By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) Joel Quenneville just pulled off one of the best coaching jobs I can remember in pro sports.
He doesn’t try to charm the fans or media, doesn’t seek the spotlight and is always dogged by detractors who nitpick his lineups and decisions, but I hope it’s ultimately understood what the Blackhawks’ coach had to navigate in winning the third title of his already legendary career.
This was a season marred by tragedy and difficulty behind the scenes, with two people close to the team dying within months of each other, an incident at a rock concert that injured the starting goaltender and other locker-room tensions that threatened to upset any harmony — usually just the kind of things that are enough to derail the collective effort to perform consistently, let alone win a title.
For this team, this year, to win this championship in this sport — one that contains a maddening amount of randomness and demands lock-step togetherness on the ice — is nothing short of remarkable.
Credit the unwavering resolve of captain Jonathan Toews and the active support of the front office from the very top on down, but this championship was made by a head coaching performance that won’t be forgotten by anyone aware of its steep degree of difficulty.