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Joel Quenneville commits to the Indian, explains firing of Blackhawks assistant coach

Greg Wyshynski
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As we reported earlier on Tuesday night, the Chicago Blackhawks parted ways with assistant coach Mike Haviland in a somewhat shocking move - given that he was a popular coach and not the guy responsible for the team's inept power play.

Between this decision and the rampant speculation that he would be leaving the Blackhawks for the Montreal Canadiens' coaching vacancy, Chicago Coach Joel Quenneville met with the media on a hastily called Tuesday night conference call to clear the air.

Via the Sun-Times, Quenneville on his status:

"Over the last days, there were some other things that were going on about here in Chicago and me being somewhere else, but first and foremost, I'm excited about being here in Chicago," Quenneville said during a conference call Tuesday. "I love the opportunity. I love the organization. I love where we're heading in the future. That's something I want to put to bed right from the outset."

Quenneville revealed that GM Stan Bowman felt there was "dysfunction" in the Blackhawks' coaching staff, giving Quenneville a chance to tweak the personnel after the season. Rather than turfing his friend Mike Kitchen, an assistant coach in charge of the team's problematic power play, it was Haviland that was fired after nearly four years in the job.

Said Quenneville on any criticism that he kept Kitchen due to friendship:

"I don't look at people like that if you got opportunities to coach in our league. I've got a lot of respect for how challenging the requirements that make a successful coach.

"I've got a lot respect for Mike Kitchen and the job that he's done. He's been under a lot scrutiny here throughout the year and at the end of season be it with our power play. There's not a more respected man in my viewpoint throughout hockey. He's absorbing a lot of this brunt as well."

The Blackhawks were 1-for-19 in the playoffs on the power play and 15.2 percent (26th in the NHL) during the regular season.

But in fairness to Kitchen, he neither traded nor failed to sufficiently replace Brian Campbell.

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