Head coach Joel Quenneville met with the NHL, as did Panthers general manager Bill Zito to discuss Quenneville’s role in the years-long cover-up of the sexual abuse incident between former video coach Brad Aldrich on former Blackhawks black ace Kyle Beach. A decision didn’t come out of that meeting on Thursday afternoon in respect to Quenneville’s future, but the belief was that Zito was in the meeting for a reason.
If the NHL were to make a decision, it would have been in the realm of either banning Quenneville from the NHL, fining him, or suspending him. Only the Panthers had the ability to actually fire their bench boss. The expectation was that this would happen, or it would be phrased in a way that Quenneville would resign.
Later in the evening, what was expected did come to pass.
It took a few hours, but the Florida Panthers didn’t wait for the NHL to make their own decision. It was announced that Quenneville will no longer be the coach of the team. He resigned and it was announced that an interim coach announcement will be coming.
The league office confirmed the two sides met in the New York headquarters of the NHL and GM Bill Zito was on hand for the meeting. That Zito was in the meeting likely signaled the Panthers’ organization would make a decision well before the league was forced to. Some fans won’t be happy with the fact Quenneville gets to leave in a manner that helps him save face, but at the end of the day, many will be happy the Panthers have moved on, despite their record this season.
Related: Kevin Cheveldayoff, Joel Quenneville Named in Blackhawks Investigation
Kyle Beach spoke Wednesday in an emotional interview saying that he knew meetings that took place in Quenneville’s office and didn’t believe the former-Panthers coach didn’t know about the abuse. Instead, reports suggest Quenneville was more concerned with the idea of upsetting team chemistry during the playoff run.
As for what could come down here in the next few hours or days, there are a couple of rumored names that might take over. The top candidate seems to be John Tortorella, former coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The NHL will now meet with Jets’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff as that meeting has been pushed up because neither the Jets, nor the GM wanted to wait to have the meeting.
Next: Three Takeaways from the Maple Leafs 3-2 Win Over the Blackhawks
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