The St. Louis Blues have an interesting situation with their coaches. It feels like too much is being made of it though.
The St. Louis Blues have a very odd situation with their coaches heading into the 2016-17 season. In what is a first in my memory, if not a first overall, the Blues have their next coach already named and on staff before the old one is even gone.
By now we all know Ken Hitchcock announced this season will be his last with the Blues. There are whispers and rumors Hitchcock may be backtracking about it being his last ever, but there is no doubt this will be his last season in St. Louis.
Fans, as is their way, have many varied opinions of the man known as Hitch. Some like him, some hate him and many fall in the middle.
The stats don’t lie though. Four of five seasons under Hitchcock have seen the Blues acquire 100 or more points. The only one that did not was a strike shortened year and the team was still on pace to eclipse 100.
Whether you like the way he asks his team to play or not, it has gotten results. Perhaps it hasn’t always been the most offensive style, but the Blues had not been to a conference final in 15 years and Hitchcock got them there.
But, there I go burying the lead. With Mike Yeo on staff and clearly named the next head coach of the Blues, there are many that think the Blues will suffer for it.
By no means is this an impossibility. Human nature makes it almost a common occurrence for players to eventually tune out long tenured coaches, no matter how great the coach is.
So, that could very well set in. The players may get tired of his demanding style and just not respond anymore.
That last part is really what gets to me though. If you really think about it, if the players are honestly wondering whose voice they should listen to or simply tuning Hitchcock out, then aren’t they failing themselves?
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The Blues now have a reasonably young roster, but do you really want to waste a year? Is it in anyone’s best interest to not do what your head coach asks of you and throw away a season immediately after going to the conference finals?
Of course the answer is no. I’m not naive and saying it can’t happen.
However, there are quite a few banking on the idea that it will happen. TSN’s Frank Seravalli even used it as a big reason why the Blues won’t even make the playoffs.
I just can’t see it being that big an issue if everyone is doing what they need to do. To me, it would be incredibly unprofessional (on the players part if it happened) to essentially say the Blues will just throw this year away waiting for Yeo to take over.
Could the Blues take a step back? Sure. That should have less to do with coaching than it does roster change though.
It seems like an easy trend to pick up on since this scenario almost never happens. Again, it just feels like a knock on the players on this team.
These are professionals who know how difficult it is to win now. They aren’t going to want to waste a season by not giving their all to Hitchcock in his final season.
Mike Yeo is a pretty fiery personality anyway. If he got a sense the players were doing that, would they really be players he wants?
The Blues need to stay healthy and get some scoring from unexpected places. Those are things that you can’t say will happen for sure.
However, if the Blues miss the playoffs, it just can’t have that much to do with the coaching situation. If that is the case, I would worry more about the team we have constructed than the situation itself.