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June 4, 2015

Joel Quenneville

TAMPA, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q.  Joel, how would you describe the change or evolution of your coaching style since you came to the Blackhawks, if it's changed at all.
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  I've been comparable throughout the years.  Over this stretch here with the Blackhawks, I think you're a little bit more familiar with the players.  I think there's a little bit of history between the two of us.  I think we've grown in different ways.  But different challenges along the way.
The one thing is, the thing you appreciate as a coach, is the commitment to playing all out, to try to be better every single day, try to make the people around you better.
I think that core group really enhances that.  I've been fortunate along the way to work with these guys and grow with them as well.
But pretty consistent I think in the overall approach with the team, the way we've done things in the past.

Q.  I talked to a former coach and GM who thought your success comes from being a hybrid between the players' coach and hard‑line coach.  Do you think that's fair?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  Well, whether it's balanced or not, I think being yourself is probably being part of it.  Challenging your team, holding them accountable, being consistent, lines of communication being open and direct.  That's something we try to be consistent at.
But I think it's really been a good experience in Chicago coaching this group because you know the leadership and consistency of the team's demeanor.  How we've come to play every single game is reinforced by how the top guys come to play.

Q.  Housekeeping questions.  Do you expect Trevor to play in Game2?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  He could play.  We'll see.

Q.  Did Kris Versteeg play well enough that he might stay in the lineup regardless of whether Bickell is ready or not?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  I liked his game.  He had good pace to his game.  Good energy.  Hadn't played in a while, as well.  Coming off a couple exciting days.  It was good for him yesterday.  I liked what he did.  So good chance he's playing.

Q.  Joel, what is harder, making the decision to bench your number one goalie or going back to him and letting him know you still have confidence in him?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  Well, we talked about that word before, 'benching'.  It's not really benching with a goalie when we made the change (laughter).
It was an opportunity.  Scottie came in and played an amazing game for us, the last how many minutes it was in the Nashville Game1.  Obviously he was a big factor in the win.  Came back in Game2 with Corey.  We didn't win again.
Based on more of how Darling has played in the game, he got another chance.  He did well in Games 3 and 4 at home.  Didn't win Game5.  We still thought he was playing well, didn't deserve to come out of the net.
We talked to Crow and Corey right off the bat there, Let him know, you know, Stay with it, you're going to get an opportunity here.  I think that's part of it.  I think there's healthy competition between our goalies.  There's a lot of support between the two of them.
I think our goaltending situation was outstanding this year.  I think you could argue, how could you pull out Crow the way he played all year?  It was more so what Scottie did.  It was an opportunity for him.  Corey came back in the net and has been rock solid since.

Q.  With Antoine Vermette when he first got here, off to a rough start.  His last two goals have been game winners.  Is this the Vermette you were hoping to see when you acquired him?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  Yeah, he's definitely improved as the playoffs have gone on here.  Those two goals were huge goals for us.  Very timely, as well.  I think his play has picked up.  He's been better in the faceoff circle.  That line has been improving as we've gone along here.  They've scored some big goals, have some offensive zone time.  I like his progression here.
It seems like the bigger the games, the more he's up to the challenge.

Q.  Now that you got the one you needed here in Tampa, what would it mean to get the second one going into Chicago?  Is there ever a chance this team would ever be overconfident after a win like last night?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  No chance of being overconfident.  I think we need to play Game2 like it's a must‑win game.

Q.  The Toews line was a little less than effective than it had been in the previous two games.  Was there anything you saw the Lightning doing?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  A couple times I had Kaner back with Richie and Steeger.  Steeger gives you that versatility as well.  Hossa can go back with Johnny.  We'll see how that plays out.  They'll still visit each other over the course of the game with some shifts.
Last night's game, no matter what line we're talking about, I think all the lines seemed to improve as the game progressed.

Q.  Teuvo's three goals in the playoffs have been so‑called two seeing‑eye singles and a bleeder against Andersen.  What is it about players like him that have a knack for getting scores like that or is it coincidence?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  Top players are top players because they obviously produce, they have the puck a lot, they can make plays.  I think that's one of his strengths.
One of his strengths is sometimes he looks for a lot of plays, maybe looks for the perfect play.  We try to encourage him to just get pucks through.  Getting pucks in the net can result in action at the net.  Sometimes they go in.  Last night was exactly what you're talking about.
But we had traffic.  Looking for the perfect play with not a lot of time is tough.  Usually leads to turnovers.  We try to stress that with our team game as well.
Very timely goals by him.  But getting more of a shot mentality to his game.
I think Kaner's evolution, he always could make plays, great with the puck.  When he starts getting to be a threat to shoot, there's a lot of coverage issues for the opponents.

