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Entries with the tag: ken hitchcock

The Future Of Ken Hitchcock

or...

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
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Ken Hitchcock Likely Done In Edmonton After This Season

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

The clichés follow Ken Hitchcock.

His players hate to play for him. His style doesn’t work with today’s players.

And this old chestnut: He has a “shelf life.” Like every coach in Edmonton hasn’t had a shelf life.

As news broke this past few days that Hitchcock has two years remaining after this one on his contract with the Oilers, the possibility suddenly existed that he could return as head coach next season.

Now, a new general manager will be hired, and we’d almost guarantee that his choice as a head coach will not be a 67-year-old who won his only Stanley Cup 19 months after Connor McDavid was born.

continued

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Promote Ken Hitchcock

from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,

Hitch for GM*.

With an asterisk.

Consider that as a short-term solution to the Edmonton Oilers’ current situation, with a lame duck general manager who has lost the fan base and the media and, quite likely, lost the owner and CEO, who have a 10-day break ahead to consider firing Peter Chiarelli now instead of later.

Think about it.

Replace Chiarelli with assistant Keith Gretzky and give head coach Ken Hitchcock the call to make the moves that he thinks ought to be made.

Hitchcock was the guest on Hockey Night In Canada’s ‘After Hours’ with Scott Oake and Louie DeBrusk Saturday, and made several interesting statements.

continued

You can watch the After Hours interview below.

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Morning Line- Ken Hitchcock

"We didn't compete, their best players were their best players. We didn't compete, so this is on everybody. Everybody."

"The start? Come on. We had one player show up and play. Darnell Nurse was our best player by a mile. He was one of the most competitive players on the ice and that's all we had.

"When you have one player that competes at a high level in a game like this, it can't be acceptable. There's been too much of this going on in the first 41 games. We win one and then we take our foot off the gas, and that's exactly what we did."

-Ken Hitchcock, head coach of the Edmonton Oiler after a 4-0 loss to the LA Kings last night.

More at NHL.com.

Catch the game highlights below.

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Ken Hitchcock Not Happy With The Refs After A 4-2 Loss To The Vancouver Canucks

from David Staples of the Edmonton Journal,

This in from Edmonton Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock, his brilliant rip on the referees after Edmonton’s 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks that saw the Canucks get five power plays, the Oilers just one, and Connor McDavid no end of hooks, holds and slashes.

In the media scrum, Postmedia’s Rob Tychkowski asked Hitchcock what the coach thought of the penalty calls: “I’m not going to comment on the penalties,” Hitchcock said, “but the stuff that really bothers me is what is happening to Connor, and that really bothers me because we’re a league that is supposed to showcase our top players, and you don’t want to give them all the freedom, but the tug of war on him was absolutely ridiculous today.

“And that’s a little bit discouraging to be honest with you. Because I can see the whackin’ and hackin’ going on when he’s got the puck but to me it’s all the stuff behind that doesn’t allow him to showcase his speed. And if that’s what we want, well, that’s fine. But I think it’s a real disservice to a player like him.

“He’s not allowed to play give-and-go. It’s give-and-hold. So we’re going to have to figure out a way to fight through it. We’ll just play toughness with him and figure it out from there.”

continued

Below, watch Hitchcock in his post-game media scrum, the McDavid talk starts at the 1:00 mark.

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Connor McDavid, Meet Ken Hitchcock

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

Hitchcock is going to demand defense from McDavid, and test him like he did to past stars like Mike Modano and Tyler Seguin. But he said his new star already has the traits to get the job done -- and will thus have the puck more.

"His recovery rate, cardio-wise, is astounding,” Hitchcock told reporters in Anaheim. “He’s able to get back up to speed quickly. That’s something we’ve got to take advantage of. He can come out every second shift if it stays 5-on-5. My focus is going to be building his game from our end out. He needs to have the puck more, as do all of our centers, because that’s the strength of the team."...

McDavid is having another huge year, with 13 goals and a league-high 32 points in 22 games, but Chiarelli just didn't put enough around him. Hitchcock wants McDavid with the puck and to be more aware defensively. During the San Jose game, NBC's Jeremy Roenick spotlighted McDavid making a sweeping turn in the defensive zone, too slow to cover the slot before a goal was scored. He said Hitchcock will demand stops and starts and quick strides to make better defensive decisions.

"He’s a different style of coach and a new voice,” said McDavid. “He just wants us to play hard. That’s one thing that all of his teams have, everyone brings their effort every night. Any time you bring in a new coach it’s the last option before shipping everyone out. That’s what we’ve reached here. This is a chance for us to come together and try to make something out of this.”

more plus other hockey topics...

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Video- Afternoon Line- Ken Hitchcock

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Todd McLellan Out In Edmonton, Replaced By Ken Hitchcock

 

added 12:00pm, Edmonton press release is below.

