What does the Kompon Hiring say about Quenneville and his future?

What does the Kompon Hiring say about Quenneville and his future?

If you have read this blog before, then you know my stance on Q. I have fears around his level of coaching competence. Lets see, he uses players so very wrongly, over plays certain ones while never giving others the shot they deserve, the lack of team cohesion is overwhelmingly obvious, the defensive positioning a joke, along with the power-play, and I never hear him say the right thing in an interview, just to name a few things, and believe me that there is more.

The Haviland firing was certainly interesting, and now Q replaces Havi with another one of his buds from St. Louis. Could things get any worse within the administration? Well, lets talk about it for a moment. But first, read these 2 posts on the internet that give weight to my argument. First is a nice little diddy at Second City Hockey about Kompon, and then another at ESPN about the dysfunction in the administration. Wow, huh?

Yep, even though I was blasted at Second City Hockey 2 years ago for saying very similar things, the hockey world has finally come over to my side and see the incompetencies of Mr. Q. But what does all of this recent hiring and firing nonsense mean?

It seems my worst fears are correct. I have personally wanted Q gone since the moment he came over, and it was hard for me to take the reality of the contract handed to him after winning the Cup. I saw all of this, well, most of it coming in terms of the Hawks performance. Without a Blockbuster roster, the Hawks were looking at some serious systemic concerns. I just figured that 2 off seasons would allow Havi to step up and into Q's spot.

Now we are left with a choice between two evils. In one evil, the Hawks fail as a team, but lose the bad weight caused by an inconsistent coaching staff, maybe to do better in the following years. But, can the Hawks and fans handle that and which players get thrown under the bus, or get wrongfully traded? In the other, the Hawks do fairly well with their strong roster, beefed up by prospects and a few well placed signings or trades. But, they are never quite good enough to win it all, and face many years of inconsistent results, and early exits from the playoffs. I am not happy with either of the scenarios.

Why, because there is dysfunction in the organization. I was trying to deny it, but it does seem to me that you are either in the Quenneville camp, or the Bowman camp, and both sides have powerful players. Can the team survive this family feud?

The hiring of Kompon tells me a few more things. It lets me know that Q is not even as smart as I thought, and that he might truly believe he can fix this team with his hockey know-how. Or, maybe he knows how strong of a roster he really has, and just assumes the players will save his job with an awesome performance this year. This just might happen, but hiring a guy who was a part of the problem in LA, and part of a power-play problem on top of it, speaks about the motives behind Q's choice. Now, not only do I not think he can coach, but I also question his ethics. As a business owner, and long time manager of people, I can say without a doubt that it is never a good idea to hire your friends on that basis alone.

My predictions, or maybe this is more of a hope; the Hawks start off strong and quickly start falling because of the same old, same old. Q gets let go somewhere around late December and the team gets their act together by the playoffs. It might be more of a hope.


Filed under: View from the Bench


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  • You want to know what is really sad? If Q gets canned now with these two bench jockeys he has, who would step up in the interim? It should be a clean sweep … Haviland should never have been let go … that's on upper management for allowing it to happen. In the same breath they turn around, speak out of the other side of their mouth and promote Al MacIsaac and extol the virtues of promoting within.

    Tallon, Dudley, Chevy, and Bergevin were all good hockey men who found it prudent to move on. Some for good reason, but I'm almost certain there are other reasons too. My only wish is that Q was allowed to go with Bergevin to Montreal. This management team is painfully shy on "hockey people" and it is beginning to show. Sad, so sad.

  • First and foremost - thoughts and prayers to those in Colorado.

    Haviland seemed like a real nice guy, but in one respect, I'm glad he's gone. When the ax finally does fall on Q, his whole staff will go with him and we will get a true fresh start. I tend to think that all along, the Bowmans have had their eyes in a different direction. Considering that SB had to blow up the team that won the cup and considering he had a pile of young talent he wanted to bring forward, I can see a train of thought wherein they really didn't have much to lose in extending Q while SB rearranged his roster only to let him go later. Was Q really the guy the Hawks wanted for a cup run? Maybe, maybe not. I tend to believe no one expected them to make that huge leap to the WCF and once they did, they decided they needed " a veteran guy" to bring it home. I'm not sure Savard wins it, but that team had gelled and was going to be strong no matter what.

