Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks will again be seeing former head coach Joel Quenneville, who won three Stanley Cups with the Hawks (2010, 2013, 2015), on the opposite bench when they take on the Florida Panthers on the road Sunday evening.
"Yeah, it’s exciting," Kane said of facing Q. "More than anything, just fun to kind of look at [and] see him, you know? Different that he’s on a different bench. After one of the games last year we got to talk and catch up. It’s just fun to see him in general. He has that aura about him as one of the best coaches ever, obviously a lot of history with some players here. I don’t think we’ll be able to talk and hang out after the games this year, but nice to see him on the bench, whether it’s a slight smirk or whatever it is. Just good to see him in general."
After firing Quenneville on Nov. 8 of 2018, the Hawks welcomed him back to the United Center for the first time on Jan. 19, 2020 when they faced the Panthers and Kane recorded his 1,000th career NHL point.
"I was joking with him after the first or second time out that his ovation stole my thunder that night," said Kane, who scored his first goal of the 2020-21 season in Friday's 5-2 Blackhawks loss to the Lightning. "He had a pretty big cheer, a pretty big acceptance of the crowd. He was a big part of those championship teams and a Chicago legend. Just fun to see him and talk to him after when we got the chance last year. We’re both in different areas now, obviously. He wants to be competing, we’re trying to turn things around. It’s good to see him, but we’ve both gone our separate ways and are worried about ourselves."
Kane said Q sent him a text after the birth of his son Patrick Timothy Kane III on Nov. 12, 2020. Another text exchange the pair had recently didn't go as smoothly.
"The other day we were doing a Zoom call and John Quenneville had a funny hat on, so I texted him, 'Nice hat.' And of course I look up and it’s actually to Joel. Said, 'Wrong text' and we exchanged one or two more. One of those things you do in the moment and realize, wish I had a couple of seconds back to take that one back. Nice to hear from him after the birth of my son. Just here and there throughout the time he’s been away from Chicago (we text), too. like I said, always nice to see him, always nice to talk to him. He means a lot to us."
It'll be the Panthers' season opener after having their first two games, both against the Dallas Stars, postponed due a COVID-19 outbreak among the Stars. The Panthers are allowing roughly 5,000 fans into their home arena, the BB&T Center, for Sunday's game under specific guidelines.
The Hawks are looking to rebound against the Panthers on Sunday from two-straight losses to open the season in Tampa Bay.