Coach Joel Quenneville
Q Stands For Quiet
Some NHL coaches are like spoiled children. They rant when they're angry, pout when they're disappointed and spend too much time watching videos. Then there's the Blues' mustachioed Joel Quenneville, who, with a clean shave, would make a model kid: He's happy to be seen and not heard. Through Sunday Quenneville had led moderately talented St. Louis to a league-leading 40-16-6-0 record, and if he'd done it with laryngitis, few would have known. "Joel might scream once or twice a year," says defenseman Marc Bergevin. "He'll raise his voice for 30 seconds and then walk out."
Quenneville took over the Blues on Jan. 6, 1997, shortly after St. Louis had dismissed the notoriously noisy Mike Keenan. Coach Q has gone 140-91-34-0 since, and rather than subject players to regular videotape analysis, he preaches simple values: allow few shots on goal and control the puck as much as possible. Quenneville runs short, efficient practices during which he clearly defines each player's role.
St. Louis G.M. Larry Pleau says Quenneville's rarely rattled persona "is reflected in the team," which is partly why the Blues had a) not lost three straight games all season, b) not lost in overtime and c) gone 21-8-2-0 on the road. "We don't mind pressure," says captain Chris Pronger. "No matter what, Coach is calm behind us."
When Quenneville does talk, he credits the Blues' success to a "great group of players any coach would want to have." As for the suggestion that he's the favorite to win the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year, Quenneville says, "I'd rather not talk about that."