In yesterday’s post, I claimed that Joel Quenneville has to start trusting Jack Skille or risk losing him forever. I didn’t expound on that point because I was tired and there were other things I wanted to hit on.
What I meant by that is Skille’s strong, aggressive play is only going to last for so long. If Quenneville continues to punish him for every single defensive zone mistake, at some point, he’s going to say ‘who gives a s#!%?’ When Joel Quenneville took over for Denis Savard back in 2008, he took over a squad with a raw youngster named Kris Versteeg.
While Versteeg was a bit more offensively skilled than Skille, his defensive zone responsibilities were always lacking. Yet when Quenneville took over, Versteeg’s ice times never dropped below 14 minutes for his first 41 games of the season (!!!!). Because of this confidence from his head coach, Versteeg developed into a Calder Trophy candidate.
Fast forward to today and Skille has to earn every second he’s out on the ice. And if he makes one mistake, to the bench he goes. In a vacuum, I don’t really have a problem with this. A young guy with little experience should have to earn his way on to the ice. But when there’s one guy in particular (it rhymes with Hernando Misani) who has done little to nothing in his 13 minutes of ice per game and the only reason he gets additional ice time is because of his ‘veteran’ tag, that’s where things start to get fuzzy.
Yes, it’s early in the season. Yes, Skille should have to earn his way on the ice. However, he hasn’t been as bad as his ice times indicate and he certainly deserves at least a week’s look of 13 minutes of ice with a center not named Jake Dowell. If Quenneville still isn’t satisfied with what he sees, then the Hawks can start looking elsewhere. At least Skille would’ve got a fair chance and he won’t have anyone to blame but himself should he fail.
Maybe this is some kind of internal power struggle between Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman. Maybe Quenneville doesn’t like the way Skille’s face looks. Maybe Quenneville forgot how he handled Versteeg when he took over. Whatever it is, there has to be a happy medium found soon otherwise Skille is going to become a wasted roster spot and that will be a real shame.
–If you haven’t heard by now, Rick Rypien of the Vancouver Canucks was headed off the ice for a 10 minute misconduct in Tuesday night’s tilt against the Wild. Then he went ballistic on a 14 year old sitting behind their bench. The humorous part is he never received a game misconduct for his actions. Either way, he’s going to face an extremely long suspension.
I don’t think it will really affect the Hawks lineup all that much tomorrow night as Viktor Stalberg and Jack Skille were back skating with Jake Dowell at Tuesday’s practice. At some point, Skille and Stalberg have to be split up and one has to play on Dave Bolland’s line. Hopefully that happens soon.
John Scott was back at defense for what that’s worth. I can already tell you I’m done complaining about him for the rest of the year because whenever someone of his skill set is discussed, this site turns into the Daily Herald’s comments section.