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Ken Hitchcock On Why He Stopped Coaching

from Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News,

For those who think Hitchcock didn’t leave after one season back behind the bench on his own terms, he begs to disagree. His five-year deal with Stars owner Tom Gaglardi assured he would move from coach to consultant. It just didn’t say when.

“I think I’ve had enough," he said. “I think the coaching part...is over."

There’s a considerable pause between "coaching part" and "is over." It suggests he has come to terms with it more than he has completely embraced it. But Hitchcock talked about the physical grind wearing him down this season, that he believed he was mentally sharp but eventually could not accept the hours the job demands.

He has lost 40 pounds since the Stars’ season ended and plans to drop a few more. Life on the road wears on Hitchcock in many ways, and too many carbs becomes just a different kind of problem from too many defeats.

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Report- Ken Hitchcock Expected Tor Retire From Coaching

 

added 11:04am, Dallas press release is below.

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Has Ken Hitchcock Coached His Last Game In Dallas?

from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,

There's a chance Ken Hitchcock coached his final NHL game Saturday.

He is the third-winningest coach in league history with 823 wins. After Saturday's 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings, Hitchcock leads the Stars with 319 wins and is second in line behind Mike Modano in terms of franchise icon status. He is going to the Hockey Hall of Fame one day.

What's more, he is a heck of a guy with a heck of a story -- and this chapter might be over.

Hitchcock is on a long-term contract with the Stars, but the coaching part of that contract is to be explored after each season. Should the Stars believe there is a better option out there to coach the team, Hitchcock can be promoted to an advisor's position. As we survey the NHL landscape just one day after the regular season, there could be better options out there.

read on

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Hockey By Hitchcock

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

There were stretches in St. Louis where David Backes met with Ken Hitchcock every day. Backes exited some of those meetings with less-than-fuzzy feelings for his boss.

“Sometimes I left the rink cussing him and not very happy with him,” Backes recalled. “You look back on it a couple weeks later and you go, ‘Oh, he was doing that for a reason — to make us better.’ ”...

The Stars no longer play fast and loose. They are applying their legs differently: sprinting to and staying in high-danger areas, reducing space in open ice, and getting in opponents’ faces to limit their touches. It is Hitch Hockey, applied previously with success in St. Louis, Columbus, Philadelphia, and Dallas the first time around. The Stars are within the Western Conference’s top eight, ahead of Minnesota and Chicago in the Central Division.

“He’s got guys with high levels of skill, and he’s got them playing hard in the dirty areas,” Backes said. “They’re winning puck battles along the wall, committed to back pressure and backchecking so they can get turnovers and go back the other way.

more plus other hockey notes...

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Upper Body/Lower Body

The Washington Post's Curtis Rush and Isabelle Khurshudyan wrote an excellent article about the NHL's inconsistent injury disclosure policy:

Ken Hitchcock was tired of the dance. In his 22nd year behind an NHL bench, the Dallas Stars head coach decided he would break from the prevalent, league-wide trend of referring publicly to player injuries only as "upper body" or "lower body" ailments.

"It's an injury and within two hours after we tell you [the media] it's upper body, you know exactly what it is, so why not just tell you?" Hitchcock said earlier this season.

The practice of vague, binary injury designations was adopted decades earlier by coaches who believed they were protecting their players by being vague. They theorized that opponents aware of injury specifics would target the ailing body parts or otherwise exploit the injured players. But Hitchcock does not buy that logic.

"The players don't go out and say, 'He has a broken left pinkie, and we're going to go after that pinkie,'" Hitchcock says. "Nobody thinks like that."

The "upper body"/"lower body" convention has been allowed to persist because, unlike the NFL, the NHL does not have a policy requiring teams to release injury information publicly. But the practice is under increased scrutiny in an age of distrust for corporate communication and of increased concern around the treatment of concussions - an injury commonly lumped into the "upper body" category.

Continued

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Why Ken Hitchcock Took The Dallas Stars Job

from Alex Prewitt of Sports Illustrated,

“Alex, sit your ass right there and start asking questions.”

The directive arrives from the training table where Ken Hitchcock lies flat on his back, white hair against the headrest, sneakers dangling off the edge. It’s early last Wednesday, three hours until the Dallas Stars’ morning skate in Brooklyn, and the visiting area at Barclays Center is beginning to stir. Equipment managers hang jerseys across the hall. Hitchcock’s assistants cut video in the coaches room. The ice machine grumbles. Massage therapist Dan Garcia enters.

“Come on, big Dan,” says Hitchcock. “We’re going to multitask.”

My ass finds a stool.

He should be retired by now. That’s what the hockey world heard, at least.

continued

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Afternoon Line- Ken Hitchcock

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It’s Official- Ken Hitchcock Back In Dallas

FRISCO, Texas - Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the team has named Ken Hitchcock as head coach.

