HINSDALE – Joel Quenneville had an extensive hockey playing career that spanned 14 NHL seasons, plus time in other professional leagues.
But in Chicago, he is known more for what he does behind the bench than on the ice.
When the Hinsdale resident coached the Blackhawks to the 2010 Stanley Cup, he helped end a 49-year championship drought, which was the longest in hockey at the time. In June, Quenneville guided the Blackhawks to another title, and they will look to repeat again next season when training camp opens Sept. 12.
SUBURBAN LIFE: Has there been any down time for you this summer?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: It's been a very short summer. We went back to Connecticut for a couple weeks, and it felt nice to get away.
SL: What was it like to bring the Cup to the Hinsdale Fourth of July parade?
JQ: That wasn't my day with the Cup, but I was fortunate that the Cup was in town that day and I was able to bring it to the parade. It was a great parade. There was a nice turnout and there was a lot of enthusiasm from everyone.
SL: What was it about the 2012-13 team that allowed it to start and finish the season so well?
JQ: It was a condensed year and we had no idea how things were going to start. I think the guys had a great mindset all year. We had a couple of goals that we set forth. We wanted to be tough to play against, we wanted to keep the puck out of our zone and we wanted to see our special teams improve. The guys' approach was great. We got off to an amazing start, and you have to commend the guys' approach the whole season.
SL: What moment most defines last season for you?
JQ: I think that this year was one of those years that was just so unbelievable. We played at a high rate but we didn't have to face much adversity. Being down 3-1 to Detroit [in the playoffs], and I thought we were playing better than we did [in the series] against Minnesota, but being down and then winning Game 5 and having the belief going into Game 6 —this team had something. We worked our way through it and got back to our winning ways.
SL: Are you going to miss playing Detroit six times a year now they are in the other conference?
JQ: That rivalry has been tremendous. We've had some great games with them, two of them being Game 7 [of the playoffs] and the regular season game in Detroit [2-1 shootout win]. There's passion in the rivalry between the cities and the fan bases. It's electrifying. Hopefully we get to play them in not too long in the playoffs [in the Stanley Cup Finals].
SL: How is the short offseason going to impact your chance to repeat as champions?
JQ: Our league is so competitive. Anybody can beat anybody else at any time. Look at Boston. They were down three goals in Game 7 [against Toronto] and came back to win. Things are so close. Now the division rivalry is part of the playoffs. We're going to continue to be the target, but I like the group we have here. Guys want to be here, and they want to win. That's their competitive juices. They always have something to prove.
SL: How did the 2010 title and 2013 title compare?
JQ: They were different, but they were both nice. They were two different teams. The core was in place, but at the same we had so many guys on the team who were new to winning the Cup, so it was to have them experience that. The depth of the team might have been higher in 2010, but this group had more contributions across the board and more balance.
SL: How will the Olympic break factor into this season?
JQ: We'll probably look at it a lot like last season when rest was so important and practice time was down a little bit. We had to rest guys and manage minutes to make sure they were ready to play down the stretch. For guys that compete in the Olympics, I think that's going to be the reality again. We'll see how it plays out, but after the Olympics we might have to manage minutes even more for the guys that play.