Rozner: One name not forgotten by 2010 Blackhawks

  • Chicago Blackhawks right wing Kris Versteeg (32) celebrates with teammates Duncan Keith, center, and John Madden after Versteeg scored an empty net goal agaisn the San Jose Sharks during third period hockey action in Game 4 of the NHL Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 23, 2010, in Chicago. The Blackhawks won the game 4-2 and swept the series 4-0.

    Chicago Blackhawks right wing Kris Versteeg (32) celebrates with teammates Duncan Keith, center, and John Madden after Versteeg scored an empty net goal agaisn the San Jose Sharks during third period hockey action in Game 4 of the NHL Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 23, 2010, in Chicago. The Blackhawks won the game 4-2 and swept the series 4-0.

  • hawks_58sp092305br Photo0444450 BRIAN HILL PHOTO DuPage SPORTS //// Chicago Blackhawks vs St. Louis Blues pre-season Friday at the United Center in Chicago //// Trent Yawney

    hawks_58sp092305br Photo0444450 BRIAN HILL PHOTO DuPage SPORTS //// Chicago Blackhawks vs St. Louis Blues pre-season Friday at the United Center in Chicago //// Trent Yawney

 
 
Updated 6/7/2020 6:00 PM

The most stunning part of being on the ice when a team is celebrating a Stanley Cup is the discovery.

To be there three times and witness the same during each party makes it no less emotional for those with a vested interest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

There is the shock at finding out how many players were so severely injured that they might not have been able to finish the series had it gone on any longer, and then there are other surprises that simply make for good copy.

When the Blackhawks beat Philadelphia 10 years ago Tuesday to win the 2010 Stanley Cup, there were several members of the team and front office who went out of their way to mention one man's name: Trent Yawney.

For most Hawks fans, he's just another of nine coaches over an 11-year stretch leading up to Joel Quenneville, but it was Yawney who spent five years as head coach in Norfolk developing players before getting the job in Chicago in 2005, most of those years without an assistant in the AHL.

Since then, as an American League coach or as an NHL assistant, he has produced more NHL defensemen than just about anyone in the league.

Sent packing unceremoniously by the Hawks, on that night in Philadelphia he was not forgotten.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Duncan Keith, who won Olympic gold for Canada, the Stanley Cup and the Norris Trophy in 2010, went out of his way to remember Yawney.

"Yawns was captain of the (1988) Canadian Olympic team. He's a hero in Canada," Keith said on the ice that night in Philadelphia. "He taught me a lot about hockey and how to play defense and all that, but really he taught me to be a man and to be a pro and I grew up with him."

There was a moment in Norfolk when Keith nearly went home. Yawney would not let him make that mistake. Now, the Hall of Fame awaits Keith.

"I spent a lot of time with him and really he kept me in Norfolk when I wasn't sure it was best, and it was the best thing for me," said Keith, who mentioned Yawney both times he won a Norris Trophy. "You think about those people when something like this is happening to you. There's a lot of people who help you get here. You don't do this on your own.

"We're all here tonight because of all the coaches on our team and all the teams we played on. This is for them, too."

Yawney -- who played six seasons in Chicago -- was the Hawks coach for 103 games, fired in 2006 as a scapegoat when management was unprepared for the new NHL coming out of the 2004-05 lockout. The free agents they signed were mostly slow and tough, while the game was trending fast and skilled.

Yawney's final game as head coach in November 2006 featured a Dale Tallon lineup of these forwards lines: Bryan Smolinski, Tuomo Ruutu and Carl Corazzini; Patrick Sharp, Tony Salmelainen and Radim Vrbata; Denis Arkhipov, Martin Lapointe and Michael Holmqvist; and Craig MacDonald, Jeff Hamilton and Karl Stewart.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

On defense, there were veterans Lasse Kukkonen, Jim Vandermeer and Jassen Cullimore, with youngsters Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and James Wisniewski. The goaltender was Brian Boucher.

Yawney never had a chance.

His Norfolk GM was Al MacIsaac, who also worked in Rockford before joining the Hawks' front office in 2008. His last head coach in Rockford was Mike Haviland, an assistant coach with the 2010 Hawks.

"Trent and Al did a lot of work on a lot of these guys before I even got there, and to see these kids today, I don't have the words," Haviland said in Philadelphia. "You know, you feel like a proud dad when you feel like maybe you played a small role in helping them get here.

"Trent Yawney has put a lot of players in the NHL and a lot of players owe him a lot, and I know Yawns is watching tonight and I know he feels proud, too. It's just really awesome to see these guys grow up into men and do what they did here, win the Stanley Cup."

While hardly remembered in Chicago, or thought of as just another coaching punchline, Yawney -- now an assistant in Los Angeles -- was not forgotten the night the Hawks won the first of their three Cups, highly regarded and respected by those who played for him and those who coached with him.

It was little solace after the way he had been discarded and blamed here for all he had no control over, and he was not gifted a ring as severance the way so many ex-Cubs were after 2016.

But it was still one of those moments an observer could not forget.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.