    I keep thinking about Phil Jackson. A lot consider his zen stuff to be a bunch of bullshit, but I feel like that guy was incredible at getting the most out of his players year after year. Moreover, a lot of his motivation involved what he did OFF the court. Did he change something on court each year going to the finals? I'm not enough of a basketball guy to answer that honestly, but I'm inclined to think that he didn't. Teams knew what the Bulls were going to do night in and night out, and they continued to get away with it. For some reason, the Hawks have not.

    Every NHL coach seems to have a shelf life and at some point, I think the players just stop giving a fuck for what a particular coach has to say and perhaps the Hawks have reached that point with Q. I do believe this year will be Q's last year and quite possibly, he could be gone mid season. What happens after that, who knows. The one coach I would love to see come here is currently employed and likely won't be leaving his post anytime soon. After him, there are not a lot of guys out that really excite me. On the downside guys, if you don't trust Bowman, will you really be happy with anyone he hires after he fires Q?

    I'll say this, if the team stays healthy early on and SB drops the ax right about mid season, the emotional spike the team gets could be enough to shoot them right into the finals. Prediction - not that it has any bearing on the Hawks, but I don't believe LA is going to stand strong all season being the team every other team wants a piece of.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    Not that it will happen, but, that was, sort of, my point. If Q gets ousted in mid-season, who will replace him? It's been done before (see Hitchcock and Sutter last year) that someone completely new comes in, but is that a good move mid-season? Apparently so, if we go by last year's results.

    I agree, Haviland was a likeable guy and apparently the players felt that way too. Time will tell whether or not his removal has an impact on the team—much the same as when Tallon was removed. For those players that have been around through all of it, it must have some impact on their feelings about the organization. We'll see …

    Look, coaching, in my mind, is a lot like teaching. It is mostly over-rated. We impart information, but, it is up to the student to accept, reject, or utilize said information. When you teach the same students class-in and class-out, and the same things over and over, things get tiresome in a hurry unless you're extremely adaptable and entertaining. Then again, there's sometimes just the right chemistry between students and teacher and the lessons flow and there's a good rapport, learning is palpable and there's a growth in the student that makes teaching so rewarding. Sometimes, though there's not. This is where Q fails in my books.

    Q fails as a motivator, someone with interesting concepts/game plans and as he fails as a teacher. He (and this is my opinion only) is too steadfast in his ways, pays little heed to the individual learning styles of his players and does not promote a positive atmosphere which is conducive to learning. In other words, he is like the technology instructor who uses a textbook from the 80s and tries to convince the students that he is current. A long winded way of saying too Old School, and too inflexible. In his mind, it is hard to argue against him because he has such an outstanding record.

    He expects his students to be flexible and adaptable, but only to his way of thinking. This does not encourage growth in the individual. He panders to his A students and the rest—well, they're hopeless …

    So, the result is what we're seeing with this current squad. The two-tiered classroom. The A students have been classified and they no longer have to earn their grades—because they're A students. They receive all the attention. The rest of the class has to figure it out with little or no support from the teacher. Worse, they have to do it using his outdated methodology because there's no room for new ideas in Qs classroom.

    It's time for a new textbook and new methodology. It's time to put all of the students on the same level and make each and every one of them earn their grades, time to encourage growth as individuals with specialized skill sets, and time to allow them to utilize those different skill sets and to foster an environment where the sum is greater than the individual parts. I think that's what they call a team.

    Qs thinking and methods of delivery have to change or …

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Could not have said it better!
    And, thanks for making the teacher connection. Coaching is teaching. Having played more than my fair share of competitive hockey, having stood in front of a classroom of my own, operated large-scale businesses, and own and operate my own; I understand the managing of a system, of people, and of hockey. I also know what it takes to motivate students and athletes. Motivating is really what it takes in any field. Hire the right people, and motivate them to excel with a good game plan and organized environment. In the classroom, you have sometimes build elements that were never there, but it starts at motivating a person to want more for themselves, and creating an atmosphere conducive to it. Of course, you have to know what you're selling too. What you just stated is exactly what I have seen from the Hawks and of Q.

