Savard shown the door

The Chicago Blackhawks won their first game of the season on Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough to save coach Denis Savard’s job.

After getting off to a slow start, GM Dale Tallon felt that a coaching change was necessary to help lead the team into the post-season.

“This was an extremely hard day for this organization and for me personally,” said Tallon in a statement. “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-calibre organization that can sustain success.”

When Savard was contacted by ESPN today, he had the following to say:

“I’m disappointed but I guess it’s the nature of the business. I know I was doing a good job, I’m dedicated to my work. Obviously they felt they had to make a change, so what can you do.”

“The only thing I can say is that last year I thought I did a heck of a job with our young kids,” added Savard. “Eight to 10 rookies in our lineup. We had a bit of a slow start this year but I thought the team was on the right track. I guess it goes with the territory. As a coach you’re judged on wins and losses.”

Former Avalanche and Blues head coach Joel Quenneville will take over the coaching duties. He was added to the team’s scouting department last month.

More Radulov news…

The ‘Radulov Soap Opera’ continued this week and is showing to be as annoying as the ‘Sundin Soap Opera’. For those who care and want to know, here’s what happened:

Earlier this week, a report indicated that the former Nashville Predators forward did not want to return to North America to play in the NHL.

But hold on. Now Alex is telling us that he was misunderstood. He merely stated that, should this matter go to court, the proceedings should be held in Russia since that’s where he’s staying. Furthermore, he is not counting out a possible return to the NHL.

So Alex, what’s the story? Do you want to stay in your home country? Do you want to not burn any bridges leading to North America? Do you want chicken soup for dinner? Do you want to be Sean Avery’s best friend? Medvedev’s?

Do we really care if Radulov comes back?

Brunnstrom ties NHL record

He was a mystery to us last season. We knew a few things about him:

One, he is from Sweden, the land of unknown players drafted by Detroit in the 50th round.

Two, no NHL team…not even the Red Wings and their clairvoyant scouts…thought enough of him to draft him when he was eligible.

Three, his own country didn’t want him to play for them at the World Championships.

And four, just about every NHL team bent over backwards last season trying to woo this guy to their city.

So what does Fabian Brunnstrom do in his first NHL game? Fall on his face in his first shift? Punch a ref? Stare at Sean Avery’s purse?

No, he becomes only the third player to score a hat trick in his first NHL game.

(Trivia: the other guys were Alex Smart with the Habs in 1943 and Real Cloutier with the Nordiques in 1979.)

Not too shabby.

Anaheim names captain

This news is not really news anymore, but I think it’s worth mentioning anyway.

Chris Pronger’s reign as captain of the Ducks was short. Early last week, Scott Niedermayer was named captain of the team, with Pronger and Getzlaf serving as alternate captains this season.

Pronger was named captain last season when Niedermayer couldn’t decide whether he wanted to earn millions of dollars playing hockey or watch hockey at home for free. I guess it was only a temporary job.

Peca suspended for doing what everyone wants to do

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Michael Peca was suspended 10 games for intentionally making contact with an official during a game.

Admit it – we’ve all felt a little, ugh, anger towards officials from time to time. I even envision myself smacking them upside the head Gibbs-style. But that doesn’t mean that players should actually do it.

Peca was upset after Stars captain Brendan Morrow knocked him down and then scored a goal. He skated over to referee Greg Kimmerly to have a chat, and that is when the ‘contact’ took place.

Peca had the following to say about the incident: “The only contact was me grabbing his arm to slow him down because he was skating away and I wanted to plead my case. They’re claiming I hit (a) linesman with my stick after I hit the glass with it, which is completely false.”

The Blue Jackets are appealing the decision and hope that commissioner Bettman will reduce the suspension to three games.