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May 28, 2010

Joel Quenneville


Q. Hi, Joel. Just want to ask you I know you've discussed sort of the differences in this city and this arena. But can you give us maybe a reference point of when you played Chicago Stadium, and then maybe seeing it get to where it was, and how everything has kind of sprung back to life when it comes to the Hawks and hockey in this city?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Well, it was always my favorite place to play in the League. Had a lot of personality walking up the stairs, the Anthem, the enthusiasm in the building. It was a very tight quarters in the corners and not a lot of space. The game had a lot of pace to it and had a lot of intensity to it.
It wasn't that long ago, but it's amazing the memories of playing in that building. I think a lot had to do with the crowd, the enthusiasm and the fans and having to come into the building for so many years at United Center and being in St. Louis and Colorado a little bit there.
The building was very, you know, there wasn't many people in there. There could be 5 or 10,000 people. It was just the opposite the way it used to be, and seemed to be a little bit of a resurgence there three years ago. The team came on. They finished strong that year. The following year in training camp, the last year in camp watching in the stands, you could just see it being -- all of a sudden the environment changed.
The enthusiasm, not just at games but in the city, it was a remarkable transformation. But I think there's a lot of Hawks fans that for years were looking for this day to happen. And I think over the last couple of years the way it's captured everybody's attention here in Chicago we should all feel fortunate to be a part of it.
The enthusiasm is genuine, it's real. I'm walking in the streets where I live. Everybody knows what's going on. It's fun to be a part of. It's a special situation. We love to take advantage of it.

Q. Joel, in your opinion, what makes Dave Bolland so good at his job? Is there one thing that makes him ideal for that job?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Well, Bolly, I think when you look at him as a hockey player, his instincts are high-end. His thought process -- he's got a lot more skill than maybe you see. I think that having that responsibility more of a defensive role. I think he's able to not just stop top guys or control top guys, but he can also score and make plays and handle the puck pretty well.
So he's got some speed. He's got real good anticipation of the game. But he's done a real good job in probably slowing down two of the top centers in our game in the last two rounds.
But I think he's a complete player. I think it was last year he was at that level where he was a top player. This year we were looking for that day where he got back to that pace and that standard that we look for him to be at. He's found that level here in the Playoffs.

Q. Joel, sometimes a coach that's coached a thousand plus games may have a tougher time relating to younger players. Can you talk about just your philosophy when you came into this young group? A lot of the guys talked about how you don't micromanage them and leave them alone.
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think right off the bat we have a great staff around us to work with, and Havi and Torch have been around the players. Having some time with these guys in the Minors. A lot of the guys grew up together as well. It was a fortunate situation to walk into. I think as a former player and as a coach, you still think you want to treat people the same. I think the same approach that you have as a person. And I think that communicating with them is something we try to do. We try to keep them informed. We try to keep them abreast of what's expected of them. As a group of coaches, I think we all work together as far as making -- I don't want to say life easy -- but we want to make sure we try to get the best out of all of them and try to create a winning environment and a fun environment to be around.

Q. Joel, can you talk about the importance of special teams? And do you think they'll ultimately determine the winner of this Series?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think they very well could. Special teams have been very important for us all year. You look around this year's Playoffs, it's a lot of nights it is the differential. I know we're playing a team that's got good special teams. Got some defensemen that excel in both areas.
And I think the discipline factor is going to be to play a part of that as well. We want to make sure that staying out of the box is something that is reinforced. It very well could be a big factor what's going to happen in this Series.

Q. Coach, latest on Ladd? Is there any update?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Nothing has changed. He's still day-to-day. We expect him to play.

Q. Joel, do you think one of the keys in elevating this team in the Playoffs has been some of the guys' acceptance of roles in the Playoffs in particular? And if you can talk more about Kris Versteeg, sort of an offensive player, playing on the checking line. How impressed have you been about him?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think it's across the board. I think everybody has been receptive to what we can do to make him better and win hockey games.
Bolly's line has emerged getting responsibility of checking the other team's top line. Obviously, their role might be enhanced as far as the quality of their ice time they have been receiving. I know we didn't really use that job description for Bolly all year long.
But at the same time Steeger is always useful as a player. I think we use him to kill penalties. He's very patient with the puck. His vision and patience with the puck is high-end. I think that kind of when you do play against the other team's top line, you get some offensive opportunities. I think he has the ability to finish. He has the ability to check. I think with Laddy and Bolly, the three of them all complement each other. I think they all got speed together. He's had a nice Playoff year as well. But that line has been effective and they should all take a little bit of credit.

Q. Joel, you've literally played in thousands and coached in thousands of games. Do you anticipate coming tomorrow night that you might have a case of some butterflies?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Yeah, for sure. I know that I usually find in the first game of the regular season, the first Playoff game, the butterflies are there. I would expect at least that level tomorrow.

