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Category: St-Louis-Blues

A Look At Ken Hitchcock Plus More Hockey Topics

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

Claude Julien spent every game of the 2014 Winter Games with Ken Hitchcock’s voice screeching in his ear. Accommodating such a racket may not sound like a pleasant way to experience an athletic pinnacle.

Julien welcomed the cacophony.

During the Olympics, Hitchcock served as Team Canada’s eye in the sky. As he watched, Hitchcock relayed his observations to Julien, who wore the earpiece. In turn, Julien relayed what Hitchcock spotted to head coach Mike Babcock.

“I heard a lot from him and learned a lot from him,” Julien recalled with a smile. “He sees everything. He doesn’t miss a thing out there. He sees every little thing that goes on. He’s got an unbelievable eye for the game.”

On Wednesday, such memories helped Julien get over the glum news that one of his acquaintances had been told to hit the bricks.

continue for more on Hitchcock plus other hockey topics like this...

Thomas Vanek will be one of the jewels on the rental market. Based on last year’s prices, however, it’s doubtful Detroit will be able to command a first-rounder in return. Even if the return is a second-round pick, GM Ken Holland should sprint toward making the deal.

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Latest On Kevin Shattenkirk

from Darren Dreger of TSN,

I reported on Insider Trading Thursday that there are a number of teams with interest in Kevin Shattenkirk. These clubs believe he can help as a rental, but they’re also suffering from sticker shock, with the rumoured open-market number for the pending unrestricted free agent floating around $7 million per on a seven or eight-year term. 

I seemed to rankle a few on social media by acknowledging Shattenkirk is viewed by some with interest as a power-play specialist who isn't great at 5-on-5. On a contending team, he's seen as a second- pairing defenceman at best.

To be clear, this isn't my assessment of Shattenkirk's play. It’s the opinion of coaches and general managers who know his game, have an appreciation for his talent and have interest in what he might bring to their club. They also have reservations based on his perceived limitations and, obviously, the St Louis Blues’ asking price....

Sources say the asking price for Shattenkirk last summer was a young roster player and a first-round pick – a price too lofty for teams to pay for a player entering the final year of his contract. If a team steps up in the days ahead with interest in a trade and extension, St. Louis might attract a decent package. Based on the multiple teams I talked to who have interest, the term and top-end dollar will be a problem.

more plus the Canadiens are all in...

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kevin+shattenkirk

Not A Good Ending For Ken Hitchcock

from Frank Seravalli of TSN,

It just wasn’t supposed to play out like this – not with Hitchcock two wins shy of passing Al Arbour for third-most in NHL history, not without one more shot at a Stanley Cup that has eluded the NHL’s best regular-season team over the last handful of years.

The Blues fired Hitchcock on Wednesday morning following their fifth loss in six games.

Perhaps, it should not have come as a surprise, considering Mike Yeo was hired last summer with the announced and unusual coach-in-waiting title, officially putting a timer on Hitchcock’s tenure in St. Louis.

A coaching change was one of the few cards left for general manager Doug Armstrong to play in an attempt to jolt a Blues team that is hanging in the playoff race by the skin of their teeth.

Armstrong, who choked back tears at a Wednesday press conference, will enter the final year of his contract next June.

“Ken is paying the price for all of our failures, starting with mine,” Armstrong told reporters. “It starts with me as a manager, filters down. I think we’ve let our group become independent contractors. We have to become a team again.

“Whatever mess is here, it’s on me.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: doug+armstrong, ken+hitchcock

Ken Hitchcock Out As Coach For The St. Louis Blues

(Feb. 1, 2017) – St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the Blues have relieved Ken Hitchcock of his coaching duties.  Associate Coach Mike Yeo (YOH), who was hired this past offseason as the incumbent to Hitchcock, will begin his tenure as head coach when the Blues host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday at 8 p.m. at Scottrade Center.  Armstrong and Yeo will hold a press conference today at 10 a.m. at St. Louis Mills.  Following the press conference, the Blues will hold practice at 11:45 a.m.

