Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hitch gets the nod

It was made official before the start of the game this evening vs. St. Louis, Ken Hitchcock is the new head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He is expected to be behind the bench Friday afternoon for a 1:00 game against his former team, the Philadelphia Flyers.

I will agree that this is a good move for the Jackets, bringing in a veteran coach with a proven winning record. Is 408-227-122 good enough?...carry the two...yup, that's 6 division titles and a stanley cup ring. Not a bad resume, but maybe not the best move the Jackets could have made.

I do agree with the process of hiring the coach, it was very simple, Mr. McConnell said to Mr. MacLean: "Doug, you need to get rid of Gallant. I want a list of 5 replacements on my desk by the end of the week" The list actually was 3 names, two were immediately eliminated:
1. Gary Agnew (c'mon, need I say more? the guy is 0-5)
2. Kevin Dineen (while he has been a great coach for the AHL affiliate of the Ducks, and probably will make a great NHL coach, he can't coach the team with MacLean at the helm)

Now, on to the three that made the cut, and the one I wish had made the cut:
1. Pat Quinn (my first choice) - Pat Quinn coached the Maple Leafs from 1998-2006. While he never won a cup, he won a gold medal for team Canada in the '02 Olympics, and while coaching, Quinn was the winningest active coach in the NHL. Great resume, but the Jackets never called, and he'll keep on picking who goes into the hockey hall of fame for a living

2. Mike Keenan - upset Quinn for a cup in 7 games in 1994, but didn't get an interview from the McConnells because he was the GM of the Florida Panthers, where Doug MacLean coached, and also where the TV play-by-play Jeff Rimer came from. I've tried to keep track of the crazy things that he says about the team, but he screws up so much I've lost count. Anyway, Mike Keenan is a no go, we've got to get rid of the Doug MacLean cronies

3. Andy Murray - former coach of the Kings. I don't know much about him, other than he had an interview, and it apparently didn't go well. I think it was for the show of the process, if you interview two people, it looks like you're actually screening for a position

4. Hitch - He's the guy. I don't necessarily agree with the authoritarianism that got him drove out of town in Dallas, and I don't necessarily like that there are veteran free agents that refuse to play for him. Unfortunately, I figured this would happen, and I have to look at the positive. The dude can win hockey games, he's outside of Doug MacLean cronie world, and he also cannot be controlled by the aforementioned Mr MacLean. He does know what he's doing, and even if he's not well liked by the players, I think he may be able to help out here in Columbus.

And if anyone actually cares about the team's performance on the ice...they lost St. Loius...the team that made the cup playoffs 25 years in a row, then became the last place team in the west. Until they beat the Blue Jackets in a shootout. The good news is that the Blue Jackets got that half game they needed to make it to 95 points. Now, instead of 42.5, it's only 42 wins. Too bad that's 2 out of 3 games that must end in a win. Happy Thanksgiving!

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