Q. Hi, Joel. What kind of effect do you think John Toews has on this team? And what credit can we give him for bringing this team here to the Stanley Cup Final?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: He deserves a lot of credit. We are fortunate to have a quality person like Johnny is. Great character, great leader. Quietly goes about his business. He tries to get better each and every day. When it comes to the rink, he tries to be the best he can be. That's the way he plays. Great competitor. You have to follow him on his line or watching him on the bench or watching him compete.
So it's a great asset to have organizationally. But we really like the progress and the way he prepares and the way he competes. Johnny has done a nice job. There's a lot of guys that have been helping him as well. I think we're all very happy to be where we're at. Johnny has been a big part of it.

Q. Joel, when you took over, how close did you feel the team was to getting to this point? What do you think needed to change? And, just for you personally, how special is this right now?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think last year at the start of the year we were asked that question. Is Chicago ready to make the Playoffs? And I think that was a challenge. To get in the Playoffs last year at the beginning of the year was something that was a motivation. I know it was close to the prior year. Those stretch runs and how close Western Conferences are, it's not a given. I thought we made some progress there, and all of a sudden we looked like we had a nice spot. All of a sudden we hit a bump at the end.
We had to get us back to where we wanted to get a higher seed or home-ice advantage. It's not a given. But I thought the guys really progressed in certain areas. And I think defensively we improved as a team. I thought there was a lot of skill and pace to our team which is great as a coach to have that type of an asset in today's game. I thought our defense is very mobile and agile, and I think that complemented where we're at today.
I just think there was a lot of great ingredients to work with. The players really worked well together. I think last year's lessons of what happened during the Playoffs and at the end of the Playoffs is something they've applied this year. I think that's a big reason where we're at today.

Q. It's not unusual to see like Stan Mikita or Bobby Hull go to the locker room after a game. What is the relationship with these 70-year-old guys with these 27-year-old something kids? Or are they talking more to you and the coaching staff?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: They always come in to say hi to us. It's fun to be around these guys. I think they always have a story or two to share. Tony likes to come in as well. Savvy. There's a real appreciation for what's going on here. I think they got some stories back in the day; and they are pretty amazing. They're pretty excited about what's going on here themselves. It's fun for them. It's fun for us to reminisce a little bit.
But I still think that tradition is something to look back on and gives you some incentive as well.

Q. Joel, when you look at the Flyers and how they got into the Playoffs, the external expectations may have been different for that team when the Playoffs started. People were talking about you guys as a Stanley Cup contender from day one this year. Is it harder sometimes to coach with this expectation?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I think it's always challenging. I think having that at the start of the year this year. I think that can be a motivator for you. I think coming into the season, whether we're expected to be a top team, I think we still kept our focus of trying to win our division, trying to be -- if we can be above that, that's even better.
But I think it's a very competitive Western Conference. I think with expectations, I think that creates peer pressure amongst each other.
We try to put a little bit of pressure in the right ways with the guys. But at the same time we want to play hockey. And the focus is what we do on the ice and not being controlled with if we have to, have to, have to. I think it's more of a let's do.
I think the Phillies at the end of the year might have been the same predictable situation that we were at start of the year. They made an amazing finish there to get in. Went on to the Boston Series as well. I'm sure they're excited where they are at today as well.

Q. Coach, your team has so much experience in championships outside of the Stanley Cup Final. So coming into this experience, how hard is it for you to walk the line between asking them to do the same things that they've been doing every day for the past year, while also asking them to step it up and give something more?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: Well, I think as we progress this year in the Playoffs, I think that's kind of been the theme around our team, that we can't be satisfied with where we're at.
We can be better. We're looking for more. Each and every game as the Series progresses, it's more demanding, it's more competitive and there's more at stake. I think we've grown each and every round. Have been in key games. It seems like there's been some progress in that area. That's kind of what the message is today going into tomorrow's game. We want to get better, we want to improve.
We can't be satisfied the way we played against San Jose. I think our group still has another level. We're looking to push more from our group.

Q. Just clarify, you said Andrew Ladd, you expect him to play tomorrow or at some point?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I said the Series. We'll see about tomorrow.

Q. Coach, how much are you enjoying this moment right now?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: It's been fun. I think immediately when I came to Chicago it seemed like it's been a great opportunity. It's a fun situation. Working with a great young team. The city has been a fun place to live and play in. The building every night you hear the National Anthem. You get the chills, and you get excited about what's going on. It's been a real good couple of years here in Chicago. I think as coaching staff, or as players, we should all feel fortunate and enjoy it.

Q. Joel, you're are a premier puck control team. The question is how is the ice at the United Center? It's almost June.
COACH QUENNEVILLE: It's been all right. I think the building is -- a lot of people in the building. A lot of -- you know, I think all year long it's very comparable the way it's been. And being on the ice just recently at practice, the ice was fine.
SCHUYLER BAEHMAN: Thank you very much, Coach.

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