Coach Q Milkshake 1

Well, We’re Waiting – The Committed Indian.com’s Season Preview: Q (And The Axe Over His Head)

The last one, and perhaps the biggest storyline and question the Hawks having going into this season. And with the shortened version of it, the axis has gotten completely tilted. Does the cramped schedule make Q unfireable? Did his margin of error just shrink? Is Jamie Kompon really the bag of broken hammers that Kings fans say he is? It’s going to be fun finding out. And by “fun” I mean “not at all.”

First, we’ve been sitting on this little nugget for a while, and we can finally share it with you.

While we will shout at the sky until the Earth ends that we are not journalists, that doesn’t mean we don’t know some people we trust with some inside contacts who get stuff. The following story comes from a very reliable friend of the program.

During exit-interviews with players last year, a significant number of them made it clear to Stan Bowman that they’d like to see Mike Kitchen fired out of the nearest cannon. You can probably guess why. However, after Stan and John McDonough discussed it, it was decided that the chain of command in the organization shouldn’t be uprooted for this, and that actually makes sense. Your president hires the GM, the GM hires the coach (though not in this instance and that’s part of the problem), your coach hires his staff. It’s how things should work.

When Stan and McD advised Q that the players weren’t exactly thrilled with everything on the coaching staff, Q decided to can Mike Haviland and keep his stooge Kitchen, and get to bring in another of his stooges in Kompon.

Why? Anyone’s guess. Maybe he wanted to prove to the players they don’t run things and that he’s in charge. Maybe he wanted to thumb his nose at Stan — something he hasn’t hesitated to do in other ways. Maybe he had genuine problems with Havi. Maybe all of the above. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe go fuck yourselves.

It obviously puts Bowman in an odd position. Stan did not hire Q. He’s watched Q fuck with pretty much all of his acquisitions the past two years. However, Quenneville carries as much if not more water than Stan with the higher-ups, due to that Cup (though it’s looking more and more like he was a passenger and not a driver on that bus).

This is just my theory now, but it feels like all of this is Stan giving Q enough rope to hang himself, a theory I’ve put forth before. Stan’s line of thinking would be something like, “Well, my bosses aren’t ready to fire him yet, so I’ll let him have everything he wants and if he still fucks it up, the case is clear. If it works, then we’re winning and everyone’s happy. I get out of this clean either way.” Because no matter what you think of Bowman, every GM gets one coach-hire and Stan hasn’t gotten one yet.

Whatever went down this summer, Quenneville has some issues. He may have a dressing room already looking at him sideways. He’s got two special teams that are a shambles. And Q may have lost those players with his handling of it. Remember the second half of last season? Any player who had two good periods got a chance on the man advantage. Johnny Oduya got looks after scoring one goal against the Rangers. Andrew Shaw had two good games and suddenly was on the PP. Jamal Mayers moonlighted there, as did Steve Montador as a forward. That doesn’t feel like a coach trying to reward or spark. That sounds like a guy completely out of answers just throwing shit to the wall. Lack of cohesion was certainly one issue on the power play.

There were other problems. The constant line juggling a lot of times had the reverse effect it was supposed to, with players seemingly rolling their eyes instead of responding. There were rumors of arguments over defensive coverages and schemes between Q and Toews and some other players. The system of breaking out of the zone was fercockt, where the middle of the ice was completely ignored. The baffling decisions to ignore Lepisto and Montador for John Scott, and the now continued use of Brandon Bollig. Carcillo on the top six. The fucking with Michael Frolik. Most of all, teams that are completely committed don’t lose eight in a row, do they? This list could keep going.

For me, the key person to watch in all this is Jonathan Toews. As stated above, there were the rumored airing of grievances. After months of being a leading voice within the union, combined with being a bit older, there’s no question that Tazer is feeling his leadership oats these days. He’s certainly the unquestioned leader of this team.

