Toews agreed and put the onus on everyone players

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The speculation can officially end Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman will both be back with the Blackhawks next season.

After a disappointing season in which the Hawks missed the playoffs for the first time in 10 years, team president and CEO John McDonough decided to retain his coach and his general manager.
I have confidence in them, McDonough told a small group of reporters inside the United Center atrium Thursday morning. Their track record is amazing.

McDonough, who met with Bowman last week and with Quenneville on Thursday, wanted to get the news out before the season ends Saturday so there would be no doubt about their future.

We re excited today, said Quenneville, who has two years remaining on his contract. It s been a tough year. But we all expect and look forward to getting back to where we want to be, and that s a contending team and learning from this experience beginning to end. … Some good conversations with John and Stan.

Quenneville said he expects his entire staff to return.

McDonough said the entire organization feels the disappointment of this season, and he knows fans and sponsors feel it as well.

You pull for these people to succeed Jan Rutta Jersey, you want them to succeed, McDonough said. But every day here, there s a lot at stake. I don t take for granted anything that s transpired over the last 10 years.

After the way the Hawks were swept by the faster, hungrier Nashville Predators a year ago, a fuming Bowman addressed the media and vowed changes were coming.

He didn t disappoint, firing assistant coach Mike Kitchen and later trading Artemi Panarin to Columbus for Brandon Saad, and Niklas Hjalmarsson to Arizona for Connor Murphy.

In retrospect, those last two moves were colossal failures and two reasons the Hawks struggled this season.

They weren t, of course, the only reasons.

• Once Corey Crawford went down, there was little chance of success with a shaky, inexperienced defense in front of Anton Forsberg 10 16 4 , J F Berube 3 5 1 , Jeff Glass 3 6 3 and Collin Delia 1 1 0 .

• After a hot start, Saad s scoring disappeared with only 9 goals between Games 7 70.

• Duncan Keith, who has 2 goals on 186 shots, is a minus 24 and had perhaps his worst season.

• Without Panarin, the power play short circuited and ranks 28th at 16.1 percent.

So the big question did Crawford s injury and the influx of so many inexperienced players buy Quenneville and Bowman more time?

Did it impact my decision? No, said McDonough, adding he expects Crawford to play next season. It was unfortunate that when you lose your starting goaltender, it s like you re losing your starting quarterback. You re probably losing two or three starting pitchers if you were to use it relative to baseball.

No, that was not the basis. I believe in Stan. I believe in Joel. I believe in them together and I believe in their future.

Quenneville must absorb some of the blame for this season, though. The team played sloppy hockey almost from the start, there was too much line juggling and carrying eight defensemen had players looking over their shoulder after every miscue.

Certainly I think and look back at things you want to do differently and learn from, Quenneville said, and we accept a lot of responsibility.

There were, of course, some bright spots.

Nick Schmaltz s game evolved and he could be a 70 80 point scorer for years to come. Alex DeBrincat defied all expectations and he may lead the team in goals. Vinnie Hinostroza proved he has what it takes to play at this level. Defensemen Jan Rutta, Erik Gustafsson, Jordan Oesterle and Gustav Forsling while raw and error prone have the potential to grow into solid blue liners. The future also appears bright for young forwards such as John Hayden, Dylan Sikura, Victor Ejdsell, Tomas Jurco and possibly Anthony Duclair.

If you look at some of our younger guys the way they ve played and the way they ve developed he s done a great job having a hand in that, Patrick Kane said of Quenneville. Us veterans need to be better for him.

Said McDonough I know at one point, that was kind of a knock on Joel, that he wasn t proficient at coaching young players. Nothing could be further from the truth.

With 884 victories over 21 years, Quenneville is the second winningest coach of all time. He has won three Stanley Cups with the Hawks and has been here for a decade.

Still, it s not unreasonable to think a coach can lose his voice and influence after so long.

McDonough, though, does not believe anyone has tuned out Quenneville.

That used to be something people said all the time, that a coach lost the room, McDonough said. The respect in that room for Joel is incredible. The players respect him, I think the players respond to him, and there may be some things Joel fine tunes as well going into next season.

Toews agreed and put the onus on everyone players, coaches and management to come back better in September.

For the guys that played for Joel for a long time, there s nothing but respect there, Toews said. At the end of the day, the game has changed. It s faster, it s younger.

For our veteran guys, playing that different style has been an adjustment. I think for our coaching staff, it s probably been an adjustment as well.

As a group, we all need to grow and get better and learn from our mistakes this year.

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