What Became of Denis Savard

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By Paul M. Banks

During my childhood, Denis Savard was THE GUY when it came to the Blackhawks.

He was then what Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are now. A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and one of seven players in franchise history to have their jersey number retired, Savard recorded 1,096 points (377 goals, 719 assists) in 881 career regular-season games and 145 points (61 goals, 84 assists) in 131 Stanley Cup Playoff games in parts of 13 seasons with the Blackhawks (1980-90; 1995-97).

Savard also served as the Blackhawks Head Coach for parts of three seasons (2006-08), notching a 65-66-16 record. The Hawks’ first pick, third overall, in the 1980 National Hockey League Entry Draft, Savard ranks second in franchise history during the regular season in assists (719), third in points (1,096) and fourth in goals (377).

In the midst of last season, former Blackhawks Head Coach Dennis Savard made an infamous rant where he called on his players to specifically be “committed to the Indian.” ”They’ve got to commit to the Indian,” Savard fumed. ”If they don’t want to commit to the Indian, let’s go upstairs and we’ll get ‘em out of here.” Of course, this fall we learned that the Indian was not committed to Savard. On October 16th, Savard with a record of 1-2-1, was dismissed.

Looking back on these quotes from his press conference following the home opener seems a little more interesting now…

“3 games doesn’t make a season. Talk to me in a month”

“For us to be in the playoffs and the Stanley Cup champions we’ll need all cylinders going. And that’s work ethic 1.) and structure 2.)  and that’s pretty much the definition of winning.”

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In November it was announced today that Savard will serve as a team ambassador, joining legends Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita in representing the organization at events at the United Center and throughout the Chicagoland area.

I also had a chance to speak with him during the Hawks inaugural Training Camp Festival

“Teams are come after us, they know. There’s a buzz in Chicago, but there’s a buzz around the league too. They talk about the changes the Blackhawks have made and how their fans are coming back. The fans are really the truth of what’s gone on here. They choose to come back because they see great things are going on here,” Savard told me.

Later I would observe the interior of the Hawks locker room, where the slogan “EARN IT” is emblazoned above the tunnel to the ice.

“We’ve made some huge steps and it’s time to graduate now. We’re getting our fans back and we got to go out and earn their respect. We want ‘em here every night for the next decade, or two decades,” Savard stated.

On Jonathan Toews, and his earning the title of team Captain…

“I named him captain because he’s got great qualities as a person, number two he’s the hardest worker on the ice everyday, and I don’t have to tell you how he performs in games. He wants to win, he doesn’t accept losing and that’s why he’s my captain.”

Regarding the Fans…

“I know because I’ve played in this building and I’ve obviously played in the other buildings so I know that having a full building will be a huge advantage, giving you an extra incentive, I don’t care what anyone tells you, if it don’t, than you’re a liar.”

Ambassadorship…

“It is important to our fans and organization that Denis remains a part of our family,” Team President John McDonough said. “He is a very classy individual that embodies the spirit of the Chicago Blackhawks.”

“It means so much to me that Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough have given me this chance to continue to be a part of the Blackhawks family, something I have always wanted to do,” Savard said. “I have been very fortunate to be a part of this organization, to wear these colors, for so long and this gives me the chance to continue to be a part of something I love. Today is a great day for me and my family.”

Savard still holds the top four single-season point outputs in franchise history, which includes his career-best mark of 131 points in 1987-88. He topped the 100-point mark in five of his 13 seasons with Chicago, which includes reaching at least 40 goals and 80 assists three times each. He reached the playoffs in each of his 13 seasons with Chicago and ranks second all-time in team history with 145 postseason points. Savard, who captured the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1993, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame exactly eight years ago today on Nov. 13, 2000. He had his jersey No. 18 retired by the Blackhawks on March 19, 1998.

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Comments

  1. Commit to the Indian this Christmas!

  2. Peter Christian says

    I still think Denny got hosed out of his job. He helped bring the team back to prominence within the city of Chicago, let alone the league. Sure the team is winning now with doucheba… er Quenneville, but they likely would have had the same success with Savard on the bench.

  3. EIU Cheerleader/SICA Chick says

    SICA is committed to the Indian

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