Stumbling Blackhawks fire Yawney

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

BENSENVILLE, Ill. -- After losing 12 of 15 games, the Chicago Blackhawks went on the offensive Monday, switching coaches and styles.

The Blackhawks fired defense-oriented coach Trent Yawney, replacing him with assistant Denis Savard -- a Hall of Fame player whose No. 18 hangs from the United Center rafters. With the new coach comes a faster pace.

"We want to be a pressure team," said Savard, who joined the Blackhawks in 1997 as an assistant coach and will be behind the bench Wednesday against Dallas. "We've got to score more than one or two goals to be able to win. ... We have to be responsible defensively, but offensively, we have to be a little more creative."

Yawney, in his second season coaching the Blackhawks, had 33-55-15 record and one season left on his contract.

Chicago has 16 points this season -- only Columbus has fewer -- and could be on the way to missing the playoffs for the ninth time in 10 years.

"We're eight points out of the playoffs," general manager Dale Tallon said. "We've only won three of the last 15 games. We want to make a run."

Tallon revamped the roster after the Blackhawks finished 26-43-13, the third-worst record last season. During the preseason, the team seemed faster and more skilled, but the Blackhawks have not met expectations.

"I know that I can turn this around," said Savard, who played 17 years with Chicago, Montreal and Tampa Bay. "We're going to be a team that is exciting to watch."

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