Thursday, October 16, 2008

Savard out in Chicago
Quenneville named coach

The Chicago Blackhawks have named Joel Quenneville the 37th head coach in franchise history, replacing Denis Savard, who was relieved of his duties earlier on Thursday.

“This was an extremely hard day for this organization and for me personally,” Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon said.
>> team release
You wonder why they even let him coach four games.

The Thrashers firing Bob Hartley six games into last season at least followed an embarrassing playoff exit a year earlier. Savard led the young 'Hawks to a pretty impressive run to a near playoff berth last season.

Once Quenneville was brought in as a pro scout this summer, however, the writing was on the wall, even for a popular former player like Savard, who helped establish some pride in the franchise since taking over 20 games into the 2006-07 season. Savard made "Commit to the Indian" a catch phrase across the league, but he wasn't regarded as much of a technical coach and there were rumblings much of last season that he was on the bubble.

Expectations are sky high in Chicago these days, in terms of payroll and a growing buzz around the city, and a playoff miss would be a big hit given the forward momentum the franchise has. Quenneville is an excellent coach with a long history of success and is a good choice to come in here, but it would have made more sense to make this move in training camp to let him establish the team identity early on.

The good news is that he's been in the fold, knows the team and will be anxious to prove himself after being fired in Colorado following back-to-back 44-win seasons.

UPDATE Barry Rozner at the Chicago Daily Herald says Savard never should have had the gig in the first place:
"He didn't earn the job, he didn't deserve the job, and he couldn't do the job."
Don't let anyone ever tell you the Chicago press isn't tough.

Rozner goes on to say that this comes back to new team president John McDonough, who came over from the Chicago Cubs and is anxious to see the team win:
McDonough may still be learning hockey, but he can smell incompetence a mile away and Thursday's events are proof enough that he can tolerate such nonsense for only so long.
If I'm GM Dale Tallon, the fact there are two Bowmans sitting in the press box beside me has to be a wee bit worrisome.
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12 Comments:

At 2:42 PM, October 16, 2008, Blogger Jonathan said...

James, I've already mentioned it here, but you may want to read this Darren Dreger article; it's Tallon assuring Dreger that despite Quenneville joining the organization, there was no push on Savard.

And it's from the end of last month.

 
At 2:42 PM, October 16, 2008, Blogger Tom said...

I had the same question -- why wait till 4 games in to make this move? Go ahead and change in the offseason, so Quenneville can make it "his" team and have time to change the system to his liking.

Maybe this was a tryout period for Savard, but that seems a little bush league to be honest.

 
At 2:53 PM, October 16, 2008, Blogger FAUX RUMORS said...

1) Perhaps the writing was on the wall when they hired Quenville? You don't hire a guy with the caliber of Quennville to be a "pro scout". Ownership was apparently itching to make this change when Quenneville was hired. It was evidently completely calculated. Chicago, shows a lack of class in our opinion. In our opinion this is a slap in the face. Quenville is a quality coach, no doubt, but Savard was not given enough time with this very young team who just last year showed great improvement under his tutelage last season.

2) We're sure some Colorado fans might disagree with our opinion of coach Q, but regardless we feel this was an ill timed move. If management believed that Dennis wasn't the guy to coach, then he should have been let go over the summer!

 
At 2:57 PM, October 16, 2008, Blogger Jeremy said...

Whoa! Nice find, Jonathan. And that Dreger article literally contains this passage:

"If the Blackhawks lose four out of five games, will Denis Savard be looking over his shoulder?

Hawks general manager Dale Tallon scoffs at the suggestion."

What changed?

 
At 3:26 PM, October 16, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tallon will be next.
What kind of idiot has one quarter of the team's pay roll tied up in two goalies one of whom has never one a playoff series in his career?
He makes John Ferguson Jr. look like a genius.

 
At 3:29 PM, October 16, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Tallon is clearly not running the Chicago ship anymore. That's been rumoured for as long as the "Savard will be fired" thing has been going on.

It's only a matter of time before they dump Dale. You've got to think that Stan Bowman is the guy who'll get the job.

Neither Tallon nor Savard were Rocky's guys.

 
At 3:42 PM, October 16, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.nationalpost.com/sports/story.html?id=813047

Remember this? Probably not worth mentioning or following up on it, I suppose. An obvious reason why he wasn't named head coach prior.

 
At 4:23 PM, October 16, 2008, Blogger Doogie2K said...

@Anon: It's only been four weeks. It's not like everyone could've forgotten. Hell, I was just about to make a crack about needing a game off for his court date when I saw the link.

 
At 4:43 PM, October 16, 2008, Blogger wade little said...

Don't listen to Rozner. He knows nothing about hockey. Absolutely nothing. It may pay bucks to have a sharp tongue, but it doesn't help your rep.

With that said, the writing was definitely on the wall. Do you think Toews knew about the firing before hand when he had that closed door meeting in the dressing room? I sure hope not.

Anyway, last night when Savard shook his assistant coaches' hands after the win, I got a weird feeling.

Good luck Denis, 'Hawks fans will love you 'til the end. And to Quinneville - lets do this.

 
At 5:56 PM, October 16, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Savard has been in the mix in CHI while the Hawks have missed the playoffs for, what, 7 or 8 seasons? He was a caretaker coach and part of the worst-run organization in sports under the late, not-lamented geezer Bill Wirtz.
Now that his sentient son is in charge, the front office has been remade and a professional coach hired.
All that's left is to put some concrete shoes on Tallon and, just in case he's still alive, track down Bob Pulford and cut pull out his respirator.
This organization has finally turned the corner and it took the death of its longtime incompetent boob of an owner for it to happen.

 
At 9:36 PM, October 16, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This move has Scotty Bowman written all over it. He never liked Savard as a player and there's no reason to like him as a coach.

But it's a good move six months too late.

 
At 7:10 PM, October 17, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a matter of time before the goalie situation becomes disaster for coach Q is a goalie killer.

 

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