"Ken is an exceptionally talented coach and we could not be happier to have him joining the organization," said Nill. "He is a meticulous coach who brings with him an emphasis on structure and a defensive style of play, which will accent our level of skill nicely. Ken has an incredible hockey mind and we look forward to his guidance on the ice."

Hitchcock, 65, enters his second stint as head coach of the Stars, having previously spent the first seven seasons of his NHL head coaching career behind the Dallas bench from 1996-2002. In his first tour with Dallas, Hitchcock earned a 277-154-72 record in 503 games as head coach. He currently ranks first in Stars franchise history in games coached (503), wins (277) and points percentage (.622). Hitchcock also amassed a 47-33 record in 80 Stanley Cup Playoff games during his first tenure with the Stars, making five appearances in the postseason. He guided Dallas to two trips to the Stanley Cup Final and led the Stars to the franchise's first Stanley Cup championship in 1999.

"Ken Hitchcock is an established NHL coach that everyone here in Dallas is familiar with, and we couldn't be happier to welcome him back to the organization," said Stars Owner and Governor Tom Gaglardi. "A proven winner, Hitchcock knows exactly what it takes to be successful in this League and he is the perfect fit for what this team needs. His familiarity with the city of Dallas and the Stars organization definitely added to his appeal, and I'm confident that will he will greatly help our group in a number of areas."

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Why Ken Hitchcock Is A Fit In Dallas Again

from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,

Sure, he's 65 now. Sure, the game has changed. Sure, this team is much younger than the one Hitchcock inherited back when "Macarena" was No. 1 on the charts.

But the signs of "déjà vu all over again" are all over the Stars.

Hitchcock came in and taught a highly skilled center named Mike Modano how to play two-way hockey, eventually seeing Modano earn votes as a Selke Trophy candidate.

Hitchcock came in and helped a veteran named Joe Nieuwendyk learn how to fit in as a No. 2 center, eventually seeing him win the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP in the playoffs....

It's easy to look to the past and try to rebuild the best hockey memories Dallas has ever known, but it also makes a ton of sense.

Isn't Tyler Seguin in the same place Modano was? The speedy center has had plenty of success and ranks fifth in NHL scoring since he joined the Stars in 2013 with 306 points (133 goals, 173 assists) in 305 games. But Lindy Ruff was so frustrated by Seguin's defensive play that he slotted the 25-year-old at right wing for much of the season.

Wouldn't Hitchcock be the perfect guy to mold Seguin into a two-way player like Modano or Patrice Bergeron?

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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.”

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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.

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Morning Line- Ken Hitchcock

“This game is the same as four or five games we’ve played already. We’ve played really well, had a lot of good stuff, but don’t finish. I think we’ve got to look at everything right now. I think we’ve got to look at combinations, what’s working, what’s not working, what we need to get more from. Can’t just keep living on scoring chances, you’ve got to finish at the end of the day. I think we’ve got to look at every aspect right now.”

-Ken Hitchcock, head coach of the St. Louis Blues after a 2-1 shootout loss to Detroit.  Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has more.

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Chatting With Ken Hitchcock

from Darren Dreger ot The Dreger Report at TSN,

I've covered Hitchcock teams since the 1980s when he had great success coaching the WHL's Kamloops Blazers and have always been impressed by his boundless energy and passion for the game. I, like many others, believed Hitch would have to be dragged from the bench, kicking and screaming, and didn't expect he would leave coaching on his own terms — at least, not yet.

This week, I circled back to check in on the Blues and to see how the 64-year-old coach was managing his final NHL training camp. We chatted about the depth of his team and some of the things he likes and doesn't like about his roster before the conversation inevitably got deeper. My search was for an emotional storyline; to talk about the things he will miss most about coaching in the NHL. Instead, Hitchcock opened the door, just a crack, to the possibility this may not be his final season. While his intention to step away remains the same, he won't know for sure until the end of the season.

“That [coming back] is possible, but that's in May or June and that's a long time off and you know I just don't think at this time...I don't think it's fair to do that,” Hitchcock told the Dreger Report. “I'm going to coach like crazy and I want to see how I feel and if I feel different then I will let somebody know. Other than that, I feel like I want to pour it all in now and then take stock at a different time.

“My vested interest is in coaching and in the coaches and in that fraternity. So for me, that's got to be a major focus until the day comes when I don't have my wits about me. My focus is in those people. It's working with the people who are on the firing line.”

read on

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Audio/Video- Ken Hitchcock On His Plans For The Future

via Sportsnet,

St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock opens up about where he sees himself now and after his one-year contract ends, says “I can’t see myself out of the game,” even after retiring from coaching.

