CHICAGO -- Joel Quenneville acknowledged some uncertainty about his future as coach of the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.
"As a coach, [getting fired] can happen at any moment. That's all part of our business. It's the way it goes," Quenneville said at the annual Blackhawks Convention. "We're in the winning business, and as a coach, that's the only way we think, is winning the next game. The other stuff, we can't control. We're fighting to get two points, getting the guys ready to play and playing right. That's our job, and I can't think of the other things."
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On June 4, Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz told Crain's Chicago Business that "nothing lasts forever" and changes could occur after the holidays if Chicago wasn't doing well. But on Friday, Wirtz told the Chicago Sun-Times he believes in Quenneville and Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman, and that he wasn't sending a message to them with his earlier comments.
"You see a lot of these decisions [around the NHL] are made at the spur of the moment. It's something that I hope we never get to," Wirtz said. "As long as I'm around, we're never going to allow ourselves to be that way."
As often as the Blackhawks have made changes to their roster, usually to create space under the NHL salary cap, they have had stability at coach and in the front office. Quenneville was hired Oct. 16, 2008, and Bowman was hired July 14, 2009. The results were consistent, too, until last season, when Chicago finished seventh in the Central Division (33-39-10) and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007-08, the season Wirtz became chairman.
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Bowman said pressure is "nothing concrete, it's just what people perceive."
"We can't control what other people are thinking or saying. We just have to stay focused on how we try to improve our team," he said. "We all want to do well and this is why we do this. We're part of the Blackhawks because we want to win. Everybody, from the front office to coaches to players, there's no other thing we want other than to be successful. The expectations are there, and understandably so.
"But it's not something you sit and talk about or fixate on. Because at the end of the day, when you perform well, that other stuff all takes care of itself."
In 10 seasons with the Blackhawks, Quenneville is 446-243-93 and won the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015. He's the second-winningest coach in NHL history (884-526-134 with 77 ties also coaching the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche) behind Scotty Bowman (1244-573-10 with 314 ties).
There will be pressure this season, but Quenneville, who turns 60 on Sept. 15, said he is too focused on getting results to pay attention to it.
"As a coach, you're in the winning business. That's what you're here for and that's what you want to do," he said. "I think everybody has the same motivation to win and the final results are being a playoff team and trying to be champions. That's where we're at."