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.