Hitchcock Sets Franchise Record
It didn’t take long for Ken Hitchcock to place his name firmly in the St. Louis record books. With the team’s 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, the club moved to 4-0-1 under Hitchcock – the best start for a new coach in franchise history.
The Blues have played nearly perfect under their new coach, taking nine out of a possible 10 points while Hitchcock has been at the helm. The only small setback was a period in a game against Toronto where the Blues took their foot off the gas and had to settle with a shootout loss.
A coaching change is supposed to fire up the team and bring positive results, but as the record indicates, it’s rare things go this well after bringing in a new head coach. The first couple results the Blues rattled off were difficult to tie directly to Hitchcock as they might have been the product of the change itself, rather than the man brought in. Now, five games in, I’m ready to say that Hitchcock has this team playing hard and he deserves a wealth of credit for the results this club is now producing.
Just like that, the Blues are right back in the playoff hunt.
Honestly, it’s amazing the change we have seen under Hitchcock. If you have any of the final games under Davis Payne on your DVR, go back and watch them and compare them to the effort the Blues put up last night against a very talented Florida Panther squad. It’s truly night and day.
The Blues are working hard, consistently and effectively. They are going to the areas of the ice they need to go to and harassing the opposition as they try to clear their zone. Often, the Blues will hem their opponent in and create numerous scoring chances simply by working hard and by pressing the other team. As a matter a fact, the team’s hard work has also set a franchise record as the Blues have not allowed a goal in either the 2nd or 3rd periods in each of their last five games. Now that’s impressive.
The players themselves are responding to the new change and we are finally seeing certain guys step up with Hitchcock in charge. T.J. Oshie has been fantastic of late and “scored” one of the goals of the season last night only to have it disallowed due to a phantom goaltender interference call.
David Backes and Jaroslav Halak are also on the list of skaters that have risen to the challenge and have made recent games a real joy to watch.
What’s next for Hitchcock?
The coming days will feature his first test on the road with his new team. It’ll be interesting to see if the Blues can harness the magic they’ve been displaying at home and channel it on the road.