GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Winning a Stanley Cup in a big city doesn't earn you much rope as a coach.
Less than two years removed from winning the first Cup since 1961 in Chicago, an 0-8-1 slump that spanned over three weeks in January and February led to rumblings that Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville's job might be in danger. But Chicago went 15-5-4 down the stretch and rolled up 101 points to safely land a playoff spot -- taking press off Quenneville that his players felt never should have been there.
"That was tough for the players to listen to," said winger Patrick Sharp, who had eight of his 33 goals in the stretch run. "Everyone has their opinion, and they have a right to voice it, but I know in our locker room there was no one asking for that or even he wasn't thinking about that.
"He's our leader. He's a guy we look to in every situation. He's got the experience. We won a Stanley Cup with him, and then you're hearing things that he might be fired?
"If that would have happened, all of us would have been upset with ourselves because we were the ones on the ice controlling the situation."
Sharp said Quenneville's calm demeanor during the skid, while fans and media stoked the fires, was a big reason why the players didn't panic as well.
"That's the thing that impressed us during the streak," Sharp said. "He didn't waver too much from his beliefs. We changed a few things, but he wasn't stressed out. He wasn't coming in with a beard like he hadn't shaved. He was getting his sleep. He was still the same old Joel -- just being patient and knowing we'd be a better team for it."