 

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One More Year For Ken Hitchcock

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

The Blues confirmed Tuesday that they were keeping their head coach, Ken Hitchcock, who agreed to another one-year contract extension. But as a result of the short-term contract offers made to the staff, associate head coach Brad Shaw is moving on and assistant Kirk Muller could be as well.

Both, particularly Muller, had been seen as potential successors to Hitchcock when he retired.

But that won’t be 2016-17, after the Blues and Hitchcock announced that he will be back for a sixth season with the team. It will be his 21st in the NHL and last in the league behind the bench, he insisted.

“I’m telling you right now, this is my last one-year deal,” said Hitchcock, who will turn 65 in December. “I’m not coaching after this year. This is it. So I’m done. I don’t know if I’m going to retire ... but I’m not coaching after this year.”...

In regard to Hitchcock’s successor in 2017-18, Armstrong said that he would consider promoting from within. The two possible replacements were believed to be Shaw and Muller.

But the Blues have decided not to offer any of their assistants a longer term than what they’re giving Hitchcock, and so after 10 years with the franchise, Shaw has decided to move on.

“It was a one-year (offer) and I just made the decision with my family that now is a good time to maybe take the next step in my career,” Shaw said. “It’s been a great 10 years here. I’ve had so much growth as a person and as a coach and met so many great people. It wasn’t an easy decision, I can tell you that.”

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A One-Year Contract Extension For Ken Hitchcock

added 11:27am,

 

 


(May 31, 2016) - St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the Blues have signed Head Coach Ken Hitchcock to a one-year contract extension.  Hitchcock was originally hired by the Blues on Nov. 7, 2011, becoming the 24th head coach in team history.  The Edmonton, Alberta native will enter his sixth season behind the Blues bench in 2016-17.

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Afternoon Line- Ken Hitchcock On The World Cup Of Hockey

The players who will skate in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey will face a tougher, more intense game than they have experienced in the Olympics.

-Ken Hitchcock, head coach of the St, Louis Blues on the World Cup of Hockey.  Chris Stevenson at NHL.com has more from Hitchcock on the event.

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Fill In The Blank- Ken Hitchcock Is An——-

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

In the NFL especially, there’s video every Sunday of coaches congratulating players on a victory, followed by a stacking of hands and then a breakdown: “1-2-3, TEAM!”

The NHL and the Blues are no different, but what Ken Hitchcock instructed his players to say before a meeting in Buffalo last month was far from customary. It’s far from appropriate for print, too, which is why several blushed when asked about it.

“1-2-3, Coach is an (expletive),” Hitchcock acknowledged. “It was humorous.”

No self-deprecating comical moment like that would ever dispel Hitchcock’s reputation of grating on individuals. That is cemented on, like the gray hoodie he wears every waking moment that he’s not behind a bench.

But neither that, nor the perception that his power with players was lost when the Blues went looking for a new coach last offseason, nor discussion about him being on the “hot seat” seems to bother the 64-year-old.

read on

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Coach’s challenge depends on video coaches

From an Insider-only entry by ESPN's Craig Custance:

As close as they are, St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock sometimes can’t help but poke fun at his friend Mike Babcock. Take, for instance, Hitchcock’s reaction when asked about Babcock winning the NHL’s first coach’s challenge on opening night.

“Babs looks like a star and he didn’t do a damn thing. He stood on the bench looking bewildered. Typical Babs,” Hitchcock said, laughing.

In Babcock’s defense, he was quick to credit assistant coach Andrew Brewer after the game, the guy Hitchcock pointed out was the true star. Brewer is a Maple Leafs coach with a background as a video coach.

“Andrew saved him. I would imagine Andrew got 29 calls today. How did he do it? What did he do? It came down quick,” Hitchcock said. “It was a sharp call and had a big impact on the game.”

When the Sharks won their goalie interference coach’s challenge against the Capitals, San Jose coach Peter DeBoer was quick to credit goalie coach Johan Hedberg and video coach Dan Darrow.

“I’m just the puppet calling the timeout,” DeBoer said to reporters. “It was a great catch.”

When the NHL’s board of governors approved the addition of a coach’s challenge to give NHL head coaches the ability to challenge goals scored following questionable goalie interference or plays that were potentially offside there were visions of guys like Babcock, DeBoer and Hitchcock throwing flags onto the ice and becoming the center of attention.

The reality has been much different. The new rule has thrust the video coaches, not the head coaches, into the spotlight.

Continued

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  Tags: ken+hitchcock, mike+babcock, pete+deboer, san+jose+sharks, st.+louis+blues, toronto+maple+leafs

Morning Line- Ken Hitchcock

“You don’t just bring in six fast skaters, it doesn’t work that way. The ‘faster’ we wanted was more ability to bring it from the back end, that’s where we wanted the speed coming from. I keep using that word ‘reckless,’ more reckless speed from the back end. That’s what (Petteri) Lindbohm does ... (Robert) Bortuzzo is not afraid to do that. We want to play our defense in a much more active role with the puck and a much tighter gap without the puck.

