Joel Quenneville probably could have gotten cheaper protection from the Sopranos, but if it helps the Chicago Blackhawks get over their Game 4 debacle, the $10,000 fine their coach is paying to the NHL foundation might actually be worth it.
Don't bet on it though. Chicago was already out of the game when Matt Walker was called for roughing at the 20 minute mark of the first period, a penalty that caused the action Quenneville was disciplined for. Detroit had scored 21 seconds before that and added a power play goal a little more than a minute into the second period to make it 3-0 and effectively put things out of reach.
Later, Quenneville opened his post game news conference with what had to be a calculated rant about Walker's penalty because he knows the league doesn't tolerate even mild criticism of its officials. Still the Blackhawks coach said: "We witnessed probably the worst call in the history of sports today. I've never seen anything like it. (The referees) ruined a good hockey game, they absolutely destroyed what was going on on the ice."
Not exactly. The Blackhawks did themselves in by being stupid. They were still seething about the hit Martin Havlat took from Niklas Kronwall in Game 3 and took 16 penalties, including nine for roughing. Several, like Walker's, came after whistles had blown.
It was just a really bad day for a young team that decomposed against a veteran one and got no help from backup goalie Cristobal Huet, who looked awful but still will probably start Game 5 because Nikolai Khabibulin doesn't appear ready to return from an injury. So when it was over, Quenneville did what any smart veteran coach would in a similar situation by trying to deflect the blame away from his players and maybe get their minds away from a perilous situation.
Trouble is Quenneville was as stupid as his players with his words and finds himself lighter in the wallet as a result.
Paying for lip service
Posted on: May 25, 2009 7:02 pm