Updated: May 13, 2012 10:33AM
Joel Quenneville and Dave Tippett have been friends for a long time and have often talked strategy through the years.
But with Tippett coaching the Phoenix Coyotes and Quenneville at the helm for the Hawks as the teams square off in the Western Conference quarterfinals, that camaraderie has been put on hold, though the affection for each other remains.
“Oh was he ever intense,” Quenneville said Wednesday when asked to recall what Tippett was like when they were teammates for both the Hartford Whalers and Washington Capitals in the 1980s and early ’90s. “He was one of the all-time greatest competitors ever. Tippy was relentless, he’d do anything for your team.”
Quenneville took him under his wing when Tippett was a rookie with the Whalers, and the Coyotes coach said the pair have had an impact on each other ever since.
“We probably started influencing each other when we were standing at the board trying to figure out who was going to stop [Peter] Stastny and Quebec a long time ago,” Tippett said. “. . . Our friendship will be put on hold for a few days and we’ll pick it up again after the series.”
Hawks fans need not be reminded about Coyotes forward Raffi Torres, who as a Vancouver Canuck last season laid out Brent Seabrook with a hit in Game 3 of the Hawks’ first-round series.
Torres received a minor penalty, and Seabrook missed Games 4 and 5, but neither was interested in rehashing it Wednesday.
“It’s just something that I don’t want to talk about,” Torres said Wednesday. “[It was] just a hockey play.”
Said Seabrook: “It’s over, and a year away there’s nothing to talk about.”
Sean O’Donnell practiced with Niklas Hjalmarsson for the third consecutive day and is expected to be the Hawks’ sixth defensemen for Game 1.
Quenneville seems to favor the 17-year veteran’s dependability over rookie Dylan Olsen’s energy.
“Down the stretch [O’Donnell] came in there and did a real nice job for us,” Quenneville said. “We like his experience, we like his size, we like his thought process right off the bat.”