Savard to fill a new role

Denis Savard wasn't away from the Blackhawks for long.

The Hall of Fame player and former coach was named as an ambassador to the organization Thursday, joining Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita in that role.

Savard, who was fired as coach Oct. 16 after only four games this season, made an appearance at Wednesday night's ceremony to retire jersey No. 3 in honor of Keith Magnuson and Pierre Pilote.

"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," Savard said. "I've been very fortunate to be a part of this organization, to wear these colors, for so long."

Savard's duties with the Hawks will go beyond the roles of the other ambassadors, according to general manager Dale Tallon.

"He's more current and more familiar with other players and other teams," Tallon said. "We'll probably send him on different assignments [to] evaluate and look at possible free agents. Maybe work with our kids as well. Whatever suits him and what's best for us, we'll take advantage of it."

Hawks players still were talking Thursday about the ovation Savard received from the United Center crowd and seeing their former coach again.

"Just to see him out there getting that big ovation and to see him happy again and laughing is the most important thing," Patrick Kane said. "He's a great man and a great friend."

When Savard reached the end of the red carpet after being announced to the crowd, he turned to the Hawks' bench and gave his former players a thumbs-up.

"It was the first time a lot of us had seen him since he was let go," Patrick Sharp said. "I went up to him before the game to let him know in person how much I appreciated him and what he did for my career."

Kicking the tires: Tallon said he's pleased with the Hawks' play and isn't "going to mess with a successful situation right now." But he did acknowledge contacting the agents of veteran free agents Mats Sundin and Brendan Shanahan.

"You're not going to be left out in the dark and say, 'I wish we had talked to them,'" Tallon said. "We want to make sure we're on point, and if there's a situation that makes us a better team and you can work something out, then obviously we're interested."

One-timers: Hawks coach Joel Quenneville didn't attend Thursday's practice, taking care of personal business. ... Nikolai Khabibulin is scheduled to get the start Friday night against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center. ... Winger Martin Havlat sat out practice with a sore groin but is expected to face the Blues.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 15, 2008