Yeo, 43, is currently in his first season with the Blues after spending the majority of the last five campaigns as head coach of the Minnesota Wild.  Yeo led the Wild to a 173-132-44 record during his tenure, including a 46-28-8 mark in 2014-15 which served as the second best record in Wild franchise history.  The North Bay, Ontario, native also guided the Wild to three postseason appearances including back-to-back trips to the second round in 2014 and 2015.  Prior to his stint in Minnesota, Yeo spent one season as head coach of the American Hockey League's (AHL) Houston Aeros, where he led the club to the 2011 Calder Cup Final.  Yeo also spent four seasons as an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins where he captured the 2009 Stanley Cup.  His first six seasons in the Penguins organization were spent as an assistant with their AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.  

Hitchcock joined the Blues on Nov. 8, 2011.  Over the past six seasons, he led the Blues to a 248-124-41 regular season record.  Hitchcock ranks second on the Blues' all-time regular season wins list and fourth in NHL history overall with 781 career regular season wins.

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ken+hitchcock, mike+yeo

Poor Goaltending A Big Issue For The St. Louis Blues

from Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

To be fair, it seemed like a decent gamble to trade away veteran goaltender Brian Elliott so that Allen could become the undisputed starting goaltender.

Nonetheless, there’s no denying that there’s a big difference between sharing the load and being asked to carry most of it. On the ice, the young Blues have shown some great signs at times. There’s no doubt that Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Pietrangelo, Robby Fabbri and Colton Parayko and Jaden Schwartz give the Blues a good, young core to build on.

Unfortunately for the Blues, they are paying dearly for what is clearly a lack of confidence in the crucial goaltending position. You cannot underestimate the pressure that falls on the entire team when they know the final line of defense is struggling badly.

“I think it’s only natural to have that in your head that you don’t want to let up one shot in the whole game,” Kevin Shattenkirk said. “That’s the easiest way to keep goals out of your net. I think that becomes a dangerous game when we try to be perfect, when we’re trying to make sure that every pass is made the right way out of our zone, every shot is blocked.”

Hitchcock notes that the Blues don’t have the needed balance because too many players are overworking from the red line in and not working enough from the red line back.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Goaltending Is Not The Only Problem For The St. Louis Blues

from Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Fixing the Blues’ goalie situation is priority No. 1, but here’s the thing — remember when the Blues were still considered good? They still had some major issues, which persist today.

And these issues are quandaries.

Consider that the Blues have been shaky on defense. Struggling to get the puck out of their zone, to get bodies on opponents, or even, as we saw with Carl Gunnarsson against Washington, to stay upright (to be fair, it is slippery out there). Coach Ken Hitchcock continually mixes up his pairings. St. Louis must improve at defense … yet a smart move is to, effectively, make the defense worse by trading Kevin Shattenkirk, a free-agent-to-be.

Also, the Blues could use a sturdy centerman. But to get one who could truly make a difference, such as the desirable Matt Duchene from Colorado, the Blues might have to trade one of their young pieces, a piece they hoped to build around (and part of the reason they didn’t feel the need to sign David Backes long term).

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- Jake Allen’s Night

from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

“There’s a lot going on right now,” Hitchcock said. “There’s a lot in his head, he’s kind of locked up mentally and he’s going to have to fight through this. So beating it up any more isn’t going to do us any good. We’ve got to get him unlocked, he’s just locked right up.

“If we can help him get unlocked, then that’s what you do, that’s part of coaching. Nobody anticipated this, nobody on our team, nobody in this city anticipated this, but we got it and we’re going to have to figure it out because there’s no help wagon coming.”

more on Allen and the Blues 7-3 loss to the Capitals...

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jake+allen

Video- Highlights Of The Winter Classic Game In St. Louis

The St, Louis Blues defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 in front of 46,556 fans today.

 

 

Game notes supplied by the NHL are below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- You Can’t Have A Ceremonial Puck Drop Without A Puck

Oops...

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Weather Conditions May Come Into Play For Today’s Winter Classic Game

ST. LOUIS, MO. (January 2, 2017) – The National Hockey League announced today that the start time of the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® at Busch Stadium between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks will remain at Noon CT. The decision was made after consulting with meteorologists regarding the latest weather reports, which while the weather forecast is unpredictable, the original start time should provide the best opportunity to play the game.

The following are the weather-related GAME procedure contingencies for the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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