The St. Louis Blues have fired longtime coach Ken Hitchcock and replaced him with former Minnesota Wild bench boss Mike Yeo. The team announced the stunning move this morning.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) February 1, 2017
Hitchcock has been the coach of the Blues since the 2011-12 season, compiling five straight winning seasons entering 2016-17. After St. Louis made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals last season, the Blues have puttered to a 24-21-5 record.With seven losses in their last 10 games and a -16 goal differential, St. Louis wasn’t playing up to their potential.
The most bizarre footnote on the firing is Hitchcock was set to step down from the Blues at the season’s end. Yeo, the Blues associate coach, was pegged as the successor for the role. Clearly, St. Louis management couldn’t wait on the decision and felt immediate change was necessary. Yeo last coached the Minnesota Wild, leading the team to four-straight winning seasons. He’s long been highly regarded around the league.
The Blues are attempting to save their season by fast forwarding the inevitable. Hitchcock did a great job in St. Louis, but the recent struggles proved too much. The team is heading for the gutter. With Yeo behind the bench and the Blues barely hanging on to the last Wild Card spot, it’s time to see if the coaching change can reverse the team’s fortunes. It’s a bold mid-season move.