Blue Jackets have plans for Ken Hitchcock to work within the organization

1 Comment

kenhitchcock1.jpgWhen teams fire a head coach, we often forget that those teams are on the hook to pay that coach what he’s owed until he finds another job. In the case of the Columbus Blue Jackets, when they fired Ken Hitchcock back in February, they were getting rid of the coach that brought them to their one and only playoff appearance and sometimes parting ways can be difficult. With the game evolving in the ways that it has, teams in need of a head coach are a bit apprehensive to bring in a stout defensive-minded guy like Hitchcock.

So with these two sides having parted ways but with Hitchcock still collecting a hearty paycheck from the Blue Jackets, team president Mike Priest and general manager Scott Howson figures he can at least put Hitchcock to work somehow to make him earn that money that he was going to get from the team in the first place. The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline finds out what’s going on.

“As long as he’s under contract with us, we’ll find something for him to do that brings value to our organization,” Priest said.

But nobody’s quite sure what that will entail, though there are at least a handful of possibilities.

“I’ll wait for Mike or Scott to come tell me,” Hitchcock said. “I have my own plans of what I would like to do, but I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes or be in the way.”

Perhaps it’s just me here, but I can’t help but think that situations like this are just uncomfortable all around. In the NHL, however, they’re not at all uncommon. For instance, current Devils assistant coach Larry Robinson has been hired and fired a couple of times by the Devils yet remained in the organization in some aspect. Just call this one of the things that makes the sports world different than the real world as I doubt if any of us were fired from our jobs we would be told it was OK to hang around the building for days/weeks/years afterward.

Stamkos strikes; Lightning take care of Sabres

Leave a comment

Steven Stamkos had been shut out for the first five periods (plus overtime) of the season, but that drought didn’t last much longer.

Stamkos scored his first of the year in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

The 25-year-old buried a rebound past Buffalo’s Chad Johnson at the 8:53 mark of the third period to extend Tampa Bay’s lead to 3-1.

As you can tell by the video above, it won’t be Stamkos’ most memorable goal, but it’s good to see him get the first one out of the way.

There aren’t many guys who have a nose for the net like the Lightning’s captain, as he, Rick Nash and Alexander Ovechkin were the only players to hit the 40 goal mark last season.

Erik Condra, Nikita Kucherov and J.T. Brown also scored for the Lightning.

Tampa Bay will play their next game on Oct. 12 against the Boston Bruins.


Kings’ AHL affiliate gives Emery PTO

Ray Emery
Leave a comment

Ray Emery has agreed to join the Ontario Reign on a professional tryout, according to a team release.

The Reign are the minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.

Emery attended Tampa Bay’s training camp on a PTO, but he was released after the team claimed Kevin Poulin on waivers from the Islanders.

The 33-year-old had a 10-11-7 record with a 3.06 goals-against-average and a .894 save percentage in 31 games with the Flyers last season.

Even with starter Jonathan Quick struggling, it’s hard to envision this move leading to a return to the NHL for Emery.

The Kings have Quick and Jhonas Enroth with the big club, while veteran Peter Budaj was signed to a two-way contract on Friday.