It’s not only the X’s and O’s that makes 60 year old Ken Hitchcock a good NHL coach. There’s knowing the Y’s that goes a long way as well, as in Generation Y. Hitchcock prides himself on being able to relate to his young players as a key reason for his success. That helped Hitchcock claim the NHL’s Jack Adams Trophy for Coach of the Year.
After the awards ceremony in Las Vegas, Hitchcock spoke with Dan Rosen of NHL.com. “I know the Xs and Os, but I study people. I pride myself in studying people,” Hitchcock said at the 2012 NHL Awards show at the Wynn Las Vegas. “I’ve worked hard at my craft. I just don’t go into coach’s clinics and look at Xs and Os and power play and penalty killing. I go to millennial seminars for kids. I talk to junior coaches all the time and get updated on when the changes are there. I talk to military people who have cadets going through the same issues that our kids are. I study people and I pride myself in staying current.”
AUDIO Hitchcock tells NHL.com what the Blues learned from the season (:45)
The Blues finished 2nd overall in the Western Conference with 49 wins and 109 points. Hitchcock credits his first week of success when the Blues gained seven points with wins over Chicago, Detroit and Tampa Bay along with a shootout loss to Toronto. Hitchcock took over for Davis Payne on November 6th, after a 6-7 start.
Goaltenders Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott were presented with the William M. Jennings Trophy at the NHL Awards which is given annually to the goaltenders (with a minimum of 25 games played) for the team with the fewest goals against in the regular season. Halak and Elliott combined for the fewest goals allowed in the NHL (165), capturing their first William Jennings Trophy and the second in Blues history (1999-2000, Roman Turek). They combined for a League-high 15 shutouts, tying a modern NHL record set by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1969-70.