The St. Louis Blues relieved then head coach Davis Payne just 13 games into the season and replaced him with Ken Hitchcock. The team was just 6-7 under Payne, but they have excelled under Hitchcock.
“With the group we had, we knew there were great things we could accomplish,” said Payne. “I’m not surprised by it.”
Payne doesn’t think the team has fundamentally changed since Hitchcock took over. He also added that he “can’t have regrets about any decisions I made.”
Payne is still employed by the Blues and does advanced scouting for them. So is he still a St. Louis fan?
“I wouldn’t comment either way on cheering for them,” said Payne. “I’d like to see the team do well.”
It’s probably be bittersweet to see the team do so well after getting the boot, but Hitchcock also deserves a fair amount of credit for the Blues’ success. As things stand, Hitchcock looks like a prime contender for the Jack Adams Award, which is given to the league’s top coach. The nominees for the award will be announced on Monday.
PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice
The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.
Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.
With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.
Trevor Daley, traded to Blackhawks for Sharp & Johns and to #Pens for Scuderi (who was flipped to LA for Ehrhoff) played 28:41 in G4 W.