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