Toews could snap the entire team to play for him if he wanted to. If he buys into what’s going on then everyone else will. That much is pretty clear. But what happens if Toews gets fed up with things (possibly again)? What if he thinks Kompon is a moron and sees the special teams turning into a drunken shit-demon again? What if Toews wants to test just how much strength he has in the organization? Because if he starts barking upstairs and it suddenly becomes a Toews vs. Q kind of thing, there’s only going to be one winner and it’s going to be by TKO. Hint: it won’t be the guy with the mustache.

Q’s got a mountain to climb here. Rocky has already lost 17 UC sellouts. He’s not going to look too kindly on getting only two, three, or four playoff home dates. I’m not sure just winning the first round will save Q’s job. He’s got special teams to dramatically improve, a re-committing to his defensive philosophies, and not a lot of time to instill it. And he’s got to do it with a team still weak down the middle, lacking a little size up front, and a goalie situation with huge question marks over it.

Best of luck, bud.

 

  • http://www.facebook.com/derlemke Mark Lemke

    Drama, drama, we don’t want no drama, drama

    • Sparky_The_Barbarian

      Winning will make a lot of the drama go away.

      Losing will square or cube the drama.

      • http://twitter.com/ChiNativeSon ChicagoNativeSon

        It’d be something awful, like this:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sq8VDXlWQk

        • Accipiter

          I don’t know what would be worse, living in a box or having to hear that song again.

  • http://twitter.com/oregon_hawk Oregon_hawk

    I don’t recall reading about this :

    “There were rumors of arguments over defensive coverages and schemes between Q and Toews and some other players.”

    before.

    Did i forget about that, or does that come from the same place the first chunk of info came from?

    Also – you guys fucking rock. You really do.

    • justforkicks

      i don’t remember any articles or anything about it

  • west_fulton

    hell yes. so goddamn happy yall are writing about real life adult hockey again. this season is going to nutty.

    • The Doctor

      I’ve been to nutty before. Not a bad place actually.

  • Accipiter

    Who do you guys think Stan Bowman would hire as coach if he had his way ?
    (if he could pick any one)

    • 10thMountainFire

      His father.

      • Accipiter

        Pick someone who will actually accept the job.

        • activestick

          Your son asks you to help him out. A lot of dads would probably do it.

          • Roy Batty

            That’s why Scotty is with us now, exactly why…he didn’t want to leave Detroit at all

            But I doubt anyone would want him as coach now

          • activestick

            Yea you guys are right, in this imaginary scenario if Stan ask Scotty Bowman to come on for one last hurrah on a shorten season/playoff run we wouldn’t want any part of that.

          • Accipiter

            Scotty is pushing 80 yrs old. I think his coaching days are over.

    • Sparky_The_Barbarian

      Eddie O?

      Oh, wait, you meant hire someone BETTER.

      Havi. If that bridge isn’t burnt.

      • http://twitter.com/oregon_hawk Oregon_hawk

        Wouldn’t that be a turn of events.

        Coach fires Asst., GM fires coach, hires Asst.

        Happy Havi would be smug-as-shit Havi.

        • http://twitter.com/ChiNativeSon ChicagoNativeSon

          Havi nagila, Havi nagila,
          Havi nagila, “Q-less” coacha!

  • Waylon

    If Q has indeed lost the locker room, then he’ll be gone mid – season if any extended losing streaks occur. I know it’s a truncated season, but I don’t believe the org will allow the core to waste on the vine another precious year. Oh, and Mike Smith can still eat a bag of dicks, that farking wussy.

  • MattC86

    You’re forgetting the other problem with Q: He’s hell on goalies. Always has been. A couple of rough spots from Crow and Q will mishandle him so badly this year that Crawford will never have confidence again. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em it’s gonna be a crazy (half) year.

    • cliffkoroll

      I sure hope this isn’t another year where we need Cirque de Soleil type contortionist skills to explain Crawford’s shortcomings.

      With no credible back-up, once again the Hawks sink or swim on Craw’s performance. Please be better. Please.

