Early Wednesday morning, Ken Hitchcock was notified that he has been relieved of his head coaching duties. Three games over .500 and in the middle of his 6th and final season as head coach of the Blues, Armstrong and/or ownership decided it was time to start the Mike Yeo era in St. Louis. It was apparent that the team was mediocre at best and the leadership on the team had taken a back seat, as of late, but did the franchise make the correct decision? Perhaps there was no other option, perhaps the continuation of these moves is just the “Blues way”, or perhaps this is just another decision made by this team that has just secured Hitch’s next Stanley Cup. The Blues have a made a redundancy of hiring coaches, then firing them, just to see them move on to the next team, and then take them to the place that every Blues fan has been wanting since the teams inception.
The decision has been made and it’s time to accept the fact that another hall of fame coach has come and gone, but was it his fault for the teams lack of success? If you look back at the offseason, there were moves that were made (or the lack thereof) that may have doomed Hitch’s final season before it started. Allowing the core of the teams leadership move on, letting the physically dominating players that make Hitch’s teams succeed move on, and probably the biggest loss of the offseason was assistant coaches Shaw and Muller. Then you look at the additions to the team. Perron has had a much better season than anticipated, but Yakupov, Hutton, and Yeo headline the new faces. Hutton has showed signs of being a viable backup, but his overall performance has been lackluster, Yakupov can barely get on the ice, and the new head coach is about to get his chance to shine (jury is out). With the season that the Wild are having in their first year removed from Yeo, is he going to be the answer or is he part of this seasons woes?
It just seems like the season was doomed before the start, whether the sense of hope and enthusiasm the fans of St. Louis felt prior to October was false or not, the fans are left in an, all to familiar cycle. So what now? Can this be one of those mid-season moves that can ignite a team? I am one of those that are hoping so, but how long do you wait before making the tough choice to concede the season and try to set up the new coach for future success? There are moves out there that can be made, for both short term and long term improvement, but the question will be can the management make the necessary moves to offset a very abysmal offseason.
Another question to throw out there…who is the next team to win the Stanley Cup? My preseason money is on whoever signs Hitch to coach their team. I would like to say thank you to Coach Hitchcock for 6 years, 248 wins, and bringing this team back to legitimacy. Good luck in your future endeavors!