by PuckStopsHere on 10/16/08 at 01:43 PM ET
Any team that fires their coach four games into the season is in panic mode. A major piece of the team, as it was assembled in the off season, is already being replaced. The Chicago Blackhawks are already panicking. They have played four games and have announced the firing of coach Denis Savard. There is little sign that Chicago has anything significant to panic about. They have not started the season with a hot streak, but they are not in bad shape. After four games, they have collected three points. They won last night in a 4-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes. They picked up another point in a shootout loss against the Nashville Predators. They collected points in both of their last two games. It seems pretty clear that if the Blackhawks are already willing to fire their coach, then they should not have began the season with him in place.
Chicago will be replacing Savard with Joel Quenneville. Quenneville had been hired by the Blackhawks as a pro scout in September. He is a more established coach than Savard. If the Blackhawks wanted Quenneville as coach, they should have hired him then instead of leaving lone duck coach Savard in place for training camp and the opening of the season. The instability in this transition could have been avoided. It would have been better still for Chicago to have pursued Quenneville as a coach earlier in the summer to let him properly prepare for the season. This is poor management.
Quenneville has had recent controversy. On September 21st, he was arrested for drinking and driving.
Savard has never proven to be a particularly effective coach. It seemed he was hired because of his success as a former player in the Blackhawk organization and he had never done anything to prove he was a top level coach. He had been a Chicago assistant coach since his retirement and had no head coaching experience at any level and had a losing record in his tenure.
Quenneville meanwhile has won over 400 games as an NHL head coach and won the coach of the year award in 2000. This is likely a positive, but poorly timed move for the Blackhawks organization.
Here is TSN’s story on the coaching move.
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