“The quickness is in the kids (Rattie and Fabbri). Some team isn’t just going to give you a really quick player, you’re going to have to develop that. But you can still play quicker, which is what we want to do. We have to play quicker. We need to get back to where we were before, in that we had the ability to play a little bit reckless in joining the play. We need to get back to that element of our game again.”

-Ken Hitchcock, head coach of the St. Louis Blues.  More on the Blues from Jeremy P. Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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Will McDavid, Eichel become ‘generational’ players?

From the Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal:

People keep calling Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel “generational” players.

It’s a glowing description for the pair of 18-year-old centres expected to be the first and second picks in Friday’s National Hockey League draft at Sunrise, Fla. But what does that mean? Is it the next rung up from a franchise player?

“A generational player to me is a complete player who needs limited coaching, understands the time and temperature of a game, and can beat you with his work and beat you with his skill,” said St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. “You don’t have to paint them a picture to get them to understand it. They already have it in their DNA.”

Bobby Orr had it. So did Wayne Gretzky. Mario Lemieux, for sure. They come along every 10 to 20 years, if hockey fans are lucky.

Eric Lindros was thought to be a generational talent as a teenager because he was so big and made plays with soft hands. Concussion problems, though, limited his climb up the generational scale. Sidney Crosby was a wunderkind growing up, but will he ever be on par with Orr, Gretzky and Lemieux?

McDavid and Eichel, the Boston University freshman centre, have been the rage for years and had scouts raving “watch this kid; he can do it all.” They are both coming to the NHL with a skill set and more hoopla than all the rest. But they haven’t played an NHL game.

Continued

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  Tags: connor+mcdavid, eric+lindros, jack+eichel, ken+hitchcock, mario+lemieux, sidney+crosby, wayne+gretzky

A One-Year Contract For Ken Hitchcock In St. Louis

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the club and Head Coach Ken Hitchcock have agreed on a one-year contract.
  
Hitchcock, 63, was originally named the 24th head coach in Blues history on Nov. 7, 2011.  Since, he has guided the Blues to four straight postseason appearances, three 100-point regular season campaigns and two Central Division championships.  In 2014-15, he captured his second Central Division title with the club, while logging the third-best regular season record in franchise history (51-24-7, 109 pts).

During Hitchcock’s four-year tenure, the Blues have posted the NHL’s best regular season record (175-79-27, .671) and achieved three of the top four regular season records in franchise history.  Hitchcock’s success has landed him second on the club’s all-time wins list and first in terms of points percentage (.671).  Hitchcock has reached several milestones behind the Blues’ bench including Mar. 12, 2015, when he became the fourth coach in NHL history to reach 700 career regular season wins.  In addition, in the Blues’ Central Division-winning 2011-12 campaign, he became just the fourth head coach in franchise history to receive the NHL’s Jack Adams Award as the League’s best coach. 

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Saturday Headlines discuss coaches’ moves and Dubnyk

On Hockey Night in Canada, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman discussed the post-Babcock coaching dominoes (Todd Nelson of Edmonton "free to look around," Don Sweeney meeting with Claude Julien to discuss "personnel and style of play," Dan Bylsma's status, Ken Hitchcock's future) and Devan Dubnyk's desire to re-sign with the Wild:

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  Tags: boston+bruins, claude+julien, devan+dubnyk, don+sweeney, edmonton+oilers, ken+hitchcock, minnesota+wild, st.+louis+blues, todd+nelson

The Latest On Ken Hitchcock

from Norm Sanders of the News-Democrat,

While he indicated Thursday he has been having discussions with current St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock since the season ended, General Manager Doug Armstrong refused to shed any light on the team’s coaching situation.

Hitchcock’s contract expires in June and the Blues reportedly explored the possibility of bringing in former Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. Media reports suggested that Babcock had talks with the Blues, Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres before deciding to sign a record-breaking eight-year, $50 million contract to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs.

During a conference call with reporters Thursday to discuss the hiring of new assistant general manager Martin Brodeur, Armstrong was asked specifically if he knew whether Hitchcock would be brought back as head coach of the Blues next season.

“You’re trying to put words in my mouth,” Armstrong said. “When I have something to communicate, I will.”

continued

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What About Ken Hitchcock?

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

... But what if Babcock says "no" to the Blues?

The list of candidates outside the Detroit bench boss is short and underwhelming. Todd McLellan, who left San Jose this offseason, will be named as Edmonton's next coach Tuesday afternoon. The Sharks are said to be interested in former New Jersey coach Pete DeBoer and former Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma. Meanwhile, if Babcock does return to the Red Wings, Buffalo and Toronto will still be looking for coaches as well.

