Monday, November 07, 2011

Blues turn to Hitchcock to move forward

The tenure of one of the youngest coaches in the NHL lasted one full season and one month, as Davis Payne was advised by the Blues on Sunday that his time behind the Blues bench was at an end.  The fourth time since 2004 that the Blues have come to such a decision.

Payne who previously coached the Blues AHL affiliate was the second youngest head coach in the NHL,  at the time thought to be the best guide to the Blues young talent as they launched a rebuilding model that was starting to show some results last season.

The disappointing start this year however, with less than .500 record one month in with just 6 wins in thirteen games. The Blues management apparently concerned over the drift out of the gate has decided that it was time to make a move, bringing in Ken Hitchcock to lend a more seasoned hand to the Blues on ice planning.

The hiring of Hitchcock with his lengthy coaching resume, would seem to steal him away from the Columbus Blue Jackets who reportedly were close to a decision of their own when it comes to coaching.

The talk of the weekend was that Columbus growing a tad panic stricken at the free fall in the standings and at the box office (three home games  thus far have attracted less than 9,200 fans) would turn to the familiar Hitchcock to lead their team out of the NHL wilderness, St. Louis perhaps hearing those same rumblings apparently upped the ante and sealed the deal.

Considering the fact that Doug Armstrrong is the Blues GM, the announcement makes sense, the two worked together in Dallas and have shared duties with a number of Canadian National team efforts including the 2010 Olympic Squad.

Hitchcock wil be behind the bench on Tuesday night when the Blues begin a five game home stand, a key opportunity to climb back into the pack of the NHL West.

St. Louis Today-- Blues fire Payne, hire Hitchcock
St. Louis Today--  Hitchcock: "I couldn't miss out on this opportunity"
St. Louis Today-- Win now urgency prompts coaching change
KMOX Radio-- Hitchcock officially introduced as New Blues Coach
Hockey News-- Blues surprise by plucking Ken Hitchcock from Blue Jackets
Globe and Mail-- Blues fire Daivs Payne; Name Ken Hitchcock head coach
National Post-- Blues fire head coach Payne, hire Hitchcock as replacement
CBC-- Blues fire Payne, name Hitchcock head coach
CBC-- Blues smart to hire Hitchcock
Toronto Star-- A Most Curious Switcheroo
Edmonton Journal-- Hitchcock - Once a coach always a coach
Edmonton Journal-- Hitch no longer singing the Blues
Sportsnet-- A dying breed
Sportsnet-- The Hitchcock approach

You can follow the shuffling of the deck chairs among the coaching ranks from our departures and arrival listings on the blog.

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