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October 2019
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Posts Tagged ‘Ken Hitchcock.’

Former CBJ coach Hitchcock has Blues singing NHL playoffs

 

Ken Hitchcock (photo by Mickey Reeves)

There was no doubt that before Ken Hitchcock got to St. Louis, the Blues hockey team was not anywhere near being an NHL playoff team under the direction of Davis Payne.

But since the former Blue Jackets coach has been behind the bench, the Blues are singing playoffs.

Since his hiring, St. Louis is 23-6-7 and are only two points behind Detroit for first place in the overall NHL standings.

The Blue Jackets management must be seething right now because they could’ve re-installed him behind their bench while he was still a club adviser, but elected to wait out a turnaround with now-fired Scott Arniel.

One of the reasons the Blues are so good, is that they have one of the best one-two punches in goal with Bruce Elliott and Jaroslav Halak. Elliott is 15-5-1 with a 1.68 goals-against-average while Halak is 13-7-5 with a 2.00 GAA. The duo have combined for 9 shutouts.

 

Info compiled from St. Louis Blues, NHL, Radio & TV news

 

Hitchcock has Blues at top of NHL

 

Ken Hitchcock (photo by Mickey Reeves)

There is no doubt that former Columbus Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock has made a difference in the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues have earned 13 out of a possible 14 points in the month of January (6-0-1) and are tied with the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks atop the NHL standings with 60 points.

At their home ice rink, the Scottrade Center, St. Louis is 19-3-3 and set a single-season club record by earning at least a point at home for the 13th straight game.

Another reason is goaltender Jaroslav Halak who has a personal streak of 9-0-3 in his past 12 starts.

 

Info compiled from St. Louis Blues & NHL news

Blues continue to win under Hitchcock; Hunter loses debut game

 

Dale Hunter's #32 is retired by Washington Capitals Feb 2010 (photo by Patrickneil via wikipedia commons)

Dale Hunter, 51-year-old former NHL center for the Quebec Nordiques, Washington Capitals and Colorado Avalanche from 1980-1999, made his debut behind the bench as a head coach for the first time on Tuesday night.

He spent the past 11 years coaching in the Ontario Hockey League before the Washington Capitals elevated him to head coach replacing Bruce Boudreau.

The Capitals played better defense, but Hunter’s NHL coaching debut was spoiled by the St. Louis Blues, 2-1.

The Blues have the stingiest defense in the league and are limiting star scorers to 1 or 2 shots a game.

St. Louis is 8-1-2 since Ken Hitchcock took over as head coach on November 7 for Davis Payne.

The Blues have only allowed 13 goals in Hitchcock’s 11 games behind the bench.

 

Info compiled from St. Louis Blues & Washington Capitals news

In wake of another loss, CBJ swaps Russell to rival Blues for Nikitin

 

Nikita Nikitin with St. Louis Blues (By Bluesgirl64, Jen Ketchel Photography via wikipedia commons)

I was sitting in Nationwide Arena pressbox on Thursday night after another Columbus Blue Jackets loss, this time to Chicago, 6-3 and my Twitter account was blowing up with all these rumors of a trade going to happen before the night was over.

There was a trade, involving Central Division rivals, the Blues and Blue Jackets.

With Ken Hitchcock, the former coach of the CBJ in St. Louis, there are certain players in Columbus he desires.

One of those is Kris Russell, who has underachieved in Columbus. He is now a member of the St. Louis Blues.

The Blue Jackets get a taller defenseman in return, 6’3, 190-pound Nikita Nikitin.

Nikitin is 25 years old and was the 136th overall pick of the Blues in the 2004 NHL draft.

The trade of Russell is a no-brainer because first round pick John Moore is a younger player and has shown more promise each game he’s played. Russell, who has an expensive contract, was expendable. Nikitin is a restricted free agent at season’s end and comes cheaper at $600,000 a year.

In 2010-2011, Nikitin made the surprising advancement from the KHL in Russia to the Blues and their farm team in the AHL, Peoria. In 41 games with St. Louis, he scored 1 goal with 8 assists and 9 points. With Peoria, he was 3-11-14 in 22 games. He shows some promise.

Both are puck-moving defensemen, but the Blue Jackets needed a more physical player which Russell is not.

 

 

Hitchcock wins first game with St. Louis

 

Ken Hitchcock (photo by Mickey Reeves)

The hiring of coach Ken Hitchcock by St. Louis has had immediate success.

The Blues gave “Hitch” his first win behind the bench in two years with a 3-0 whitewashing of Chicago.

St. Louis entered the game with the league’s worst power-play with 3-for-41. Only one practice with Hitchcock remedied that ache.

Chris Stewart scored on the power-play to end a 10-game drought.

Goaltender Jaroslav Halak stopped 29 shots against a high-powered Chicago offense.

 

Info compiled from NHL & St. Louis Blues

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