The likely scenario is that the Blues would turn back to Hitchcock, despite the fact that it's now known that they are trying to replace him. It doesn't seem like the club would be worried about how that looks from the outside, because the Blues were trying to bring in one of the league's top coaches and would be returning to one who has won the fourth most games in history.

more

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Ken Hitchcock Needs Time To Decide His Future

from Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said he needed time to reflect on the season before making a decision as to whether he'll return as coach of the Blues next season.

"I need time," Hitchcock said. "I need time to reflect, some time to evaluate right now, what I've done, what I've accomplished, what's happened to us, both positive, a lot of it, and the negative, which goes with the territory. I feel like I've let people down right now and I need to look at that and what needs to improve and I want time and space to evaluate it. I'll sit down with Doug, we've been together a long time, I know how good a coach I am, I know what I can do."

continued

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Ken Hitchcock Still An Unsigned Coach

from Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

“There are going to be some dynamite teams in our conference that don’t get in (the playoffs). A lot of it is based on the players’ ability to buy what the coaching staff is selling. We’ve accomplished that while transforming the team,” he said. “But what’s invigorated me is coaching a different group of guys. There have been four or five changes and we’ve still had a high level of success. I think the staff and players buying in is what drives me to coach a lot longer. I really want to do that.”

Still, by leaving his future open for question this season, it’s fair to wonder if the organization holds to its September position that the job is his as long as Hitchcock desires it.

Four years is an eternity in the NHL. The Blues have advanced past the first round only once under Hitchcock and have yet to win a second-round game. Forward T.J. Oshie cited information overload after Monday’s unsightly loss to Vancouver. Hitchcock assumes assurances offered in September remain in force today. Others in the organization suggest less tolerance for another first-round playoff exit given the previous three years’ 8-13 postseason record.

“There’s always going to be a question for players and coaches until we win a first round. But it’s a question I’m not afraid to answer,” Hitchcock said. “I don’t know the answer right now but this team is built to go long in series, long in games. We’ve won a lot of games late. We’ve been at our best in the second and third periods. We know we can go the distance. Like everyone else I won’t know until it plays out but I’m looking forward to answering the questions.”

more

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Ken Hitchcock On The Lack Of Scoring In The NHL

via Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,

Following his team's morning skate, Hitchcock was asked about the lack of scoring in the NHL this season:

"Well I think it's still a star-power driven league. I'd like to see guys get 100 points. I'd like to see 50-goal scorers again. I'd like to see all that stuff be brought in but one of the problems you have right now is there's just too much mobility in the game. Too many teams have four lines that can skate. They have four [defensemen] that are mobile. When the mobility in the game is at the level it's at now, they can recover ice. You don't get the odd-man rushes that you did before. I think this is the way the game is going to be played now. It really hard to get open offensively because people can recover ice so much.

You had, even three, four years ago, you had five, six guys on the team that were great skaters. Now, you've got a dozen on every team. You go look at junior hockey, you look at college hockey, it is really, really fast right now. Just the mobility is the key thing. Kids are being taught skating at a prime age and the mobility in the game has just changed so much right now. I just think this is the way it's going to be for the next 20 years."

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Garrioch discusses the Coyotes, Fisher and the Blues’ Hitch-up

Of the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch's numerous Sunday hockey notes, these struck me as the most interesting and intriguing:

You have to wonder about the future of the Arizona Coyotes when the five-year out clause expires. The owners group already have piled up $34 million in losses and $50 million in four years is the point where the club can exercise a move. No, this news isn't stunning, but it's no wonder Andrew Barroway, who took over the Coyotes in January, pushed for a rebuild.

The Predators already have opened talks with UFA C Mike Fisher and he likely isn't going anywhere, but if he does go to market he's going to have something to think about. "There'd be strong offers for him," said a league executive Friday. Not only is Fisher hard-nosed, he's got good offensive skills and can help a team win. Turns out he has been an excellent fit in the West since being dealt to Nashville by the Senators but even if Fisher gets to free agency there's not much chance he's leaving the Predators.

St. Louis could be a hotspot in the off-season if they don't get past the first round. The Blues are on a collision course to face the Chicago Blackhawks and that never has turned out very well in the past. Coach Ken Hitchcock has done an excellent job, however, he has to start getting results in the post-season. If he doesn't, then it's quite possible there could be a change behind the bench.

Garrioch continues, discussing Nazem Kadri, the Sharks, Ted Nolan and the Devils...

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, ken+hitchcock, mike+fisher, nashville+predators, phoenix+coyotes, st.+louis+blues

All Ken Hitchcock

from Curtis Rush of the Toronto Star,

The Star chatted with Hitchcock on Friday, a day before the Blues faced the Leafs, and we asked him about coaching and innovations in hockey.

You don’t allow players to hang their heads on the bench. Why?

