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Coach Q Gets Knee-Capped by Bosses

Director of Player Development Barry Smith has been lending a hand in practice because of the general manager's office, not the coaches

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    NEWSLETTERS

    It only took weeks, but we've finally learned that Director of Player Development Barry Smith has been lending a hand in practice because of the general manager's office, not the coaches.

    Thanks to ESPN's Jesse Rogers and his Twitter feed for finally finding out what needed to be found out weeks ago.

    While no one is going to make a big deal of this, it's not something that should be swept under the rug either. This is a something. At your job, what would you think if your boss sent someone in -- someone who works with him more directly -- to help you with some project that you thought you had handled?

    Obviously, you probably wouldn't be thrilled, and it is likely that Coach Joel Quenneville isn't either.

    While it might not be a full castration, it's definitely a reprimand. How can it be categorized as anything other than a lack of faith in Quenneville and his coaches to fix what ails this team? There's no other way to look at it.

    The thing is, as I said when this story first popped up, Stan Bowman and whoever else pulled this string are not wrong to do so. The power play has been a mess pretty much the whole season. It has not had its system altered in any way, just a changing of players who then are told -- or just end up -- doing the same thing over and over.

    Bowman knows that this team won't go anywhere without a functioning power play, and if he thinks it needs outside help, then he should do that. It's short of firing the coach, which he probably can't do, but it's also beyond telling him he thinks the coach is doing a subpar job.

    What the real worry should be is what the players think of this. They're not stupid. They see the coach getting knee-capped by his boss. They know the power play sucks, and they've watched the coach flail to fix it. Either they already knew the coach was out of answers and were happy for the help, or they know that now.

    If they don't think he has answers for the power play, how long before they wonder about his system for everything else? Or are they already there?

    Sam Fels is the proprietor of The Committed Indian, an unofficial program for the Blackhawks. You may have seen him hocking the magazine outside the United Center at Gate 3. The program is also available for purchase online. Fels is a lifelong 'Hawks fan and he also writes for Second City Hockey .