CHICAGO -- Joel Quenneville wasn't going to let it drag on for another minute.
After watching 21-year old Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad steadily spiral downward through the second half of the regular season, the coach of the NHL's defending champion addressed it with four games left. Quenneville, who coached the Blackhawks to Stanley Cup titles twice in four seasons, handled it the same way he has with most players in similar circumstances.
He benched Saad on March 6 for a big game against the St. Louis Blues at United Center, sending an unmistakable message to the player. It didn't matter that top forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were out with injuries.
Saad sat, and the message was received.
"There are elements and there's a process to get to the point where you don’t play," Quenneville said a couple days after Chicago beat St. Louis, 4-2. "It's not like it was just a rash decision."