Coach Ken Hitchcock has always been known for his particular style of coaching. Players are not excused for their mistakes and Hitch is fairly open with the press letting them know how unhappy he is at any given time. For a St. Louis Blues team that has been through Mike Kitchen, Andy Murray, Davis Payne, and now Ken Hitchcock, many wonder if the problem with the St. Louis Blues has anything to do with coaching at all.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun recently reported that the St. Louis Blues players may be tired of Ken Hitchcock’s methods.
Whispers out of St. Louis have players frustrated with the antics of coach Ken Hitchcock. It seems Hitchcock has the ear of players wherever he goes in the short term, but his constant picking apart and calling them out has gotten old. The team has performed far below expectations and is struggling to hang on to a playoff spot. Many league executives believe a quick exit could lead to changes for a team that is operating on a shoestring budget where ownership is counting on a deep playoff run to minimize losses.
While the St. Louis Blues may be under new ownership they almost certainly will not turn to another coach to try and take over this “young” team that we have been waiting to develop. If it is true that the players are growing tired of Hitch’s ways, you can be sure that some of them will be moved to remedy the situation.
Last season Chris Stewart had the worst season of his career and much of that was said to be due to his complaints with Hithcock’s methods. In the offseason Stewart put his nose to the grindstone and got in the best shape of his life. While Hitchcock emphasizes a defensive game, Stewart has shown that he is willing to work hard to fit into his system. This season fans have been watching David Backes, David Perron, T.J. Oshie, and others struggle to reach their full potential. While Backes was once of the biggest proponents of Hitch’s system, he has seemed to have a bit more of a negative attitude this season. Perron has been criticized fairly publicly, but I believe that Armstrong won’t be willing to part with Perron due to his talent level and affordability.
Next season the St. Louis Blues are almost sure to send Andy McDonald on his way and allow some of the new players coming into the league more time to play. With Dimitrij Jaskin and Chris Porter likely fourth line players next season, it would be surprising if we saw Scott Nichol back in the note as well. Changes are coming, but if the players are still complaining about the coaching, maybe it is time to shake up this roster in a way that no one has thought about before.
With the playoffs quickly approaching it will be interesting to see what the current team is capable of, but don’t be too shocked if someone who seemed untouchable is moved if the Blues are knocked out early.
LET’S GO BLUES!