Hawks president John McDonough told me last week that the Hawks -- in particular general manager Stan Bowman -- were in the "discussion phase" with Quenneville regarding his new deal.
It was clear from our conversation that McDonough was impressed with Quenneville, who has a track record of taking teams to the postseason, and how he handles the team.
"What [Quenneville] says all of the time, "Nobody likes winning more than I do." I think he's right about that because he's had a lot of experience," McDonough said. "Here's a guy that has 500-and-some wins. ... He's really, really driven. There's a measured intensity that you don't see very often. He's great with the media. He really understands the game, he really understands people. We're proud that he's our coach."
Bowman re-affirmed those sentiments Thursday at the United Center calling Quenneville "the perfect leader for the team we have here." Quenneville was given a three-year extension.
"He's got that right mixture of being a players coach - he respects them - but he certainly has a presence when he's in the room and you know that he's in charge," Bowman said.
"When you've got a lot of star players on a team, it can be difficult. There is only one puck to go around. There is only so much ice time to divvy up. You got to get your players to buy into their roles. ... That's what Joel has done a great job at."
But difficulties await Quenneville, who has already earned legendary status among fans for leading the Hawks to their first Stanley Cup in 49 years. His roster is a lot different after Bowman was forced to say goodbye to 10 Hawks from last season because of the salary cap.
"The competitiveness and the opportunities have probably never been greater than what's going to be here at our camp," Quenneville said.
But there is an excitement that accompanies that.
"There's probably some nice places to play in the league," he said. "Nothing compares to Chicago. We should all feel fortunate about being here."