Two days after the St. Louis Blues bowed out of the playoffs, yet again in the first round, head coach Ken Hitchcock wasn’t sure if he’d be back behind the bench next season.
“I need time to reflect,” Hitchcock said, per KMOV’s Andrew Allsman. “I feel like I’ve let people down.”
Hitchcock does not have a contract for next season. And despite what GM Doug Armstrong said in October — that it’s “up to the players to get the job done,” i.e. the coach isn’t the problem — it’s possible we could see a situation, like we saw in San Jose, where there’s a mutual parting of ways.
To be sure, if Hitchcock were to move on from St. Louis and wanted to keep coaching, he’d be an interesting candidate in a place like Edmonton.
“He’s hard on us, but he does it because he knows the right way and how to get to this position,” said Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, per NHL.com. “You can never take that away from the way he coaches. He coaches fundamentals. It’s something we needed and we were able to get here because of him.”
Let’s face it — if there’s one team in the NHL that could use a fundamentals-based coach, it’s the Oilers.
But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.
“We’re not naive to the fact that we let our fans down with our postseason play,” said Armstrong. “We need to find a way to address and overcome.”
Easier said than done.