A couple of noteworthy quotes, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, from today’s press conference announcing the re-signing of Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock.
First, from Hitchcock:
“This is unfinished business for me. I don’t want to coach to coach. I want to coach to win and I couldn’t find a better spot than to show up right here and coach this hockey club. This is a really good team trying to become a great team. I think I have the tools and the expertise to help them along the way.”
Second, from GM Doug Armstrong:
“Show me a well-liked coach, and I’ll show you a losing coach.”
That Armstrong quote is basically the same thing Blues owner Tom Stillman said recently, when asked about the speculation that some players had been chafing under Hitchcock’s rule.
So, now that the coaching decision has been made, all eyes will be on Armstrong as the draft approaches. The GM all but guaranteed there will be changes to the roster, though as he did last month, he fell short of guaranteeing a blockbuster trade.
Related: ‘I’ve got no issues’ with Hitchcock, says Blues captain Backes
The Chicago Blackhawks aren’t done yet. They could still come back and beat the Ducks in the Western Conference Final. Nobody’s written them off.
But whenever their season ends, even if it’s after winning the Stanley Cup, it’s going to be an interesting summer in Chicago.
Pending unrestricted free agents include three defensemen — Johnny Oduya, Michal Rozsival, and Kimmo Timonen — plus veteran forwards Antoine Vermette, Brad Richards, and Andrew Desjardins. At the same time, Brandon Saad is a pending restricted free agent, and Brent Seabrook will be eligible to sign an extension on July 1.
Related: Hossa’s age just one of the challenges facing Blackhawks
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about free-agent goalie Devan Dubnyk and suggested a contract of three years at $4.5 million per season to re-sign with the Minnesota Wild.
PHT commenters were aghast. Way too high, they said. The media is so dumb. Why is the media so dumb? Is it because they have no brains?
So here’s a second media opinion, courtesy Michael Russo at the StarTribune:
The market for Dubnyk is basically whatever another team will pay him as a free agent (couple that with the fact there’s no obvious answer for the Wild if Dubnyk leaves).
Now, maybe Dubnyk takes less to stay in a place where he was a solid fit, but this was a $3.75 million goalie in Edmonton. For the Wild to sign him, the deal will obviously average well north of $3 million per.
Remember that Dubnyk was the catalyst in the Wild’s turnaround this season. He’s a Vezina Trophy finalist, and he probably got a few Hart Trophy votes too.
Granted, the goalie market isn’t great (for goalies) and Dubnyk wasn’t fantastic in the playoffs. The Wild could play hardball with him if they chose. But what if they ended up losing him? Do they have a fallback plan beyond Darcy Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom? Because that’s the tandem that got them in trouble in the first place.
Anyway, I’m still optimistic the two sides will find a way to get something done. He wants to stay. They want to keep him. And usually that’s enough to get pen to paper.
Related: So…what should the Wild do with Dubnyk?