The Blackhawks are in the midst of their worst season since 2007-08, but team president John McDonough announced Thursday that both head coach Joel Quenneville and general manager Stan Bowman will return to their respective positions next season.
"There were a lot of circumstances that happened this year that were out of our control. That's not to say that areas of our team could not have performed better. They could have," McDonough said Thursday, according to ESPN. "And I'm not assessing blame, but I believe in both of them. I want both of them to succeed, and I think we're going to be headed in the right direction."
Under Quenneville and Bowman, the Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups in the last nine seasons, establishing the team as a veritable dynasty. But this season has been different: the team can win no more than 35 games, which would be the fewest since the team won 31 in 2006-07 (they even won 36 in the lockout-shortened 48-game season in 2012-13). They will finish no better than 12th in the Western Conference and are locked into last place in their division. It will be the first time in Quenneville's legendary 21-year career that his team finishes with a losing record.
McDonough said he believes the best way for the Blackhawks to get back on top is to keep the current leadership in Chicago.
“I believe in continuity [and] they’ve had an incredible body of success,” McDonough said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “We’re not tethered to the past. This has been a very disappointing year and our expectations are incredibly high. We’re not going to deviate from those expectations. But I believe both Stan and Joel are the guys that are going to bring this back.”