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One Minute Remaining: Changing of the Guard

Wednesday, 11.29.2006 / 11:02 AM / News
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One Minute Remaining: Changing of the Guard

Hirings and firings are always difficult, but for those in charge, making those difficult decision is their job. In sports, as in life, tough decisions must be made and most of us don't like to deal with changes.

Hawks general manager Dale Tallon had to make one of those difficult decisions when he replaced coach Trent Yawney with assistant Denis Savard in hopes that change will provide a spark for the Hawks.

When I interviewed the late and incredible Hawk Keith Magnuson for my book, "Tales from the Chicago Blackhawks," he recalled to me what former Blackhawk GM Tommy Ivan told him: "Coaches are hired to be fired."

Former New York Islander coach Al Albour, whose teams won four straight Stanley Cups, said "You aren't any good until you are fired twice."

Magnuson coached the Hawks for a season and a half (1980-82) and actually stepped down on his own when he felt he couldn't do the job that needed to done. In a way, it is a little ironic that Maggie was the coach when Denis Savard broke in with the Hawks as a rookie in 1980.

Savard, always popular with the fans, was a teammate of the man he has replaced and also was an assistant coach when Yawney joined the staff in a similiar capacity in 1999.

Savard has been waiting for his chance to become a head coach, although I don't think he relished getting the post at Yawney's expense.

There's no doubt that key injuries took a heavy toll on the Hawks the past two seasons, but the main responsibility still rests with the players performing to their best ability.

When you ask most coaches what do they expect from their players, the usual answer is to give their best and make the fewest mistakes.

There's a lot of hockey left to play this season and I hope that the players adopt the positive philosophy that always lived in the true Blackhawk spirit of Keith Magnuson who always gave more than 100 percent to hockey and life.