Denis Savard entered the hockey hall of fame in 2000, but he was a fan favorite in Chicago from the first time he took the ice in 1980 in Old Chicago Stadium. Savard played in what has to be thought of now as the golden age of scoring. Before goalies were 6ft 5in and have equipment that makes scoring a goal a severe challenge, and while not having to deal with the neutral zone traps and other defensive lockdown plays.
Savard got to showcase his speed and skill nightly, and getting to watch him was very exciting as he routinely put up 100 point seasons as he scored and assisted seemingly every night. Savard’s most famous move was the Spin-O-Rama which when performed use to get Pat Foley very excited, and even though the move was exciting and very effective it was his entire arsenal of offense that made Savard exciting.
Savard was the center of my favorite line of all time. Savard with Steve Larmer and Al Secord was almost unstoppable. All 3 were great scorers with Larmer being gritty and Secord the muscle. This threesome could do it all from scoring to assisting to finishing off a check to finishing off a fight, and in the middle of it was the fast and flamboyant Denis Savard.
The only disappointing thing about this group and era in Chicago Blackhawks hockey is that no matter how hard they tried they could never get past the Edmonton Oilers. Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier were too much of a scoring machine in the 80’s for the Hawks ever to get to the Stanley Cup. The Hawks always seemed to make deep runs but in the end they always came up short.
The Blackhawks trade was sad but good at the time when they dealt Savard to the Montreal Canadians for Chris Chelios in 1990. Savard was able to hoist the Stanley Cup with the Canadians in 1993. Savard returned to the Hawks in 1995 and ended his career where it all began in 1997. The NHL has a quick Savard video with some great highlights click here to watch.
Savard was given the Head Coaching duties in 2006 with the task of grooming the Hawks new young talent for GM Dale Tallon. The Hawks were doormats for most of the late 90’s and early 2000’s seem to be turning the corner with Savard at the helm. His second season saw a +16 differential in the win column over his first season. He was quickly dismissed from the position in 2008 with Joel Quenneville taking over who did lead the Hawks to the Stanley Cup, but Savard had a finger print in their success.
Savard is an ambassador for the Blackhawks organization and his #18 hangs from the rafters in the United Center, and if you are old enough you can always remember #18 doing a fancy offensive move right before the horn sounded and Foley proclaimed HE SCORES!!! And this is why Denis Savard is #5 of my list of my top 10 favorite Blackhawks of all time.
LET’S GO HAWKS!!