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Blues fire Quenneville
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Old 24 Feb 2004, 07:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Blues fire Quenneville

In danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 25 years, the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday fired coach Joel Quenneville.

The Blues have not missed the postseason since 1978-79 and are one point behind the Los Angeles Kings in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.


St. Louis has announced a news conference at 7:30 p.m. ET.


Assistant Mike Kitchen will take over as interim coach.


Quenneville had served as Blues coach since January 1997 and guided them to five seasons of 90-plus points. He is the winningest coach in franchise history and was the NHL's coach of the year for the 1999-2000 season


Quenneville seemed on his way to a sixth straight playoff trip when St. Louis stormed to a 20-6-3-1 start. However, the Blues are 9-14-4-1 over the last two months, including a 3-2 overtime loss at last-place Chicago on Sunday.


St. Louis was in the eighth spot before the Kings' 3-0 win over the Predators on Monday night vaulted L.A. from ninth to a tie for sixth with Nashville.


Kitchen, 48, was given a multiyear contract. He has been with the Blues as an assistant since 1998. He was an assistant with the Toronto Maple Leafs for eight seasons before that.


The Blues won 307 games during Quenneville's tenure but went just 34-34 in the postseason, including a trip to the 2001 Western Conference finals -- where they lost to Colorado in five games.


He got his 300th win Jan. 1 against the New York Rangers.


"Somebody's got to take the heat when the team's not playing very well, and it's pretty tough to fire a whole team," said Chris Pronger, the MVP and Norris Trophy winner as the league's top defenseman in 2000. "Obviously, the coach is the easiest guy to let go, but at the same time, we as players haven't played very well."


Pronger said that "at times we seemed lackadaisical out there and not really put our best foot forward. For Joel to take the heat for that is kind of sad."


Quenneville was the second NHL coach to be fired Tuesday. The Phoenix Coyotes fired Bob Francis earlier in the day and replaced him with assistant Rick Bowness. Phoenix has won just two of its past 14 games and, at 20-24-15-3, is in last place in the Pacific Division and 13th in the Western Conference.

espn.com
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Well this was unexpected...well at least I thought it was. Do you think this will help them though?
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Old 25 Feb 2004, 11:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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this one was a surpirse to me, even though they are barely hanging in there.
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Old 26 Feb 2004, 12:04 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quenneville's been there forever. I saw this coming, he couldn't get St. Louis very far in the playoffs and now he has a 20+ year Blues playoff streak on the line.

Personally, no one on the team stepped up for him. He will bounce back.
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