Brett Hull goals and those despicable jerseys with the red stripe. That’s how I remember the beginning of the Joel Quenneville era in St. Louis around 22 years ago.
After taking over for the most hated coach in St. Louis history, Mike Keenan, Quenneville lead the Blues to seven straight playoff appearances, even if most of the endings included pure agony. When the team was in danger of missing the playoffs 61 games into the 2003-04 season, Coach Q was fired. Of course, things didn’t go great after that. Hello strike and three consecutive seasons of playoff-less hockey in St. Louis. Not the best laid plans.
It’s time for the Blues to right the wrong. Bring back Quenneville, who was fired by the Chicago Blackhawks today in a move that shocked Jonathan Toews as well as many around the game. When a guy wins three Stanley Cups and spends ten years in an organization, you don’t fire him in the first week of November.
Now, if you are in your third (second full stint) season as head coach in a town and still can’t break out of your childlike limitations as a leader, the ax should find you a lot quicker. Hey there, Mike Yeo.
Since the esteemed Robb Tufts made clear in blunt fashion earlier today, the answer to whether the Blues and Quenneville should have a reunion is a simple and emphatic YES. The only real question is how long it takes to come to fruition.
It almost makes too much sense. All you have to do is see what Coach Q did in his last environments. He took a Blues team in sudden disarray, and turned them into a playoff given. After a brief three year stint in Colorado with moderate success, he inherited a dumpster fire in Chicago, and created a dynasty that laid waste to plenty of NHL talent, including the Blues. Try and tell you or convince yourself that you didn’t get envious when Quenneville was launching F-bombs, yelling at referees, and walking around a mad general over there. I’ll admit to getting a semi down there.
Quenneville has the second-most wins in NHL coaching history at 890 and was the most tenured coach in the NHL last night. His firing follows the Los Angeles Kings making a change behind the bench, and all Blues fans can hope for is a third firing this week. I don’t care if the Blues win 7-0 tonight over the Carolina Hurricanes. I just don’t care.
There’s a poisonous demon inside this locker room, and it’s called stinky average timebomb chaos. Time for a change.
How impressive is Quenneville? When he took over for the Blackhawks ten years ago, Chicago hadn’t finished above third place in the Central Division in 12 years. They collected three playoff wins during that period before Quenneville showed up. During his second season as head coach, Chicago won its first Stanley Cup in nearly 50 years, and its first as the Chicago Blackhawks and not Black Hawks. Pretty impressive.
This idea sells itself. Most of the time, we have to dig into data and past history deeper in order to prove a point. When it comes to why the Blues should bring back Quenneville, the reasons are obvious and simple to identify.
The team is in trouble under Yeo, and a change is needed. Judging by the fact that Chicago finished first in the Central Division just two years ago, the man still has a way with players and can win. He also has an endless supply of fire and has zero fucks to give when it comes to feelings (sorry, Jake Allen) and tenure (not sorry, Jay Bouwmeester).
With no offense to other candidates, Quenneville is the best choice to succeed Yeo. The Blues have the roster. They need a legit head coach and not a pretender who is literally making up answers as he goes. Today, when announcing Bouwmeester was a healthy scratch, Yeo sounded like a substitute math teacher who got accidentally put with a history professor’s class, walking in with a clueless, “so, how about the Bay of Pigs? Kind of a big deal.”
I could make a bet and tell you Joel Quenneville would like nothing more than to get sweet cooled revenge on the Blackhawks by beating them as the head coach of the Blues...eight days after being let go. I think he’d be chomping at the bit to come back and bring some of that Cup madness to St. Louis too.
The white-haired lion returns to the place where he found his first taste of success. After years behind the enemy bench, the aging beast comes home to hoist the Cup for the first time under the Arch. I know I’m aroused.
I like the idea. You should too.
Hey Blues, show some self-respect and bring back Coach Q.