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.