News broke that the St. Louis Blues had fired Head Coach Ken Hitchcock, who was already on his way to retirement at the end of the season. In his place, Mike Yeo, formerly of the Minnesota Wild will take over the head coaching duties.
Given the way that the Blues have been playing, it’s not entirely surprising that the front office would let Hitchcock go. The HC is the guy who orchestrates that whole team, deciding who plays on which line, who’s on the power play unit, etc, so if the guy in charge isn’t doing what he’s been paid to do, then bye there’s the door.
It should also be mentioned that while the team lost last night, they are still sitting in a Wild Card Position with a 24-21-5 record, so while not the top of the Central division, they would still have a chance in the dance. So it’s surprising that the team decided to now fire Hitchcock and hope that Yeo can come in and find a way to put together a winning team in the remaining games of the season (doubtful but not impossible).
Hitchcock had announced earlier that the 2016-17 season would be his last and thus the retirement tour began, but after the team’s 5-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong had no choice but to fire his reported best friend within the organization.
But the firing of Hitchcock is just another strange turn of events for the St. Louis Blues. First they lose star TJ Oshie to a trade with the Washington Capitals, then Captain David Backes decided to exercise his free agency and went to play for the Boston Bruins, and finally Troy Brouwer went to play for the Calgary Flames. Now they can add GM drama into the mix.
Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy, wrote a great article on the Blues and their identity crisis. In his article he documents that many incidences when Armstrong would say one thing such as that the team was in a rebuilding year to than making comments about his thinking the team was playoff ready.
So while firing Hitchcock was the right move, the problem is far from being solved. It’s going to take a complete restructuring of the organization in order for the Blues to win on the ice and hopefully (finally) hoist the Stanley Cup.