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Blackhawks fire coach Denis Savard
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

Denis Savard


Associated Press

Joel Quenneville


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Published: 10/16/2008 11:26 AM | Updated: 10/16/2008 8:06 PM

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Only four games into their 2008-09 season, the Blackhawks have fired head coach Denis Savard and replaced him with Joel Quenneville.

"I'm hurt, disappointed, whatever word you want to use, but I still want them to do well," Savard said. "I know they are committed to winning the Stanley Cup, and maybe they feel whoever they hire can get them there.

"But I really believe in my ability. When I look at what I did with the players I had, I'm proud of what we accomplished."

Savard said general manager Dale Tallon informed him of the coaching change when he arrived at the United Center for practice Thursday morning. Practice was later canceled.

"This was an extremely hard day for this organization and for me personally," Tallon said in a statement released to news organizations at 11:31 a.m. Thursday. "Denis is forever a part of our organization.

"We made a tough decision that we strongly feel is the right one as we continue to evaluate our team and create a championship-caliber organization that can sustain success."

Savard, who was working in the final year of his contract, said he met with Tallon and president John McDonough during the summer about getting an extension and left feeling there could be a potential problem.

"John was very clear," Savard said. "They said we reward winning here and you didn't make the playoffs. I didn't have a problem with that. I agreed 100 percent, and we didn't make the playoffs. I came out of that meeting saying in my mind, 'Let's go get it done.'"

Quenneville, 50, has a .592 regular-season winning percentage in parts of 11 years as a head coach in the NHL with St. Louis and Colorado.

"Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact," Tallon said.

Savard, who became the team's 36th coach in November 2006, he led the team to a record of 24-30-7 in 61 games the season. Last season, his first full season as a head coach, the Hawks finished 40-34-8, totaling 88 points and missing the playoffs by 3 points.

The Denis Savard file

Denis Savard as a player:

• Drafted in first round (third overall) by Blackhawks in 1980.

• NHL career: played 1980-81 season through 1996-97.

• Two stints with Hawks, 1980-81 through 1989-90, and 1995 through 1996-97. Also played for Montreal and Tampa Bay.

• Blackhawks retired his jersey No. 18 on March 19, 1998.

• Inducted into Hall of Fame on Nov. 13, 2000.

Savard's NHL career stats:

Games: 1,196; Goals: 473; Assists: 865; Points: 1,338

Savard as a coach:

He began the 1997-98 season as the Blackhawks' developmental coach before joining the Hawks' coaching staff as an assistant coach under Craig Hartsburg on Dec. 3, 1997. He was named head coach on Nov. 29, 2006.

Career record: 65-66-16

2006-07: 24-30-7

2007-08: 40-34-8

2008-09: 1-2-1

Blackhawks coaching history (37 different coaches)

Pete Muldoon 1926-27

Barney Stanley 1927-28

Hugh Lehman 1927-28

Herb Gardiner 1928-29

Tom Shaughnessy 1929-30

Bill Tobin 1929-30

Dick Irvin 1930-31 to 1931-32

Bill Tobin 1931-32

Emil Iverson 1932-33

Godfrey Matheson 1932-33

Tommy Gorman 1932-33 to 1933-34

Clem Loughlin 1934-35 to 1936-37

Bill Stewart 1937-38 to 1938-39

Paul Thompson 1939-40 to 1944-45

Johnny Gottselig 1944-45 to 1947-48

Charlie Conarcher 1947-48 to 1949-50

Ebbie Goodfellow 1950-51 to 1951-52

Sid Abel 1952-53 to 1953-54

Frank Eddolls 1954-55

Dick Irvin 1955-56

Tommy Ivan 1956-57 to 1957-58

Rudy Pilous 1957-58 to 1962-63

Billy Reay 1963-64 to 1976-77

Bill White 1976-77

Bob Pulford 1977-78 to 1978-79

Eddie Johnson 1979-80

Kieth Magnuson 1980-81 to 1981-82

Bob Pulford 1981-82

Orval Tessier 1982-83 to 1984-85

Bob Pulford 1984-85 to 1986-87

Bob Murdoch 1987-88

Mike Keenan 1988-89 to 1991-92

Darryl Sutter 1992-93 to 1994-95

Craig Hartsburgh 1995-96 to 1997-98

Dirk Graham 1998-99

Lorne Molleken 1998-99 to 1999-20000

Bob Pulford 1999-20000

Alpo Suhonen 2000-01

Dennis Savard 2000-01

Brian Sutter 2001-02 to 2003-04

Trent Yawney 2005-06 to 2006-07

Denis Savard 2006-07 to 2008-09

Joel Quenneville 2008-09-present