Hitch­cock ranks among the more suc­cess­ful coaches in NHL his­tory

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY JONAS SIEGEL THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Ken Hitch­cock will go down as one of the most suc­cess­ful head coaches over the last 20 years, re­gard­less of whether or not he gets an­other chance in the league.

Hitch­cock was fired Wed­nes­day by the St. Louis Blues. He leaves his fourth NHL coach­ing stop with 781 ca­reer vic­to­ries, trail­ing only Scotty Bow­man, Joel Quen­neville and Al Ar­bour.

Only Bow­man, Ar­bour, Quen­neville, and Lindy Ruff have coached more reg­u­lar-sea­son NHL games than Hitch­cock, who’s piled up 1,454.

A de­tailed look at Hitch­cock’s track record over two decades in the NHL:

DAL­LAS STARS

(1995-2002)

Num­ber of sea­sons: 7

Deep­est run: Stan­ley Cup win in 1999

Points per­cent­age: .622

Re­port: Hitch­cock led the Stars to their first Cup win in ‘99 and then made it all the way back to the fi­nal in 2000, only to fall to the New Jersey Devils in six games. A sec­ond-round exit the next sea­son fol­lowed by a 23-17-6 start to the 2001-02 cam­paign, and Hitch­cock was gone as head coach, re­placed by Rick Wil­son. Hitch­cock re­mains the all-time fran­chise leader with 277 reg­u­lar-sea­son wins and 47 play­off vic­to­ries. It re­mains the long­est stop of his NHL coach­ing ten­ure so far.

PHILADEL­PHIA FLY­ERS

(2002-2006)

Num­ber of sea­sons: 4 Deep­est run: East­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nal in 2004

Points per­cent­age: .614

Hitch­cock took a team led by Keith Primeau and Jeremy Roenick to the brink of the Cup fi­nal in 2004 only to fall in the first round in the year af­ter the 2004-05 lock­out. The Fly­ers then got trounced in the first eight games of the ‘05-06 sea­son, drop­ping six of eight while be­ing outscored 32-15. Hitch­cock was re­placed by John Stevens, who fared no bet­ter: Philadel­phia ended with the worst record in the league (56 points) and the sec­ond over­all pick at the 2007 draft. This was Hitch­cock’s short­est ten­ure be­hind an NHL bench (254 games).

COLUM­BUS BLUE JACK­ETS

(2006-2010)

Num­ber of sea­sons: 4

Deep­est run: First round in 2009

Points per­cent­age: .504

Hitch­cock earned a place in Blue Jack­ets his­tory when guided the team to its first ever play­off berth in 2009 - a fourgame sweep at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings. It took only 58 games the fol­low­ing sea­son for the Jack­ets to move on from Hitch­cock — who signed a three-year ex­ten­sion in the sum­mer of 2008 — and re­place him with Claude Noel. Hitch­cock re­mains the club’s long­est tenured head coach at 284 reg­u­lar-sea­son games.

ST. LOUIS BLUES

(2011-2017)

Num­ber of sea­sons: 6

Deep­est run: West­ern Con­fer­ence Fi­nal in 2016

Points per­cent­age: .650

Hitch­cock cap­tured the Jack Adams tro­phy as coach of the year in his first sea­son be­hind the Blues bench. St. Louis grabbed a league-lead­ing 537 points during his ten­ure (tied with Pitts­burgh for top spot), and their 248 vic­to­ries trail only the Pen­guins. But af­ter reach­ing the West­ern fi­nal last spring the Blues fell off, only just hang­ing onto a wild card spot at the time of Hitch­cock’s fir­ing. The head coach was felled in large part by the worst goal­tend­ing in the league. The tan­dem of Jake Allen and Carter Hut­ton has been a real sore spot for the Blues all sea­son.

AP PHOTO

In this May 2016 file photo, St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitch­cock watches during the sec­ond pe­riod in Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stan­ley Cup West­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals against the San Jose Sharks in St. Louis.

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