In a 10-part series, we look back at the 10-year anniversary of the 2008-09 season, the start of the Blackhawks dynasty.
With Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews having established themselves as two of the game’s rising superstars during their rookie year, it was clear the Blackhawks were ready to take the next step into playoff contention. But after starting the 2008-09 season with a 1-2-1 record, the Blackhawks made a change behind the bench.
Joel Quenneville was promoted to head coach one month after being hired as a Chicago pro scout and Denis Savard was relieved of his duties in an effort to bring in a more experienced voice to lead the charge.
“We’ve got an extremely entertaining, exciting team with great youth and great prospects for success,” Quenneville said at his introductory press conference in October of 2008. “I’m looking forward to fulfilling all our objectives of being a top team and winning hockey games, and getting to the playoffs and going from there.”
The Blackhawks went on to snap a five-year playoff drought and finished the season with 104 points, their highest point total in 15 years, and reached the Conference Finals before falling to the Detroit Red Wings in five games.
While it may have been difficult to part ways with one of the Blackhawks’ all-time greatest players, it turned out to be one of the best decisions the franchise has ever made with Quenneville coaching the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cups in six years and Savard being a part of the ride as well after he was brought back on as a team ambassador.
Quenneville has compiled a 446-243-93 record in 782 games for a win percentage of .630, along with 128 playoff wins, in 10 seasons with the Blackhawks. He also moved into second on the all-time wins list with 884, trailing only Scotty Bowman (1,244).