Ken Hitchcock (Hockey Alberta)
The St. Louis Blues rather surprised the hockey world yesterday with the firing of Davis Payne as their head coach and with the announcement of Ken Hitchcock as his replacement.
Hitchcock, an Edmonton native, has previous coaching experience with the Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars, where he has gone 534-350-158 since 1995.
In 1999, Hitchcock was the head coach of the Dallas Stars when they won their only Stanley Cup in franchise history, defeating the Buffalo Sabres in six games.
The reason why the move was a surprise is for four reasons.
The Blues had got off to a bit of a slow start at 6-7, but that didn’t really seem like all that bad of a record after 13 games.
The second reason is that Hitchcock didn’t accomplish a significant amount in his last coaching chance in Columbus, as the Blue Jackets missed the playoffs three of four years.
The third reason is that there has been some concern by hockey experts that Hitchcock has not adjusted his coaching style well enough to the newer offensive-minded NHL. Don’t forget, the time where Hitchcock was most successful in the NHL was during a time when defense took precedence.
Finally, there had been a lot of talk by CBC on Saturday night that he might replace Scott Arniel in Columbus. The Blue Jackets have the worst record in the NHL at 2-11-1.