Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville is facing an unusual problem as these playoffs begin: too much depth, and not enough egos.
“It’s a real issue,” he complained. “I can’t joke around with them at all. They take everything so seriously. They’re such team players that they’re just going with the flow, no matter what line I put them on.”
Quenneville tugged at his moustache in frustration.
“For April Fool’s Day I mixed up the lines – had Crow at center, Toews and Seabs as his wingers, and Duncs in the cage and Kane and Shaw at D.” He shook his head, bewildered. “I thought there’d be some complaining, for sure that they’d get the joke. But they were completely serious, nodding their heads, saying, ‘I’ll do whatever you want, Coach.’ How am I supposed to work with that?”
Indeed, the players all indicated their willingness to play however many minutes asked of them and whichever position they were given.
Blackhawks star winger Patrick Kane laughed, looking down at the table. “Yeah, we started getting Duncs into Crawford’s goalie pads, and he was giving him tips. It took a while before we noticed Coach Q was joking.”
“I don’t care if I play for five minutes,” said Brent Seabrook.
“Yeah,” chimed in Jonathan Toews, nodding along with Seabrook. “We just want to play our hockey and win as a team.”
While other teams were contacted for comments on the issue, no phone calls were returned save for Penguins coach Dan Bylsma’s, who simply glared at the reporter through videophone.