Chicago Sun-Times

Joel Quenneville abruptly ends morning skate before Thrashers game

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JQ.jpgATLANTA -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville abruptly ended the morning skate before Saturday's game against the Atlanta Thrashers.

It was clear that he wanted to get a message across to his team, which has lost three of its last four games and had developed bad habits.

Morning skates are typically 30 minutes. The Hawks only skated for about 15 to 20 minutes on Saturday. Quenneville was visibly upset during their drills, called his team together and then led them off the ice and into the locker room.

"I just didn't like the way it was going," Quenneville said moments afterward. "I wanted to keep our energy for tonight."

Was it is carryover from some past concerns/defeats?

"We can be sharper. That's all," Quenneville said.

Does this send a message?

"I'm not worried about that," Quenneville said. "I just want to be ready to compete."

Hawks captain Jonathan Toews initially said "it's nothing," but later said he did see a point behind Quenneville's actions.

"He saw that it was a better thing to cut practice short this morning, so that's what he did," Toews said. "Obviously, yeah there's a message. We just want to be ready for the game tonight. That's the way he thought he can do that."

Veteran goalie Marty Turco has been part shortened skates before.

"I can't speak of one man's opinion," Turco said. "But I think he had a right to be a little choked about it all. It has a little to do with today, but a lot to do with other things that's been going on. I think our record speaks for it ... or why our record is what it is.

"I've seen some shortened skates. The last thing anyone wants to do is get out of a routine or break the mold. This stems from the unhappiness of where we are as a team and the attitude we're maintaining and position we [have] with our record."

The Hawks have only 15 points in their first 15 games of their Stanley Cup defense. They've been in games and tied in third periods only to yield a late goal and lose points.

"He expects a lot of energy out of us," defenseman Brian Campbell said. "In the morning skate, when you're out there for 15 or 20 minutes, the least we can do is provide that for him.

"It really sets the tone for tonight. We better be ready."

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Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan hailing from the Far Northwest Side. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times for more than four years, covering the Hawks, Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools.

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This page contains a single entry by Adam L. Jahns published on November 6, 2010 11:14 AM.

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