If only that were true.
Yesterday’s signing of Jordin Tootoo continues a trend which the Hawks themselves keeps having to disprove to themselves pretty much every single season. Before we delve further, let’s be clear that Tootoo is no guarantee to make the team, or to play regularly. However, there is the trend that Joel Quenneville has of trying to prove just how much smarter he is than everyone who has coached a player like this before. At least until the spring when he stops when someone locks in a room full of smelling salts and he comes to and actually starts playing a proper lineup (sometimes this doesn’t happen until May or June).
Let’s take a ride, shall we?
2008-2009: Joel “inherited” this roster after taking over four games into the season, though anyone who tries to tell you he wasn’t the planned coach from the word go is selling you something. Had Q not gotten caught doing the too-drinky-too-drivey in Colorado in the summer, he probably starts the season as Hawks coach. Anyway, you could also argue that Matt Walker was the designated “heavy” on this squad. He played 65 games that season, and mostly had Brian Campbell dragging his dead ass around the ice until Niklas Hjalmarsson first came up for air in March. He was awful, and eventually Q realized he couldn’t be trusted as much as an untested rookie (and Campbell took off after being paired with Hammer, probably the best player on the ice in the Vancouver series that year).
2009-2010: This was basically the only season where Q didn’t get to have some slob dress, as Tallon packed this roster so full of talent that there wasn’t really a spot for one. Sure, Ben Eager was an idiot but he could also play a little bit, and has a Stanley Cup Final winning goal to his name. Adam Burish was also flying around to every camera and microphone he could find, though back then he wasn’t a totally useless 4th liner and didn’t play all that much when things mattered. And he also did provide that moment with Eager in Game 2 against the Canucks where they were shown on the scoreboard yapping to Alex Burrows that basically sent the crowd into rapture. Sure, it was dumb but I still look back and smile.
2010-2011: And this is where it really starts. After the salary cap purge left the roster barren a bit, and feeling his oats with the higher ups after a Cup win and still a neophyte GM above him, this is when we really see thunder dolts used far too much in the lineup. If you want to make Fifth Feather spit on the floor, just ask him about banner raising night and John Scott falling down simply trying to skate backwards and Vatltieri Fillpula, barely able to contain his laughter, skated around his rotting corpse to pot a winning power play goal. Yes, Scott was used on the PK at all. Oh, and this season basically ended with Scott used on the power play (John Scott. On the power play. In the playoffs) taking a dumbass penalty that ended up being the winning goal to put the Canucks up 3-0. The next time someone tells you about Q being a great coach, remind them about this one ploy. It’s really the only argument you need. Scott played 40 games that year, and if you want to throw Nick Boynton’s name into the confab for the 41 he played, I won’t stop you.
2011-2012: Oh this was special. Jamal Mayers was signed, though he was thought to bring more than idiocy but didn’t really at the end of his career. Dan Carcillo was brought in but Q only got 28 games out of him before he blew out his knee trying to turn Tom Gilbert into paste from behind and illegally. John Scott played 29 games before Bowman traded him specifically to keep Q from playing him. This only caused the call-up of Brandon Bollig who actually scored a playoff goal. And this was also the season that Andrew Shaw became Q’s savior and long lost son at the same time. Maybe this team really did deserve to go out in the first round.
2013: You’ll recall that this season started with a returning Carcillo on the first line and Brandon Saad in the pressbox. Only a second knee injury to Car Bomb forced Q to bring in Saad to the top line, and he proceeded to tear a hole into the Earth. When the team took off there was little more Q could do, though Sheldon Brookbank was added to give him another thug (though he was actually pretty serviceable). Q even tried to fistfuck Bollig into the lineup in the playoffs, but couldn’t any more after his stone fucking hands turned the puck over in OT in Game 2 leading to the Bruins’ winner. A recurring theme.
2013-2014: Bollig played the whole season, except when it mattered and he skated barely five minutes per any playoff game. He was also on the ice to take the last faceoff of the season, which Handzus lost and he and Versteeg were unable to get the puck back and well you know how that one went. The Hawks’ eight forwards were unable to keep up with the Kings’ 12.
2014-2015: Car Bomb was brought back after the Penguins didn’t want anything to do with him in training camp, and he actually started really well in the season’s first two months. Then he turned back into Carcillo and was never heard from again. Didn’t play a single playoff game, Hawks won the Cup. But how could that be?
2015-2016: Brandon Mashinter was given the role of Q’s bouncer for most of the season. though he didn’t really fight all that much. He played about half a season, you won’t remember any of it, and the Hawks moved on trying to fill their fourth line with Panik and Desjardins and Weise and Fleischmann and the like.
And now Tootoo. We do this every year, where some jackass is brought in to fulfill the busted theories that Q still has about what a team needs, only to be discarded in the spring when everyone realizes the Hawks need to play with speed and skill. But hey, let’s keep letting Q make the personnel decisions. It’s gone so well…