Richards: Joel Quenneville Is Similar To Pat Riley

The Panthers hired the three-time Stanley Cup winner, who has already given the organization "a shot to the arm"

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
April 10, 2019 - 9:50 am
Joel Quenneville

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The Florida Panthers hired Joel Quenneville on Monday to replace Bob Boughner, and fans couldn’t be more excited.

“He’s really given a shot to the arm of this organization,” The Athletic Panthers writer George Richards said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “(It was a) disappointing year for the Panthers. This is a team a lot of people had pegged as a payoff contender, and they got off to a horrendous start. They won two of their first 10 or 11 games, and just dug themselves a hole they couldn’t get out of.”

Boughner went 80-62-22 in two seasons with the Panthers, missing the playoffs both times Quenneville, a three-time Stanley Cup champion, is, needless to say, an upgrade.

“Joel Quenneville gives them instant credibility, not only nationally among other NHL teams, but – probably more importantly – locally,” Richards said. I think that the Panthers have just languished. They’ve had talent for so many years; they just haven’t realized their potential. Now you bring in a guy like Joel Quenneville, who is kind of like a Pat Riley. He’s going to plop those rings down on the table and say, ‘Yeah, what I do works.’ I think it’s really given new life to the Panthers.”

The Panthers made the playoffs in three of their first seven NHL seasons but have since reached the postseason just twice in 18 years. Five of their previous six hires had never been a head coach in the NHL.

“It’s an organization that’s been overshadowed for good reason down here,” Richards said. “They’ve been to the playoffs five times in 25 years, but they’re trying to put it together. They’re trying to get it right, they think they’re close, I think they’re close, and Joel Quenneville – just by putting him in here – I think legitimizes what the Panthers are trying to do.”

Click below to listen to Richards’ interview in its entirety.