We hate that here because there’s body language that the opposition is looking at. You never want the opposition to say you’re discouraged, we don’t put up with it. There are no sloped shoulders.

You speak of ownership from the team’s best players. What does that mean?

I think if the best players aren’t leading it becomes a little bit chaotic, so we ask our top players to lead us, not just in the games but in the practices. The demands we place on them aren’t so much what they say, it’s how they perform everyday when we’re together.

Have you ever been offered a chance to coach the Leafs, and would you if the chance presented itself?

I’m not commenting on that one, they have a coach.

read on

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Ken Hitchcock After The Blues 5-2 Loss To The Canadiens

from Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

“What we’re doing is not paying any respect to checking,” he said. “We’re not paying any respect to defense, to managing the puck, to managing the proper way to play. I don’t care what the shots on goal are. When you give up as many odd-man rushes as we gave up in the last two games, we’re showing no respect for what matters in the National Hockey League at this time.

“And in the offensive zone, the sense of urgency that we’re not playing with, that we’ve played with all year, is not there. That’s why we don’t score, that’s why we don’t get second and third chances, that’s why we don’t win the front-of-the-net battles. Those combinations are lethal the wrong way. You have no control over the hockey game because of the scoring chances you give up off these odd-man rushes.

“We’re a team that’s made a lot of great inroads on playing a certain way and now we don’t want to play that way, and we’re not interested in playing the way that’s been successful here. We want to play a different way right now and it’s really, really hurting us.”

more on the Blues...

Below, watch Hitchcock post-game...

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: ken+hitchcock

Simmons on the Franson trade, Burmistrov and Price for Hart

Amongst the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons' Sunday hockey and/or sports-related notes, which mostly involve the Toronto Maple Leafs:

If you break down the Cody Franson-Mike Santorelli trade, it’s basically Franson for a late first-round pick and Santorelli for the prospect Brendan Leipsic. The Leafs had a very extensive book on Leipsic, partly because personnel man Mark Hunter had his London Knights play against him in the Memorial Cup. Leipsic is known for three things: 1) being small; 2) being ultra-competitive; 3) having ridiculous ‘he could stickhandle in a phone booth’ hands...

Coaches that interest the Leafs: Still working division: Mike Babcock, Todd McLellan; Ken Hitchcock; Dave Tippett; Out of work division: Peter DeBoer. Seemingly no interest: Dan Bylsma...

The Leafs also have some interest in Alexander Burmistrov, the troubled high draft pick playing in the KHL, whose rights are owned by Winnipeg...

I'm intrigued by Burmistrov myself--he's 23 and liberally-listed at 6' and 179 pounds, and he hasn't exactly lit it up during two seasons with the Ak Bars Kazan, but he's still fleet-footed as all hell get out, and he could be somebody's next-year reclamation project.

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: alexander+burmistrov, carey+price, cody+franson, dan+bylsma, dave+tippett, hart+trophy, ken+hitchcock, mike+babcock, mike+santorelli, montreal+canadiens, nashville+predators, pete+deboer, todd+mclellan, toronto+maple+leafs, winnipeg+jets

Evening Line- Ken Hitchcock

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
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All Ken Hitchcock

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

Earlier [Monday] when you were talking to the media here you said to be good on special teams you want the percentages on the power play and penalty kill to add up to 105. Why 105? And why has the Blues penalty kill this season been problematic?

"The old number used to 100, but 100 doesn't get you in the top-10 now in the League, especially because the PK numbers are so high. To me 105 is a goal, that if your number reaches there you're winning that game within the game. So that's the goal every 10 games to get to that 105 number. That means special teams are helping you, not hurting you. When the 5-on-5 play is even, either your PK is helping you win the game or your power play is helping you win it. When you get close to that number, you're going to win the special teams game in most games...

read on and four more questions for Hitchcock too...

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Garrioch: ‘The heat is definitely on Hitchcock’

Staal, Myers, and more! The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch also offers the following rumors:

The St. Louis Blues could fire coach Ken Hitchcock if his team isn’t able to get its act together quickly. The heat is definitely on Hitchcock after an early playoff exit last spring and the club brought in Bob Gainey to act as a mentor. The Blues signed centre Paul Statsny in the off-season and expect to be better. If they don’t buy into Hitchcock’s program soon, you would have to think changes are coming ... With the World Cup of Hockey set to return in 2016 in Toronto, the committee has spoken with organizers of the Toronto International Film about overlapping their last week with the tournament. Not sure TIFF needs the exposure but it would be a good fit for the NHL and NHLPA to get more notice ... Confirm or deny: The Coyotes and the Senators had discussions about defenceman Jared Cowen ... A league executive said Friday teams will start to get nervous at the 20-game mark. “You don’t really know what you’ve got after 10 games. You have a pretty good idea after 20,” he said.

