signing certainly raised the bar, Bowman didn't want to dwell on that fact too much.
"I guess you could look at it in that perspective," he said, "but each negotiation's different and I think that's not really the focus, is whether one contract impacts another. We like what we have here and we want to keep it going."
If the Blackhawks win in Montreal on Thursday, it will be Joel Quenneville's 782nd career victory and will put him ahead of Al Arbour for second place all time.
Then he can set his sights on Scotty Bowman, who won 1,244 games. For that to happen (and assuming the Hawks win at least 12 more times this year), Quenneville would need to average 45 wins for the next 10 seasons. Stan Bowman, Scotty's son and the Hawks' GM, said he'd be fine if Quenneville managed to pull it off.
"Yeah, well, if he broke his record it means that we've got a lot of wins in us," Bowman said. "He's still got some ground to go, but I know you keep winning and good things happen."
Artem Anisimov, who missed Tuesday's win over Nashville due to an illness, did not make the trip to Montreal as the Hawks get set to take on the Canadiens on Thursday.
"He got sick after a meeting, after 6 p.m.," Joel Quenneville said Tuesday. "It came on quick."
Teuvo Teravainen figures to center the second line in Anisimov's absence.
Don't look now:
Thanks to their eight-game winning streak, the Blackhawks are nipping at the heels of the first-place Dallas Stars. The Hawks (28-13-4) are just 2 points behind Dallas, which is 29-11-4 and has played one fewer game.
"(Before) you were (just) thinking playoff spot, now you're thinking first place," Joel Quenneville said. "Take the hat off, commend the guys."
The Hawks have outscored their opponents 32-17 during the streak.
He said it:
"I know when I'm 37 I won't be playing like that, that's for sure. … He's an unbelievable player."
-- Andrew Shaw on Marian Hossa, who turned 37 on Tuesday.