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NHL Chicago Blackhawks

Joel Quenneville’s Inexplicable Lineup Changes Not Helping Chicago Blackhawks

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

What is Joel Quenneville thinking? Now that Andrew Shaw is back, there was no doubt someone had to be removed from the Chicago Blackhawks lineup to make room for him. The easy answer was Peter Regin. That turned out to be the case. But that doesn’t mean it was the right decision. Sadly, this is another addition in Joel Quenneville’s inexplicable lineup decisions.

Sure, sit the guy who was playing exceptionally well and was a big reason the Hawks made it out of the second round. Oh wait, he made that too-many-men-on-the-ice call. Bench him! If that confuses you as much as it confuses me, welcome to the club. Quenneville did the same when Brandon Pirri made a rookie mistake in a game earlier in the season that turned out to be the beginning of the end for Pirri’s time with the Hawks.

Some pundits have noted that Quenneville has certain players that are virtually untouchable. So far that appears to be Kris Versteeg, Brandon Bollig and Michal Handzus. The problem with these players is that they have been terrible in these playoffs. They’ve seen reduced ice time that should see them benched. Instead, they’re kept in the lineup. Versteeg and Bollig have indeed been benched, but not Handzus. Why? He’s slow and he’s holding back every line he’s on. That would be a reason to bench him on a lot of other teams–including the Los Angeles Kings.

But for some reason, Quenneville has stubbornly held on to him. Bollig and Versteeg meanwhile, have not performed up to their high-profile signings. I like them both, but they’ve lost their mojo. And Bollig has taken more stupid penalties than Regin has. But so did Andrew Shaw and his return is being welcomed. Why players like Regin and Pirri get the shaft is beyond me.

Quenneville may have won two Stanley Cups, and is a fantastic coach, but that doesn’t excuse him from criticism. There are players who will gladly step in if needed, but Quenneville inexplicably refuses to play them. If only someone could tell Quenneville that sometimes the best players need to play and the favorites should sit.