Exsqueeze me?

October 16, 2008 – 2:51 pm by Hickey

After a slow start, the Chicago Blackhawks finally got on the winning side of the ledger last night with a 4-1 win over Wayne Gretzky’s Phoenix Coyotes.

The official response? Fire coach Denis Savard.

Really, I shouldn’t be shocked. It shouldn’t even be noteworthy. As my mentor Graham, aka G-Unit, once told me, “NHL coaching hirings and firings aren’t news. It’s like me changing my pants.”

And despite the fact I am fully aware of this… “HUH?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! WHAT THE F*CK?!?!”

I realize that the Hawks wanted to come out of the gates strong this season, and a 1-2-1 isn’t exactly taking off on a rocket ship. But let’s not forget that this is an 82-game season. And the first two games were on the road — one against a Rangers team that looks as good as any in the NHL right now, and the other against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.

But firing your coach? After a convincing win? It’s enough to make your head spin.

Savard is being replaced by Joel Quenneville, who has had some success in the past with the Blues and Avalanche. And that’s good and well, but I’ll always have Savvy’s back. He was the first Blackhawks player I ever knew growing up. Years later, he gave me his golf glove after I caddied for him. And he’s a good tipper. (I guess that is unethical journalism, but hey, I was in high school at the time. Also, did you know he smokes? How the hell can you smoke and play hockey?)

It seems completely disingenuous to fire the guy that helped mold the young talent that is supposed to lead the Hawks out of, well, the Ice Age and into the future. Particularly when his jersey number hangs from the United Center rafters.

Savard at least took it like a champ, telling the Chicago Tribune:

“I felt I had the team going on the right track… [Wednesday] night was a big win. I know that every game we played we got better. We could have won in New York [last Friday] and we could have won against Nashville [on Monday] but that’s the nature of the business, I suppose. It’s not about Denis Savard. When you work with a team and played for it. … I want them to do well.

“I know I’ve done a lot of good things. Those kids that played under me are good players. Their structure and game got better and I’m proud of that. I know I gave everything I had.”

The Tribune’s Steve Rosenbloom also has a pretty good instant analysis of the firing, which he could apparently see on the wall once the Blackhawks brought in Scotty Bowman as a hockey adviser.

In the long run, maybe this move will be key in turning the Blackhawks into Stanley Cup contenders. But even so, no one can deny that it’s an extremely shitty way to send a franchise icon out the door.

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  1. 5 Responses to “Exsqueeze me?”

  2. Hickey,

    I rarely make comments about blog postings, as it’s a bigger waste of time than the NBA regualr season. But I could not help myself here. If you think this firing is a bad move than you don’t know anything about hockey. Savard was not a good coach. He was a nice guy with a players’ mentality.

    Their 1-2-1 start had ZERO to do with the firing, as you claimed it did. They were going to fire him as soon as they won their first game, so that way it would seem like it was due to the wins and loses. They wanted to do this last year, but they wanted to solidy their front office and everything before doing this. Why they did not fire him over the season is beyond me, but why they fired him is as obvious as Cakes is short.

    By Daniel Cohen on Oct 16, 2008

  3. I meant to say why they fired him over the SUMMER is beyond me, not the season as I wrote.

    And another thing, Quenneville is a MUCH better coach than Savard because he knows the x’s and o’s of hockey. Savard was clueles on defense, as evident last season and thus far this year.

    By Daniel Cohen on Oct 16, 2008

  4. I don’t question that Quenneville is a better X’s and O’s guy. (Or that he’s a better drunk driver.)

    But you are right on one angle — if you fire a guy, do it before you break camp. The complete lack of tact and timing by the Hawks proves that while even though they are committed to become a better organization on the ice, there are still some major deficiencies on the PR end.

    By Hickey on Oct 16, 2008

  5. Well, it’s obvious this was Scotty Bowman’s decision and he has not been here that long. So the timing was not necessarily their fault.

    I just cannot stand the people here that kept screaming how this was the worst move because they LOVE Savard and how much he means to the organization. Like one writer wrote, no one seems to care now that the Bulls fired a popular but inexperienced Doug Collins so that Phil Jackson could take the young team to the next level.

    By Daniel Cohen on Oct 17, 2008

  6. http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=243247

    By Daniel Cohen on Oct 17, 2008

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