Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville feels like it will ultimately be his decision when deciding who replaces the recently fired Mike Haviland on the team's bench.
Whether that's truly the case remains to be seen. But Quenneville was asked what he's looking for in an assistant coach going forward.
"I'm going to say it could be all of the above based on availability," Quenneville said during his conference call Tuesday. "I don't want to say and corner myself and say this is the guy. Whether he's a specialist on special teams, it would be nice to have some help in that area. Some usefulness is not a bad idea as well, but then again, who is available?
"I'm not going to say that exactly this is my guy because I'm very open-ended. I think we get some energy and a change is something that we look to do."
The Hawks' poor special teams were one of the main reasons why team brass wanted a shakeup on the bench. General manager Stan Bowman and Quenneville agreed that there was some dysfunction within the coaching staff.
Quenneville opted to keep Mike Kitchen as an assistant over Haviland. Kitchen, who is close to Quenneville, joined the staff last season. Haviland was a hold over from Denis Savard's stint as the Hawks' head coach, but he did receive an extension while Quenneville was in charge.
"When I look back at when Kitchen came on, I think there's been a misconception with how he's been viewed," Quenneville said. "I only want to deal in facts. I don't want to get in one of those contests where it's this, this, this, this and that. That's not what I'm all about.
"One of the reasons when we do give coaches our assignments, whether it's the PP and the PK, I don't want to have one guy saying, 'Well, you're in charge of the PP.' Because if the PP goes bad, that's your fault and everybody is going to be all over you. The PK is going to get that [too]. I think we collectively share some responsibilities. We're all in it together."
Haviland was considered one of the top assistants in the league. It was just last year that he was a finalist for the Winnipeg Jets' head coaching vacancy.
Haviland also is beloved by the players, being their go-to coach for issues. Haviland started off as the head coach of the Hawks' American Hockey League affiliates, playing a key role in several players' development.
Sources indicated that some players will definitely be bothered by his firing.
Quenneville appeared to recognize that during his conference call.
"I think our team we have some guys that have been here a long time as well, whether that change is good or bad, I think one thing as players you have to move forward," Quenneville said. "That's part of the process as well."
Quenneville said he needs to be better as well.
"I probably could have been better as far as delegating ice time as far as what was merited or warranted," he said. "When I see the effectiveness of it, whether you're watching the Rangers playing or Washington playing, that's where I think our team can be better and more competitive come playoff time, where you earn it, you get it, you deserve it. Going forward, that's for sure a mistake I made and I'm going to learn from that."