      • MattC86

        I sure hope the same. . . I’m not saying if he tanks I’ll blame it on Crawford. Just that we all know there will be some challenging moments for him this year even if he does well and Q could easily fuck that all up by playing his dumbass games.

    • http://twitter.com/ChiNativeSon ChicagoNativeSon

      Not sure what Q could have done differently in 2010, 11, or 12?

      Hard to argue he made the wrong decision in ’10 – & *he* didn’t lose Niemi.

      In 2011 Turco was pegged as starter. Starts: Oct-10, Nov-8, Dec-5, Jan-1.
      Q didn’t waste time doing what was necessary.

      In 2012, both goalies sucked. Hutton was on fire in the A, Huet was possibly a “so cray it might work” option, but *Stan* chose to go with the status quo.

      Maybe if his GM got him better goalies?

      • MattC86

        Not really referencing his Hawks tenure. More St Louis and Colorado. You’re right – he’s had plenty of bad goalies (hi, Roman Turek!) but he’s proven himself a poor handler of them. I didn’t like playing Crawford for the last like 30 straight games of ’11, and he’s done that with people at every NHL stop. When he’s not happy with the goaltending, he fires up the carousel, which is no good for the fragile mental psyche boys behind the mask. I just don’t trust him to handle any goaltending situation – even if the guy is playing great, he’ll play him into the ground,

        • http://twitter.com/ChiNativeSon ChicagoNativeSon

          The other side of your statements though:
          When not happy with the goaltending… continue playing the struggling goaltender.
          If the guy is playing great… sit him for a crappy backup when every point is needed.

          I understand there’s a middle ground, but in 2010, he gave Niemi, a rookie, every start possible at the end of the season to give him the needed experience heading into the playoffs. I actually didn’t like it at the time, but with the results, sometimes it’s necessary to alter one’s opinion.

          Last year Crow may have been the 2nd or 3rd worst starter in the league, but Emery was statistically the 2nd worst backup in the league. Hawks needed every point to make the playoffs after the losing streak. And they needed Crow to right the ship. Q gave him that chance to gain confidence. Crow failed there, not Q. Not sure what other options he had?

          On the other hand, about those not so special teams…

  • http://www.facebook.com/sean.thomas.75873708 Sean Keenan

    So, I’ll admit to having watched almost no Habs hockey outside of the playoffs. But I’m wondering if Scott Gomez would be worth a look?

    • Waylon

      No.

    • http://twitter.com/ChiNativeSon ChicagoNativeSon

      If they could get him for around $1M to 1.5M for a year, why not?

      He had an awful season last year, but he also missed 44 games, so maybe he was playing hurt. Even though his scoring has been down, he has the 2nd highest Corsi rating on MTL over the past 3 years – but he’s been the “unluckiest” too with the lowest PDO during that time.

      He’s always been a bad shooter, but a great passer/feeder and decent face-off guy. Maybe between Hossa and Sharp? And that would slot Bolland and Kruger back to where they’d be among the best in the league at their positions – not where they’re question marks.

  • Roy Batty

    Top 5 things you’ve ever written…I laughed, I cried, I believe The Captain will steer this ungainly ship into port

  • Accipiter

    @GinoRedaTSN: So Wade Redden will make his Prorated 5.6 Million dollar salary this year from the NYR, plus an additional $800,000 from the Blues.

    • M7

      Yeah, no too shabby eh? I was kind of hoping the earlier reports of him going to the Isles would’ve stuck. I hope I’m wrong but I’ve had a suspicion for a while that he could be a decent depth pickup for a team. He’s a nice guy, so from a personal standpoint I hope this allows him to finish his career with some vigor – but now that he’s joined the Blues I hope he gets exposed by the Hawks too.

      • Neal Schmidt

        100% prorated this year, 2/3rds for the remaining years.

      • Accipiter

        Yeah, when they mention the salaries in the contract the player signs are for the full 82G season. Player gets prorated amount for shorter 48G season.

