PRO HOCKEY

BLACKHAWKS: Coach Toews? Quenneville says it's possible

2014-01-20T18:30:00Z BLACKHAWKS: Coach Toews? Quenneville says it's possibleGeorge Castle Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
January 20, 2014 6:30 pm  • 

CHICAGO | While discussing Jonathan Toews being named an alternate captain with Shea Weber on Team Canada, Joel Quenneville was asked about the Hawks’ captain’s seeming ultimate destiny in about 15 years: NHL head coach.

“Interesting question,” said Quenneville, certainly a future hockey Hall of Fame coach himself.

“He likes all aspects of the game. I think the way he thinks the game, coaches the game, the intensity he brings, I think it will be an easy transition for him.”

Obviously, “Captain Serious” started young to build up his leadership role after being named Hawks captain at 20, third youngest in NHL history. Quenneville had a perfect description of Toews when asked to describe the ideal team captain.

“The one thing is they come to play hard every day, representing what the organization and coaching staff ... that message that you’re kind of an extension of that," Quenneville said. "An awareness of where your teammates are at. You’ve got to say the right things and you’ve got to do the right things. Captains throughout the league do that in the right way.”

Toews is an alternate on Team Canada to captain Sidney Crosby, who was also 20 when elevated to Penguins captain in 2007. Sochi will be his second Winter Olympics.

“It’s pretty cool,” Toews said. “It’s a pretty huge honor. First and foremost, to be on that team is amazing. To be considered one of those guys at my age to be looked to for leader. To be considered with the letter on my jersey, I’d be confident with that role considering the experience I’ve had with the Olympics before and the playoffs here with the team in Chicago.

“I’m just going to do what normally what makes me a successful hockey player. We got a lot of skill and lot of ability and lot of leadership. Guys that know how to do the same thing. Definitely I won’t be the only one in that locker room.”

Great coaches boost win totals?: A longtime debate is how many extra wins — and on the other side of the coin, losses — for which any team’s coach might be responsible.

“At the end of the day, the players are the ones who sort it out,” said Quenneville. “Most teams are comparable on how they play and some teams have a little more weaponry.

“It’s tough to measure that. I’ve been fortunate here in Chicago the whole time I’ve been here with this group. We got a young team with skill, talent and speed, the ingredients that are good in this game.

“There’s ways you can prepare your team, but at the end of the day, they’ve got to execute it. They’re the difference in sorting it out as well.”

Bergeron fence-sitter on who is West’s best: Bruins alternate captain Patrice Bergeron won’t quite crown the Hawks as the Western Conference’s best. Being politic, he knows the likes of Anaheim, St. Louis, San Jose and Colorado are racing neck-and-neck with Chicago for conference supremacy.

“They look like they’re playing the same way they played in the playoffs,” Bergeron said. “I can’t really talk about they’re really the favorites coming out. There’s so many great teams we’ve played. It’s too early for that.”

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