Colliton: Quenneville texted to wish him good luck

 
 
Updated 11/8/2018 11:34 PM
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  • Joel Quenneville was fired Tuesday, and later that day texted his successor, Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton, and wished him good luck. Colliton divulged the news before Thursday's game with Carolina.

    Joel Quenneville was fired Tuesday, and later that day texted his successor, Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton, and wished him good luck. Colliton divulged the news before Thursday's game with Carolina. Associated Press

Of the hundreds of texts and voice mails Jeremy Colliton received the past few days, perhaps the most touching came from the man he succeeded as Blackhawks coach: Joel Quenneville.

"It means a lot," Colliton said Thursday morning as the Hawks were preparing to take on Carolina at the United Center. "He's a Hall of Fame coach and … he took the time to send me a text message. He's a great man."

Colliton said the text came Tuesday -- the same day the Hawks made a coaching change that sent seismic shock waves across the NHL.

No advice accompanied the text -- just "congratulations and wishing me luck."

Jonathan Toews has also had contact with Quenneville -- the two talking over the phone Tuesday.

"I think it was a shock for him and for everybody," Toews said. "The two of us had nothing but good things to say and we're obviously very thankful for what we've been able to do together on the ice.

"Unfortunate that we couldn't get back to the ultimate goal again together. But we all know to have gone through what we've gone through, we're lucky to have been able to experience that."

Toews admitted it still feels strange not seeing Quenneville on the ice or behind the scenes at MB Ice Arena or the United Center.

"It is definitely bizarre and I think we'll feel that a little bit tonight, too," Toews said. "There are so many things you kind of get used to -- habits that you're used to that Joel brings every day.

"You realize that it's already different. You're expecting him to blow the whistle and say something at a certain time. You don't realize how habitual it does become."

Ouch!

As soon as the puck hit his mouth at practice Wednesday, Brandon Saad knew it was bad.

There was blood. He teeth were bent. And he was in considerable pain.

Less than 24 hours later, a fat-lipped Saad addressed reporters in the United Center dressing room before the Hawks played Carolina.

"It hurts," said Saad, who immediately left the ice and went to the dentist. "You're shocked at first and by the time they numb you you're feeling pretty good. Besides that, it is what it is. It feels better today than yesterday."

Saad, who was in the chair two to three hours, said he received about 15 stitches and had four teeth bent back. He wore a protective bubble helmet at the morning skate.

The injury happened when a puck caromed off Duncan Keith's stick into Saad's face.

The forward didn't think it would affect his performance against the Hurricanes. As for what he eats?

"Maybe more smoothies rather than solid food," he said with a half smile.

Pull Crawford?

After Corey Crawford allowed 4 goals in less than 22 minutes to Carolina at the United Center on Thursday, new Blackhawks coach Colliton was asked if he considered pulling his netminder.

"They were getting some pretty good looks, and at some point you want to shield him from that," Colliton said.

Crawford, though, went on to blank the Hurricanes the rest of the way. The Hawks lost 4-3, but Colliton was impressed Crawford kept his team in the game.

Colliton admitted it would have been tough to pull a two-time Stanley Cup-winning goalie in his first game as an NHL coach.

"No question," he said. "But at the same time, you don't want to leave a guy hanging out to dry. I don't think I've pulled many goaltenders. … For the most part, you want to let a guy finish what he started. Obviously things were going against us there for a bit."

Slap shots:

Marcus Kruger suffered a leg injury against the Hurricanes and may miss some time. ... Patrick Kane saw 27 minutes, 43 seconds of ice time Thursday, the second-highest total of his career. His career high of 28:48 came in a 3-2 loss at Columbus on Oct. 21, 2016.

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