Q.  Can you run through the thought process as a coach for when you trust a 20‑year‑old to either play or play a lot or play not a lot or when you don't trust him?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  That's a good question.  Every case is probably different.
I think we trust players more when they play the right way.  It's more what they do defensively, how they handle pucks in safe plays, their positional awareness, their strength in the puck areas.
Guys get pucks out on the walls, can protect pucks.  A good illustration, guys you trust, he stripped that puck for the goal to get over to Vermy on the second one.  Little plays like that.  But he's got a quick stick, a good awareness.  I think that's who you're talking about.
But situations like that, you know, I think with time you can trust him in different situations.  We had him out there late in the game.  But that's from the history part.  That's the evolution of trusting him and putting him in situations before.  But you earn that.
The thing is last night was a good example of putting him out there based on what he's done for us recently.  We like the progression.

Q.  With Teuvo, how much have you seen him grow off the ice and even more personally you talked about him on the ice?  How impressed with you how he's handled this poise so far?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  We're fortunate he's been in some big stages and settings in the past.  He seems to do well in those situations.  Top guys, they want to be great every time they hit the ice.  They want to play.  They make players better around them, which is a strength of his.
But quietly confident as he's gone about it.  Very respectful for the players that are around here.  Quietly going about his business the right way, which is a nice, nice start.

Q.  Whenever Trevor Van Riemsdyk does play, if he plays, he hasn't played in the NHL since November, coming off of two injuries, and it will be his debut in the playoffs.  What gives you confidence that he'll be okay out there?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  Probably the way he shocked us, surprised us when he first came in at camp this year, how well he played for us when he started the season.  You can look at him a lot of nights, he's out there against top players.  He was out there late in periods.  He was killing plays, making plays, reliable.
He played surprisingly to a different level than we anticipated he could get to.  Obviously we missed him when he got injured.  Would have been a nice evolution over the course of the season to see how that would have ended.  Unfortunately a couple of major injuries.
But he's worked hard right now to get himself excited.  But nice to have that option, ready to go.

Q.  From what you've seen of Teravainen, do you have a sense of what his ultimate top end could be?  Does he remind you of anyone?  Is the sky the limit with this guy?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  I think he's got lots of upside.  We have a couple of guys that have achieved the top, top level.  I think watching these guys on a regular basis could help him grow, help him learn what it takes to be a great player, top player, game in, game out.  You know, expectations, other teams trying to keep an eye on you.
That's way too much pressure to say he's going to be one of those guys, but it's nice knowing we look forward to him being a top player.

Q.  Joel, in a game last night where some of your guys were saying you didn't play your best, how big a factor was your experience coming through?  It seems to me experience was a big factor in your team getting better in the series against Anaheim, as well.
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  Well, we always talk about as the series get going, they get deeper, our team rises to the challenge, knowing you got to be your best, progressing in the series.  You think there's a little familiarity with your opponents.  You got to make sure that you leave it out there.
I thought Game1 we weren't quick enough to begin.  I think we found out how fast they really are.  Certainly got our attention.  When you're down in the third period, you're pressing.  I'm not saying gambling, but you're pushing the envelope.  We got a couple of breaks.
But there's not a lot of room out there, not a lot of time.  But I think our team realizes now everything's got to be fast, quicker.  The strength of our team is finding ways to win.  Last night was a good example.

Q.  Joel, you were asked earlier about the Toews line.  There was a point in the game last night where the Lightning had iced the puck.  You were able to get that line against Hedman and Stralman.  They were really effective.  On the road it's going to be difficult to do that over the course of the game, but is that something you would look to do, try to get them away from that matchup a little more often?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  It's tough to get lines against D pairings, and it's almost impossible to get them away in D pairings at their home, so that's the only probably time if that's the matchup, the strong matchup they want.  Really tough to avoid.

Q.  The NHL looked into an allegation that Andrew Shaw may have bitten Victor Hedman last night.  What do you know about that?  Is there anything further from your perspective?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  I'm not sure about that.  I don't know about that.

Q.  Did you ever get bit?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  No (smiling).  Nor did I bite anybody (laughter).

Q.  The complete play that Keith made on the one goal, how many defensemen in the NHL could make that play?
COACH QUENNEVILLE:  He's made some great plays this playoffs.  How many guys can make that play?  There's probably I'd say maybe a handful.  He's made some terrific plays this playoff series, through sticks, inside coverage, patience, play recognition, spins off the point in some tight areas.  When you're behind, he even has a greener light.  He's not afraid to try things.  He surprises you sometimes with his imagination with the puck.
But he's had some real, real good plays, this year in the playoffs particularly.  Play recognition and patience level is high.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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