This story appeared in the 2010 spring edition of Blackhawks Magazine, the official game program of the Chicago Blackhawks. You can get your copy by calling the Blackhawks Store at 1-800-GO-HAWKS.
You scored a career-high 10 goals for the Colorado Rockies in 1980-81. What was your best move?
I used to try to sneak in off the point, right into that slot area, and then maybe get a lateral pass or one from behind the net – whether it was a one-timer or not. I’d just kind of find those little gaps coming off the point. Your last year of pro hockey was 1991-92, as a player/assistant coach for St. John’s (AHL). How did that work?
It was fun. Marc Crawford was the coach, and I made the All-Star team that year. Our team was good. The last game I played was Game 7 of the Calder Cup Finals and not one team won a home game, so we lost Game 7 at home. Basically with Marc I would be around him all the time. It was just the two of us as coaches, but when the game started I would be one of the players. It was a good way to make the transition from a player to a coach. It was a fun way to end [my career] and to start it. Who was your hockey idol growing up?
Bobby Orr. No question.
Best coach you ever played for?
I had some great coaches. I was fortunate to start with Roger Nielson in Toronto. Then when I became a head coach in St. Louis I got to work with him again, so I got a lot of good exposure with Roger, a very good student of the game. I learned a lot from him in the way he prepared everybody. I had Jack Evans in Hartford and it’s amazing how many guys off that team are coaching in the league or are assistants. Don Cherry was very entertaining... I could touch on all of them, but I think you learn a little bit of something from everyone. What was the best coaching advice you ever got?
One thing about Roger is that he was very organized. I always try to give the guys as much information as possible, but at the same time try to keep it as simple as possible. So you’ve got to find that balance. Being a former player, I understand that you’ve got to let them play hockey, but at the same time have a purpose.
Some of your players have game night rituals or superstitions. Do you?
|Quenneville (and his trademark mustache) in 1979. |
I used to be very superstitious as a player. As a coach now it would be tough to get through the day with all the different superstitions. Roger was the guy who got me off of it. He’d tell me there’s already too much to worry about. Favorite movie?
I liked “Seabiscuit.” Favorite band or singer?
Oh, “The Who.” Which current Blackhawk is most likely to be a coach one day?
Well, it’s always tricky because nobody in a million years thought that I would be one. I think we’ve got a lot of guys here who understand the game. [Marian] Hossa is a pretty good student of the game. Goalies always seem to get consideration. Defensemen get to see a lot of the game, as well, from the back end. But I’d go with Hoss.
How long have you had the mustache?
Probably since I was about 20. I shaved it once, maybe when I was 23 with the Rockies, but it wasn’t off for long.