Jimmy Waite hired as Blackhawks goaltending coach
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter July 7, 2014 4:14PM
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, right, blocks a shot by Minnesota Wild's Zach Parise (11), center, during the first period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series in Chicago, Friday, May 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: July 7, 2014 8:52PM
After a quiet holiday weekend, the Blackhawks finally broke their silence Monday by hiring Jimmy Waite as their goaltending coach.
It wasn’t the anticipated contract extensions for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane or a salary-clearing trade, but the Hawks checked off one of the last things left on their summer to-do list by hiring Waite — a former Hawks goalie and the younger brother of former goalie coach Stephane Waite — to replace Steve Weeks, who was fired by coach Joel Quenneville after only one season.
‘‘I’m very excited to come back to the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that drafted me [eighth overall] in 1987,’’ Waite said in a statement. ‘‘I look forward to working with Corey [Crawford] and Antti [Raanta] and to help contribute to the success of this organization.’’
Waite played in 58 games for the Hawks from 1988 to 1997. He also played for the San Jose Sharks and Phoenix Coyotes in a 22-year pro career spent mostly in the minor leagues. He was the goalie coach for Chicoutimi of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for the last three seasons.
‘‘We are pleased to welcome Jimmy back to our organization in his new role,’’ Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said. ‘‘He has over two decades of professional hockey experience and will be a great addition to our coaching staff.’’
Quenneville declined to go into specifics when he was asked last week about why he was making the change. Weeks lasted only one season after Stephane Waite ended a 10-year stint with the Hawks to join the Montreal Canadiens’ staff.
‘‘Tough to break it down exactly, the change,’’ Quenne- ville said. ‘‘It’s something we just wanted to do.’’
As for Toews and Kane, the wait continues. There’s no concern the deals — almost certain to be the biggest in league history, likely in the $10 million-to-$11 million range — will get done. It’s just a matter of when.
Bowman said last month he hoped they would be signed July 1, the first day of free agency. But as time wears on, another possibility is the Hawks will announce the extensions to kick off the fan convention July 18. Last year, they announced Quenneville’s contract extension at the convention.
The Hawks also remain about $2.2 million above the salary cap and need to shed some payroll this summer.