  • Sparky_The_Barbarian

    Re “Stan giving Q enough rope to hang himself”

    There’s really nothing else Stan can do, unless Rocky would have let him fire Q last season. If the Hawks have playoff success, then Q becomes the acknowledged daddy. If he fails miserably, Stan may have the ammo he needs to make a change. The sixty four dollar question: What if it’s another frustrating, but not disastrous year?

  • guest

    RE: The Frolik Jerk-around

    Europe Update: Fro had 13 goals and 10 A in 30 games in the Czech league (for 35th in the league in points). He also was basically the only scoring his team had (they currently sit in last place, and for a long time he was the only + player on the team.. now he’s -1). For reference, David Krecji only had 16 goals so the league isn’t exactly man-among-boys for NHLers (of course, Jagr had 24 g and pulled Plekanec along for 21 of his own, but… Jagr is man-among-boys in the NHL ffs).

    I expect big things of Fro this year, hopefully modestly crushing skulls and carrying a team to the few wins they had gave him some of that old confidence to not make 100% awful shots.

    Maybe that’s wishful thinking because I’m the only person in Chicago to purchase a 67 jersey (it was in april 2011 and it was my birthday and sometimes people make poor decisions when they come back after seeing an overtime victory with overtime drinking).

    • flahawkfan

      I like Fro too and the thing I hate most about Q is the way he has fucked around with young players like Fro and Stalberg by benching them at weird times. No error, regardless of how small, goes unpunished for those two. Frolik could be (and to some extent is) a very good all-around player. He seems to have good instincts, he’s defensively responsible, and he’s capable of scoring. But he hasn’t progressed under Q. I could be completely wrong but I think Fro is one of those guys who could blossom under a different coach (which may happen if the Fro-haters get their way and the Hawks trade him).

  • JesusMarianHossa

    /stands
    //begins slow clap
    ///stamps on bleachers
    ////turns up thermostat

    Best of luck, indeed.

  • The Doctor

    I would rather have someone else coaching the Hawks. I used to be a big fan of Q because he seemed like a genius a few years back when he would hit the jackpot each time he used the random line generator. Lately it hasn’t been producing any results and the mismanagement of the roster (Scott, Bollig, Stals, Fro, etc, etc) is infuriating at times. And if what you say is true about the guys wanting Kitch gone and Q ignoring their call, it may mean he’s lost the locker room.

    However, him being let go mid season would imply a sub-par performance by the Hawks, which would be disappointing. Then there’s also the problem of finding a suitable replacement.

    • http://twitter.com/oregon_hawk Oregon_hawk

      If you think that Q has no future with the Hawks – that, ultimately, his coaching and the hawks roster just won’t work together, there is a strong argument towards cutting ties sooner rather than later. All that would be limiting this is Stan convincing the powers that be that this is the correct way to go (which, as stated in the OP, is a case much strengthened by the hawks not doing well under a fully-Q staff).

      If, on the other hand, the belief is that Q can right the ship if given full control, there is a strong argument towards letting Q stick through the season, whatever the start is like.

      I’d guess that it is really a question of where the minds of the GM and the President are. Also, where the mind of Toews is.

      This season should be interesting, above and beyond the hockey on the ice, regardless of wins and losses.

  • Hoss86

    A bit off topic, but for STH’s who may not have inquired: I just called my ticket rep and was told that refunds will be “processed in 4-6 weeks.” Asked why it was going to take so long, I was told they had to “calcuate the interest for everyone.” Putting aside what a miserable excuse that is, as anyone with an excel sheet and a basic understanding of interest could calculate the whole season ticketholder base’s interest in under an hour, does anyone else feel like the reason for the delay is to try to make it so that playoff invoices come out before refunds are issued and we are graciously given the “option” to just roll our refund into our playoff invoices?
    When I asked the rep, they were “unable to guarantee” that refunds would predate playoff invoices, even though they “expected it.” Not that I expected much different, thats just how this organization seems to operate, but it pisses me off.

