Ken Hitchcock was fired as coach of the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday and replaced by associate coach Mike Yeo. Hitchcock is a Hall-of-Fame coach and it’s always tough to give up on a guy who has won so many games. The problem was that Hitch was set up as a lame duck coach, whether that was by his own design or with the help of General Manager Doug Armstrong.
Hitchcock is 64 years old. With a 248-124-41 regular-season record with the Blues, a career record of 781-473-111, with 88 ties, in 20 seasons with the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Blues and being fourth all-time in coaching victories, behind Scotty Bowman (1,244), Joel Quenneville (831) and Al Arbour (782), he and maybe even the organization felt he deserved to leave on his own terms.
Those terms were to coach one more year and then have Yeo take over next year.
However, think of your own situation at work. If you have a boss who is leaving in three months, how motivated are you going to be to listen to their demands, especially when you know his replacement is working in the office next door? That’s what the Blues players are faced with. What difference does it make what Hitchcock’s message is at this point? In 32 games, he’s done, outta there.
It is time for a new voice. Now, Yeo will step in and try to provide the spark this team needs to make the playoffs.
The Blues are in 4th place in the Central Division and are tied with Calgary for the 8th playoff spot in the Western Conference with two games in hand. The Blues are one point ahead of Vancouver, Dallas and Winnipeg.