Joel Quenneville ready to defend title
Though Joel Quenneville called it a "special summer," the Chicago Blackhawks coach looks forward to defending their Stanley Cup title.
"There's a lot to be excited about," Quenneville said Monday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "We can't wait to start playing hockey again."
The Hawks don't have their first training camp practice until Sept. 18 but Quenneville already is thinking about some of the newcomers or holdovers who will try to replace some key players who left via trades or free agency this offseason.
"[Bryan] Bickell did a great job," Quenneville said. "Looks like he can play at this level. Jack Skille is a guy that really didn't get a chance because of economic reasons. Jake Dowell can compete. [Victor] Stalberg, I'm anxious to see how good this guy can be playing with Bolly [Dave Bolland] or moving up the ladder. John Scott provides some presence on the back end."
"Marty can control the game back there," Quenneville stated. "He's going to add and complement that group. If they want to try and dump it in, he's going to make it real comfortable for the defense back there."
Quenneville is counting on his veterans to lead the way, and Patrick Kane is part of that group now. He believes Kane's motivation to be one of the best will keep him focused.
"One thing you have to commend him on, he seems to get better every year," Quenneville said. "I still think he has that ability if he wants to be the best, he can be, or one of the best in the league. He looks like he's gotten stronger this summer. That kind of motivates him to stay at the top of the heap. ... He's still very young and [has] room to grow his game."
Quenneville will try to use the roster turnover as a positive and as motivation for new players.
"There's a process you have to go through," he said. "There are three different seasons. Training camp is one, then we want to win the division and then [comes] the most important part."
Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
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