There’s perhaps no more coveted free agent in hockey, William Nylander aside, than former Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville these days. The recently fired three time Stanley Cup champion has gone quiet since being relieved of his duties earlier this month, but the speculation is that Quenneville will be back behind an NHL bench before too long. Quenneville’s 890 career wins put him second on the NHL’s all time wins list behind only the legendary Scotty Bowman. Surely Quenneville would enjoy chasing down Bowman’s record, but by staying home and NOT signing with another NHL team, Quenneville guarantees himself a salary of $6 million both this season and next season.
While Coach Q’s competitive drive may push him back behind the bench sooner rather than later, he has financial incentive to sit back and see how things play out. With that in mind, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, wonders if Quenneville might be the perfect fit for Seattle’s NHL team, if and when the city gets expansion approval from the NHL’s board of governors next month.
Check out some of these quotes taken from Baker’s latest column for the Times:
There’s speculation the coveted Quenneville was fired in hopes he’d take a new job right away and absolve the rebuilding Blackhawks of his remaining salary owed.
But from what I’ve heard, he won’t be grabbing anything quick. And that leaves an opening for NHL Seattle to secure a marquee name.
Of course, long time NHL head coach Dave Tippett is already a senior advisor with the Seattle group, leading many to believe that Tippett is first in line for the head coaching gig when the team is made official. Not so fast though, says Baker. Apparently Tippett has had a change of heart. Check it out:
And he has a clear tie within NHL Seattle, where his former Hartford Whalers teammate of seven seasons, Dave Tippett, is a senior adviser. Tippett recently had been mulling a return to coaching – having previously coached the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes – but has decided he’ll remain in the new Seattle team’s front office rather than seek its bench job.
“I really like what I’m doing right now,’’ Tippett told me last week.
The team will announce Tippett’s new executive role sometime soon. For now, the focus is on getting the team’s business side operational for when a franchise is awarded by the NHL Board of Governors in Sea Island, Ga., next month.
Interestingly enough, Baker pressed Tippett on whether or not Quenneville would be a good fit in Seattle. Tippett’s cryptic answer:
Tippett also said he doesn’t think Quenneville will grab a new job right away. Asked about Quenneville fitting here, all he’d say was: “He’s a really good coach.’’
Fire up the rumor mill. Coach Q to Seattle? It certainly seems like there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence to support the theory. Time will tell.