Blackhawks hire Ulf Samuelsson, Don Granato as assistants

After being swept out of the playoffs in the first round, the Chicago Blackhawks revamped their coaching staff, and the result has a decidedly Hartford Whalers feel.

The team announced the hiring of former NHL defenseman Ulf Samuelsson, 53, as an assistant on Thursday. Samuelsson played with head coach Joel Quenneville on the Whalers from 1984 to '90. Kevin Dineen, who played with Samuelsson on the Whalers from 1984 to '91, is also on staff.

The Blackhawks also announced the hiring of Don Granato, the brother of women's Olympic gold medalist and Hall of Famer Cammi Granato and longtime NHL winger Tony Granato. The family hails from nearby Downers Grove, Illinois.

"This is a great opportunity to join a franchise that not only is historically popular, but has also had a lot of great success recently," Samuelsson said in a statement.

Samuelsson was most recently the head coach of the Charlotte Checkers, the AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes. He played 16 years in the NHL.

Granato was an associate head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers last season. He has also coached the U.S. U18 and U17 teams, was an assistant with the Blues in 2005-06 and a head coach in the AHL. When Quenneville coached the St. Louis Blues from 2000 to '04, Granato was coach of the franchise's AHL team.

"I'm happy to be back in Chicago; however, it is the challenge of the Blackhawks' mandate of future success that motivates me most," Granato said in a statement.