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Joe Quenneville has not been behind an NHL bench since 2021. However, reports suggest that he may soon speak to Commissioner Gary Bettman about a return to the NHL.
Both TSN’s Darren Dreger and The Athletic reported that Bettman plans to meet with Quenneville soon after the season wraps up in a few weeks.
Quenneville last coached the Florida Panthers from 2019 until 2021. He resigned from the team following an investigation into the Chicago Blackhawks and the handling of sexual assault allegations made by former player Kyle Beach against former video coach Brad Alrdich.
The incidents are alleged to have happened during Quenneville’s tenure as the Blackhawks’ head coach. During that time, Quenneville led Chicago to three Stanley Cups.
Beach claimed that it was impossible for Quenneville to have been unaware of the accusations against Aldrich. In fact, an independent investigation found that Quenneville’s biggest concern was over disrupting team chemistry. The team then decided not to address the situation with Aldrich until after the season.
Much of this only came to light after the Blackhawks had moved on from Quenneville and he had started coaching in Florida.
According to The Athletic, Bettman revealed in a statement the decision for Quneenville’s resignation in 2021 had been reached with input from the league. He also said that if Quenneville wants to return, he would need to have a discussion with him to determine appropriate conditions under which such new employment might take place.”
It sounds like those talks may soon be happening.
If He Does Come Back, Where Could Joel Quenneville Go?
It’s too early to kick around what kind of jobs might be on the table for Quenneville … but let’s do that anyway.
It’s probably safe to assume that any return would be in head coaching capacity. So then what teams might be good fits?
Well, I think there’s an obvious one: the New York Rangers.
The Blueshirts are in need of a head coach, and while it remains to be seen if they’ll re-sign Patrick Kane, there’s still a Blackhawks connection in Artemin Panarin.
Another option that could soon be on the table are the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sheldon Keefe is still behind the bench, but with Kyle Dubas out of the picture, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the next GM put his stamp on the team’s coaching stamp.
Quenneville — who is second on the NHL’s all-time wins list behind Scotty Bowman — could be the one to push the Leafs need to get over the hump.
Although, I recall thinking that about Mike Babcock…
But then, given the microscope under which Maple Leafs coaches work, would Quenneville even want that job? At this point in his career, when he’s returning from immense public scrutiny already? Maybe not.
Elsewhere, the Ducks, Flames, Blue Jackets, and Capitals all have vacancies. The prospect of rebuilding a team could be draw too. It was when he went to Florida in 2019.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find any team that will turn down Quenneville based on his coaching acumen. But will there be any blowback from fans — or, more likely media — if he’s hired?
Man, the NHL offseason is heating up already,.. and we haven’t even technically made it to the offseason yet.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle