That enormous Hossa contract is paying off.
That enormous Hossa contract is paying off.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)—The Columbus Blue Jackets fired defensive-minded coach Ken Hitchcock on Wednesday, less than a year after the club made the postseason for the first time.
Assistant coach Claude Noel was chosen to lead the team on an interim basis.
General manager Scott Howson announced the firing a day after the struggling Blue Jackets blew a 1-0 lead in a listless 5-1 loss at Colorado. Columbus stands 14th of the 15 teams in the Western Conference with a 22-27-9 record and 53 points.
“This season has been very disappointing for the Blue Jackets organization and our fans,” Howson said. “Hitch worked tirelessly to build an identity for this team that was missing before he arrived and deserves a great deal of credit for those efforts. He earned and received the opportunity to turn things around this season, but unfortunately that has not happened.”
The Blue Jackets play their next game at home against Dallas on Thursday night.
The 54-year-old Noel joined the Blue Jackets as an assistant coach in June 2007, after spending four seasons as the head coach of the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals. During that time, he led the club to a 183-94-12-31 regular-season record, three 100-point seasons and two West Division titles.
Built around star forward Rick Nash(notes), the Blue Jackets made it to the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs a year ago before being swept by the Detroit Red Wings.
Hitchcock picked up his 500th career victory behind the Columbus bench, but the team appeared stagnant after a fast start this season.
“Ken Hitchcock joined the Blue Jackets at a time when our team needed credibility, stability and structure, which is exactly what he provided and for that we are extremely grateful,” Blue Jackets President Mike Priest said.
That's too bad about Hitch. I'm sure Scott Howson would be the first to say that Hitch is one of the top 5 coaches in the NHL.
However, that only means so much. At some point the players need a different voice... even if not's not neccessarily a better voice. It can create a spark and maybe more motivation. It's just the first place to start if you want to see some improvement from a team without changing the product on the ice.
BTW, the Jackets really could have used a Dion Phaneuf. Seems like he came at a pretty reasonable price that the Jackets could have affored when they don't have any defensemen that can play the type of monster game that Phaneuf can, and a gamble like that could have done a lot for that franchise.
Thrashers trade Kovalchuk to Devils
NEWARK, N.J. (AP)óThe defensive-minded New Jersey Devils picked up one of the NHLís marquee goal scorers in acquiring Ilya Kovalchuk from the Atlanta Thrashers in a blockbuster deal Thursday night.
In getting the 31-goal scorer from the Thrashers, the Devils shipped defenseman Johnny Oduya, rookie forward Niclas Bergfors, junior prospect Patrice Cormier and a first-round draft pick this year to the Thrashers for Kovalchuk and former Devils defenseman Anssi Samlema. The teams also swapped second-round draft picks this year.
The deal was made just hours after Atlanta general manager Don Waddell said the franchise would aggressively explore all its options after Kovalchuk rejected a 12-year, $101 million extension.
"The players make the manager, it's never the other way." - Sparky Anderson
All I know about the NHL is that the homestanding Bruins are awful.
Whatever it takes to finally get the Chicago Blackhawks their FIRST NHL Championship. Waiting on the Cubs and the WhiteSox have been nothing compared to the Blackhawks. At least the Cubs once won a championship, even though it's going on 5 generations. The Blackhawks have NEVER one, and they were one of the Original-6.
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks made quick work of Olympic gold medal-winning goalie Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks.
Andrew Ladd, Duncan Keith, Troy Brouwer, Kris Versteeg and Jordan Hendry scored first-period goals to chase Luongo in the Blackhawks' 6-3 victory Friday.
Marian Hossa added a goal and assist, and Jonathan Toews had two assists to help Chicago win for the sixth time in seven games and pull into a first-place tie with San Jose in the Western Conference.
Keith and Toews, along with Chicago's Brent Seabrook, also played on Canada's Olympic team. On Friday, the Blackhawks pounced on the Canucks' coverage mistakes, as well as miscues by Luongo, to take early control against the conference foe they eliminated from the playoffs last spring.
Chelly gets the call, again.
The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.