  • The best teachers I remember back from school were the ones who got me to be interested in shit I previously could have cared less about. And right now, I have to agree, Q doesn't seem to have all of his players interested in the same things at the same time. The two tiered class is a good analogy, Q seems to interact best and most with the guys at the top and clearly doesn't hold them as accountable as he does a player lower down the line. Two coaches I will be interested in watching this year will be Hitch and Sutter to see if it's possible for them to keep the attention of their teams.

    Objectively, I don't know if the money and success makes it tougher to coach these guys. Yeah, they have played hockey all their lives, but in just two examples of Kane and Toews, the gap in maturity can be stunning. Having never played organized hockey, I have no idea how coaching there has changed, if at all. The one and only coach I sorta worked with in a weekly hockey clinic, who also coached a lot of kids, seemed to take it pretty seriously and commented on the need to read other things and keep evolving. I'm inclined to think Q is a little too old school to change or at the least, is probably not willing to stick with trying new things if he doesn't have instant success at it.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    MIndless musing on a hot summer night.

    "The best teachers I remember back from school were the ones who got me to be interested in shit I previously could have cared less about."

    LOL, how'd they do it? With a yardstick?

    I had a typography instructor who use to walk by my desk and say things like "if I see you doing that again, I'll cut your fingers off." I got the message and excelled in that class.

    "Objectively, I don't know if the money and success makes it tougher to coach these guys."

    How would your life change if you won a couple of million? I know mine would? How about your attitude toward your job or your boss?

    Seriously, I've said it before, they've been to the mountain and slayed the dragon with (or, IMO, regardless of) Q. Remember my Chet Baker "you can't go home again" and Donna Summer "lush life" retort to your Coltrane metaphor a month or so ago. That's what I was saying exactly, although, I still don't have a clue what you were saying, lol! I meant to ask. Hidden in all that was it's time for a change. The whole organization has grown stale, IMO. Q would be the place I effect the change.

    As for Toews and Kane, it's American vs Canadian. Most Canadians are stuffed shirts compared to Americans. If you ever come to Canada you'll notice the difference immediately. We used to drive to Buffalo to party on weekends 'cause the American girls were much more fun. You're right Vegas, there's a maturity gap there. Toews, university educated, Kane went straight to the OHL. Kanes a player, Toews a one-woman guy. Toews is a captain, Kane's a player. That may never change.

    Q has a great coaching record. The one thing he always has had is "loaded" teams. Look at the rosters he had in St. Louis and Colorado. Mostly veterans. The other thing that doesn't get talked about is the lack of playoff success his teams had. He could never beat the elder Bowman in Detroit. He has never beaten the Wings in a series and if we had played them in the cup year, who knows. He's not the right man for this team, not right now.

    Back when I played organized hockey it was much the same as Q. The best players got to play more because the rest of us weren't good enough and it was all about winning. Nowadays, there are more concerned/involved parents and everyone gets the same ice time and they emphasize a team concept. Every once in a while you get one of the parents who lives vicariously through their kid and thinks his kid is being impeded from getting a shot at the NHL because of the coach and he goes ballistic on the poor guy. When I used to take my step-son to hockey practices the coach once told me that 1 out every 400,000 kids that take up the game ever make it to the bigs. I'm not sure about those numbers but I bet he's not far off.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Ha! Some teachers were so boring, they couldn't have beat knowledge into me with a stick. No, it mostly came down to charisma and genuine desire to teach. Some people love to teach, others do it because they're smart and can't find somewhere else to fit in society. You can usually tell the difference. As a weird aside, I thought I read a story once about Q where he was about to become a stock broker before winding up in coaching. Meh, he'll get another or several more jobs likely before he calls it a career.

    As for Coltrane, well, it was more or less a simple metaphor about peaking. The same four guys who made A Love Supreme in 64 were still together a year later (roughly) when they recorded Om. The former is an incredibly deep statement while the latter was rumored to be recorded on an LSD trip. It sure sounds like it. Baring a new sense of motivation, I'm not real hopeful this core as it is will hit a comparable peak to the cup run. Not the same way anyhow.

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