    • cliffkoroll

      Just a thought: let’s show up Tuesday night and sit quietly in our seats throughout the game (#slientroar.) I think it would be awesome.

      Because, let’s face it, there’s really nothing else we CAN do except be pissed off. The Hawks’ STH waiting list grew during the lock-out. Simple supply and demand my friend. We are firmly grasped by the short hairs on this one.

      • guest

        Thankfully we’re not in Vancouver, as those aren’t the only hairs they pull! #hairpulleralexburrows #stillrelevant #silentroar

        • Joe Banks

          That’s not my hair!

  • Preacher000

    Q won a Cup, lost in the first round of the playoffs, and then lost again. The first loss can be blamed on the Capocalypse/Cup hangover/being the target/whatever, but the second year of early exit from the playoffs has to be damning for Q as a coach. The fact remains that Q has one of the most talented “cores” (been a while since we’ve used the “c” word, huh?) in the league. His inability to get the most out of this team will be his downfall. I can’t believe he’d get a pass this season just because it’s a shortened season. If there isn’t improvement (and I’m thinking it’s got to be at least to the Conference championship round) I don’t know how Stan can justify bringing him back. And the prime years of this group are flying by. If Q is here again next year, it better be because he’s a two-time Cup winning head coach.

  • Joe Banks

    Philip Danault just scored, Moncton 4, Cape Briton 0
    Rockin’ Chelsea’s Dagger…

    • Joe Banks

      Danault just assisted on goal number 5, still in the first. SOG 16-8 late in the first ouch.

  • http://twitter.com/ChiNativeSon ChicagoNativeSon

    “For me, the key person to watch in all this is Jonathan Toews. As stated above, there were the rumored airing of grievances.”

    Happy Fes-TOEWS-us!

    I’ll go get the pole out of the crawlspace.

    • Accipiter

      When are the feats of strength ?
      Checklist
      1 Festivus pole
      2 Festivus dinner
      3 Airing of Grievances
      4 Feats of Strength
      5 Festivus miracles

      • http://hesaid.midwestmentality.com/ JeromerInc

        When RoboPanda announces his return at Quick’s expense tomorrow.

  • Z-man19

    Pretty much concur with all of your thoughts. If half of what you say about the coach player relations is true, the hawks have problems. Things may be ok now but the first 3 game losing streak or when they have zero PP goals in 25 chances, things are going to go south real fast. I don’t think Toews will take his oats into Stan’s office to see how many bushels he has but I’m not sure he can drag his pissed off teammates to the WCF either. Going to be an interesting year.

  • justforkicks

    yikes, toews out with the flu today and saad centering hossa and carcillo at practice. hopefully tomorrow is better. also crow in net.

  • http://whatisthebestadverb.wordpress.com/ I am not Chico Maki

    Guess what that’s right TOMORROW!

    • cliffkoroll

      BONERTIME!

      /Fork’d

      • http://whatisthebestadverb.wordpress.com/ I am not Chico Maki

        I know! BONERS! It’s there in my pants and FOUR HOURS MORE.

  • capra

    for you Facebookers

  • cliffkoroll

    Been battling baleful Blackhawks blue balls.

    I swear it feels like Christmas Eve and I’m eight years old.

    Fuck!

    Also, I know it’s endless conversation fodder, but Q ain’t goin’ anywhere before this season ends.

    • Sparky_The_Barbarian

      Agreed. The playoffs will make him or break him.

    • Z-man19

      I disagree, a 5-6 game losing streak and a listless PP, assuming no major injury issues, it’s auf weirdersehen for the stache.

      I do concur on the Christmas Eve feel to the evening

  • QCBlackhawk

    Very well-written piece. I really hope the special teams situation gets better grounded than last year. So frustrating watching teams be able to foul us with impunity because they had no payback on the scoreboard to fear.

