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By Jay Zawask-
Joel Quenneville is going nowhere. He wanted everyone to know that right off the bat. In Tuesday’s conference call to the media, the Blackhawks’ Head Coach made that clear.
The same can’t be said for Assistant Coach Mike Haviland, who was “relieved of his duties” Tuesday. “There (was) some dysfunction in our coaching staff…change was necessary,” Quenneville told the media.
While Quenneville was hesitant to throw Haviland under the bus for anything specific, he did jump at the opportunity to defend his other assistant coach, and longtime friend, Mike Kitchen. The perception to pretty much everyone with an eye on the Blackhawks was that Kitchen, not Haviland was to blame for the Blackhawks putrid power play. Apparently, that isn’t the truth. According to Quenneville, Kitchen was put in charge of the power play after Haviland had driven it down to 30th in the league. It was Haviland’s to start the season, and Kitchen took over. Under Kitchen’s watch, the Hawks’ power play skyrocketed all the way to 26th.
Regardless of who’s to blame, one thing is clear – Joel Quenneville is still in charge. He said the firing was his decision, and he had permission to stand pat if he so desired. He chose to fire Haviland on his own.