Garrioch continues and suggests that Martin Brodeur is still dead-set on being a #1 goaltender, and I don't want to post this, but I suppose I have to:

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, bob+murray, buffalo+sabres, detroit+red+wings, jared+cowen, ken+hitchcock, ottawa+senators, st.+louis+blues, tyler+myers, world+cup

Morning Line - Ken Hitchcock

“We’re not playing the right way. We made a heck of a run here playing the right way, no odd-man rushes, don’t force offense, don’t give the puck away and make hope-for plays offensively. We’ve had a shoot-first mentality that allowed us to be top five in the league in scoring goals. But we don’t want to play the right way. We want to play a different game right now. Until we buy into that, we’re going to have some rough water we have to go through.

 

“When you force offense and you play careless with the puck, when you have defensemen who want to play ahead of the forwards, you end up with a recipe for disaster. … We’ve given up more odd-man rushes in six hockey games than we did in two months last year. You can’t win like that. The alarm bell’s going off.”

-Ken Hitchcock, coach of the St. Louis Blues after losing 4-1 at home to Vancouver.  More on the game from Tom Timmerman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Below, watch Hitchcock's post-game...

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: ken+hitchcock

Ken Hitchcock Deals With The Pressure Of Winning

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

“I really believe that pressure is a privilege,” Hitchcock said. “When people say you’ve got a good team and you should do well, it’s a privilege. I look at it, ‘If there isn’t pressure to play in the playoffs, this is really, really boring,’ and I think I would lose interest. I want that responsibility, so I look at it as a real opportunity and a real privilege.”

When the Blues and Hitchcock picked up the mutual option on his contract for this season May 7, less than two weeks after the club’s first-round playoff exit, it was a decision the coach with the seventh-most wins in NHL history strongly claimed belonged to him.

“I’m at the stage in my career where the decision to go one year at a time is mine — not anybody else’s — Ken Hitchcock’s,” said Hitchcock, who won a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999 and is one victory short in St. Louis of registering at least 125 regular-season wins with four franchises (Dallas, Philadelphia, Columbus and the Blues).

“The reason for that is, I’ve reached a stage in my career where I don’t want to cheat a franchise. The day I don’t want to learn and get better, the day I don’t want to go back and tweak, the day I just close the books and don’t work at it, I don’t want to be a coach.

read on

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  Tags: ken+hitchcock

Ken Hitchcock Chats With Fans And One Former Player

Ken Hitchcock, head coach of the St. Louis Blues took to Twitter today (the full chat) to answer some questions...

 

Then this zinger...

 

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One-Year Contract Extension For Ken Hitchcock In St. Louis

(MAY 7, 2014) – St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the club has extended the contract of Head Coach Ken Hitchcock for the 2014-15 season.  Associate Coach Brad Shaw and Assistant Coach Ray Bennett will return for this upcoming season as well.  In addition, the club announced that Assistant Coach Gary Agnew and Goaltending Coach Corey Hirsch will not rejoin the team. A search to round-out the coaching staff will begin immediately, and the club will have no further comment until replacements are named. 

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: ken+hitchcock

Afternoon Lines

via Wes Walz tweets,

listening to self proclaimed "hockey experts" call MIke Rupp a goon is wrong! MR never susp EVER and has been honest player his whole career

Tough play with Osh last night,love him as a player BUT don't forget 2 weeks ago when Blues wanted to "send a message" to Wild #livebysword

Moral of the story....play hard ALWAYS and be a TOUGH team to play against but do so....quietly. #headsupwhenheadingintoforest

via Jeremy Rutherford tweets,

Hitch: “The comments by Wes Walz, knowing the (Wild) coaching staff the way I do, I don’t believe they would condone those comments.

Hitch cont'd: "... and quite frankly with a player getting hurt like that, they’re just disgusting."

If you missed the hit from Rupp on Oshie, watch it here...

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  Tags: ken+hitchcock, wes+walz

Afternoon Line

Listen, do me a favor, tell Patrick (Roy) he can talk to you Adrian (Dater).  Don't come in here and comment on him. So I've done my commenting on him. He can say whatever he wants. He always has something to say after every game, so...

-Ken Hitchcock, coach of the St. Louis Blues during his post-game conference which I watched.

Patrick Roy made a few post-game comments, here is one...

 

added 5:48pm,

 

added 8:26pm, Watch the Hitchock conference below...

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: ken+hitchcock

Morning Line

“We were poor right across the board. Poor with our discipline. Our top players took poor penalties, poor in every aspect of our game.

“It’s disappointing. We’re going to have to regroup. This is on everybody. It’s on me, it’s on the players ... it’s a total team loss. It’s just disappointing to put in an effort like (Monday) and to come back and play like we did today.”

-Ken Hitchcock, head coach of the St. Louis Blues after losing to the Devils 7-1.  More on the game from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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