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Video: Anson Carter imitates unhappy Ken Hitchcock after awkward bench interview

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Oh, those interviews between whistles with an NHL head coach can be awkward.

During Thursday’s game between the L.A. Kings and St. Louis Blues, Ken Hitchcock delivered a strong critique of his team’s play to that point, when questioned by NBC Sports’ Brian Engblom. He wasn’t happy about a great many things that his players weren’t doing. Now, it may have made for an uncomfortable 30 seconds or so.

But former NHLer Anson Carter, on the NBCSN, brought some humor to the situation, doing his own high-pitched impersonation of Hitchcock. Carter does have experience with Hitchcock. They worked together with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2006-07.

Ken Hitchcock climbs to eighth all-time in coaching wins

Ken Hitchcock
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The St. Louis Blues dismantled the Dallas Stars 6-1 on Saturday, giving Ken Hitchcock the 621st regular season coaching win of his career, bumping him to eight all-time ahead of current Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray.

Hitchcock is now 621-385-86 with 88 ties (or 621-385-88-86, if you want to make your brain melt and include ties) in 1,180 games coached.

It’s fitting that Hitchcock moved up the charts against the Stars, the team that gave him his first NHL head coaching gig. You may recall that Hitchcock guided Dallas to its only Stanley Cup victory in 1999 and the Stanley Cup Final in 2000, as well.

If you’re wondering, Hitchcock is second among active NHL coaches with those 621 wins. He might struggle to catch up with Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville, who’s shooting for win 676 tonight. (The ‘Stache recently passed Mike Keenan for fifth all-time.)

In another nod to Stars nostalgia, Brenden Morrow collected an assist against the team he recently captained, which gives him at least one point against every NHL team, according to NHL.com’s Lou Korac. It was also his 250th goal.

This extends the best start in Blues’ franchise history at 16-3-3, so things are pretty golden for St. Louis tonight.

Ken Hitchcock praises Dallas Eakins

dallaseakinsgetty
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St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock provided rave reviews for new Edmonton Oilers bench boss Dallas Eakins on Friday, the Edmonton Journal reports.

“That was the most important move (GM) Craig MacTavish made this summer,” Hitchcock said.

Hitchcock seems particularly impressed by Eakins’ no-nonsense approach.

“He’ll talk your ear off about conditioning but it’s a smokescreen,” Hitchcock said. “He’s going to demand things of the Oiler players they’ve never done before and they’re going to find it quite difficult. Quite frankly some of the players are out of the barn but he’ll gather them all back in. He’s going to say things that make the players squeamish but he’s going to be one of the best things you’ve had there. He’s tough.”

“It’s not about getting past the original effort, it’s getting into the second and third effort. He knows how to push that.”

Unfortunately, the veteran coach didn’t name specific players who are “out of the barn,” so feel free to kill a sleepy Saturday by speculating on who that might be.

(H/T to Rotoworld.)

Ken Hitchcock on 600th win: ‘It’s basically because I’m old’

Ken Hitchcock
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Thanks to the St. Louis Blues’ 2-1 shootout victory against the Vancouver Canucks, Ken Hitchcock won the 600th game of his coaching career on Tuesday.

Hitchcock, 61, had a simple and amusing explanation for the milestone (which made him the 11th bench boss in NHL history to reach that mark).

“It’s basically because I’m old,” Hitchcock said. “If you last long and you’re old, you get this.”

Here’s his career record in 1,152 games coached: 600-381-88-83 (88 ties, 83 shootout/OT losses).

Again, he was quick to deflect praise, the next time to his team.

“For me, I’m proud of being able to be a coach in this league, but I’m more proud of the way our team is playing right now,” Hitchcock said. “We’re playing hard.”

Only one other active coach (Chicago’s Joel Quenneville) has more than 600 wins. Hitchcock’s 59.5 career winning percentage only trails Quenneville (61.2 percent) and legend Scotty Bowman (65.7 percent) in NHL history.

Here’s the full list of coaches with at least 600 wins:

Hitchcock
Quenneville
Bowman
Al Arbour
Pat Quinn
Mike Keenan
Dick Irvin
Ron Wilson
Bryan Murray
Jacques Lemaire
Jacques Martin

Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock wins Jack Adams

Ken Hitchcock
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Prior to this season, Ken Hitchcock had been nominated for the Jack Adams three times in his career but had never taken home the award.

Turns out the fourth time was a charm.

Hitchcock captured his first-ever coach of the year trophy at the NHL Awards show on Wednesday night, beating out fellow Adams nominees Paul MacLean (Ottawa Senators) and John Tortorella (New York Rangers).

The win caps off a truly remarkable season for the NHL’s oldest head coach. Hitchcock, 60, had been out of the NHL since Feb. 2010 before taking over a struggling Blues team that was 6-7-0 and in 14th in the Western Conference.

What transpired after the November takeover was one of the greatest in-season turnarounds in franchise history, as the Blues went 43-15-11 to finish the year atop the Central Division (first win since 1999-2000) and second overall in the Western Conference.

With the win, Hitchcock becomes the fourth coach in St. Louis history to capture the Jack Adams, joining Red Berenson (1981), Brian Sutter (1991) and Joel Quenneville (2000).

Hitchcock reflects

Hitchcock had plenty to say about winning the award, especially when it came to connecting with young players. That meant finding ways to connect with players, which perhaps wasn’t that difficult since Hitchcock said that he enjoys “their music.”

(He wouldn’t name any names, but he raved about watching concerts on the Palladia network. Go ahead, imagine Hitchcock listening to The Arcade Fire now.)

“I pride myself in being current,” Hitchcock said. “More than anything I’m fascinated by this age group because Generation Y, the big thing is ‘why?’ They ask that question every day. They don’t just do what they’re told, they want to know why … this generation is making us as coaches more accountable than we’ve ever been in our life. If they don’t buy what we’re selling, they’re not going to go and play for you.”

Hitchcock did an interesting job putting that Blues team in perspective. Interestingly enough, he said that the best team he ever coached was the 2004 Philadelphia Flyers, not one of the Dallas Stars squads. His best work as a bench boss might surprise some people, too.

“The best job we’ve ever done as a staff was the one in Columbus when we went to the playoffs,” Hitchcock said. “That team over-achieved every day.”

This might have been his first Jack Adams, but you got the feeling that the nod was as much a validation of a great body of work than a singular achievement. Still, Hitchcock gives every indication that we haven’t seen the best of this Blues team – but that might require some of his best work, too.