    Also, I’m crawling back out of the woodwork since hockey is back. Good to see familiar names around here .
    -The artist formerly known as ForAllYouYoungHockeyMoms

  • 2883

    Going to have to listen to the game tomorrow on the road… blah Parents

  • ballyb

    Hard to blame soft goals on the coach. Oh, and a one legged goalie.

    • Toews still makes funny faces!

      You can however blame idiotic pairings and lineups in front of a average to below average goalie(s) on the Coach, to make the bad more worser. You can also place at least partial blame on a disfunctional locker room depending on the root cause, once again if it is dumb rooted stupidity on on-ice handling and coach selections, that is all the coach at that point!

  • Special Agent Dale Cooper

    Great write up Sam!!!
    Laughed my ass off when I saw the part of players wanting Kitch the Bitch being shot out of a cannon!
    And everything you wrote makes sense….It really does seem like Stan is giving Q the rope to hang himself…But honestly I think what I and many around here are hoping for is an upgrade at the C position, not necessarily 2nd line, because I think Bolly can handle it, but someone that can win some faceoffs, and take some PK minutes away from Tazer…This team calls itself a puck possession team, yet they don’t have the guys to win FO’s to be a puck possession team…The addition of Madden the year when they won the Cup was a genius move, albeit a small one, but I can remember games where MadDog was 10 for 11 at the dot, and it was a good reason they had such a good penalty kill…Really hope they make a trade or two to address that, or bring up the Danault kid, I’d bet a couple hundred dollars he could win more faceoffs than Bolland or Kane

  • PainSt

    I like Q
    clearly bowman’s of the opinion that the hawks underperformed last year and thats definitely on Q
    if they underperform again then that is on Q
    but the last time i looked Q didnt stop any pucks and didnt take any shots on net
    look at toew’s and kane’s stats from the last two first round playoff exits and tell me again how its all Q’s fault
    those two have the power to throw Q under the bus by their play alone
    my bet is that they trust Q no matter what assistants are carrying Q’s bags
    bowman’s free agent aquisitions have been busts up and down the line
    Q gave montador (if not lepisto) every chance to succeed
    worst thing you can say about his roster management is that he has a soft spot for goons and he plays his best horses too much
    i expect Q to do better with toi management
    i expect crawford and bickel to shake off sophmore jinxes and become exceptional pros (now)
    i expect toews to be toews and hossa to be hossa (still)
    i expect kane to be a god (finally)
    i expect teams that have routines of giving their players lots of time off (like Q does) to have a clear advantage
    I expect the pp to be average (improved) and the kill to be much improved
    and i expect them to win the damn cup

  • Gozer the Traveler

    Rosen posted a story abour kaner on nhl.com. do yourselves a favor and don’t read the comments. http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=651252&navid=nhl:topheads

  • BigCSouthside

    In a nice little “Fuck you” to me, the NHL has decided that its obviously more important to locally broadcast the motherfucking penguins instead of just nationally broadcasting the team that won their goddamn championship last year playing one of the oldest teams in the fucking sport.

    Seriously. Fuck this.

    • justforkicks

      I am in the same boat BigC. Fucking pissed. At least it is streaming on NBCSports.com and NHL.com, but I was really hoping to see it on my big screen instead of my laptop.

      • BigCSouthside

        same, I was looking forward to non streamed NHL

    • Accipiter

      Isn’t NHL centre ice free for the first week ? Watch it there.

    • http://whatisthebestadverb.wordpress.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      Wait wait wait. That’s just in Chicago, or all areas east??? I’m heading to a friend’s to watch NBC, thinking the Hawks were on. Anyone know what’s happening on the east coast?

      • justforkicks

        little late but i’m on the east coast, they started out with the hawks then switched to pens-flyers. gonna have to finish out the game on the feed

  • Accipiter

    So, what is everyone up to today ? Any plans ?

  • Joe Banks

    Toews has the flu??? I remember once when Walter Payton had the flu… and once when Michael Jordan had the flu…