- Jesse Rogers, Chicago Cubs beat reporter
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The blowout became a close game, but not for long.
The Chicago Blackhawks were cruising with a 5-1 lead. Even a late second-period goal by the St. Louis Blues to make it 5-2 shouldn’t have slowed the home team down. Afterall, they were playing quite the dominant game on the offensive end.
But then the beginning of the third period happened.
“I thought we were a little too casual,” Joel Quenneville explained calmly afterwards.
That casual play led to two Blues goals early in the third. From 5-1 to 5-4 in the span of 8:32 between the second and third periods. The crowd went silent.
Quenneville did not.
With 13:58 left in the game, he called his one and only timeout. Hopefully, the kids were in bed by now. Coach Q wasn’t happy.
Viktor Stalberg was asked what Quenneville said on the bench during the timeout.
“That timeout was the right call,” Stalberg said avoiding the question. “Right away we got out there and had a couple of good shifts in a row and kind of pushed them back on their heels.”
But was there anything that could be repeated?
“Not that I heard,” Stalberg said sheepishly.
Jonathan Toews wasn’t fazed by his angry coach. He liked his teammates' attitude during a long 30 seconds.
“That’s what’s surprising,” he said. “A lot of guys were pumped up and said ‘hey, we’re not losing this game. No big deal, we’re still up a goal.’ It’s just about going back to work and not watching the clock too much.”
Sounds positive, but that didn’t stop Quenneville from some R-rated conversation.
“It pretty much is on the bench at all times so it was nothing new there,” Toews deadpanned.
“But seriously, we needed that. The best thing was that everybody on the bench was positive. Everyone knew we had to be better and we were ready to do that.”
From that point until 4:27 left in the game when the Hawks made it 7-4, they scored twice, while limiting St. Louis to four shots and forcing a penalty.
Whatever Quenneville said, it worked. So, what was it coach?
“I don’t even know sometimes what I say,” Quenneville declared.
That’s OK, we get the picture.
As the Hawks lead evaporated, Joel Quenneville delivered a stern message.