November 23, 2006

Blue Jackets hire Hitchcock as coach: Hitchcock was asked if he would be behind the bench when the Blue Jackets play his former team, the Flyers, on Friday afternoon in Philadelphia.

"You bet," he said twice.

posted by wingnut4life to hockey at 08:39 AM - 9 comments

From a competitive point of view, I think that this is exactly what Columbus needs. No disrespect to Gallant, I just didn't think that he was ready to be a head coach. I think Hitchcock will give the Jackets the spark that they need.

posted by wingnut4life at 08:44 AM on November 23

Maybe for a short while, but after that, look out. If you can't spark 1 of the top lines in hockey (Forsberg, Gagne, Knubble), who can you spark?

posted by Bishop at 08:53 AM on November 23

Hitchcock is simply a band aid on an open gash. He may slow the bleeding. I understand he is a very demanding coach and Gallant was a players friend. Mabey he will make them play harder, faster and better but what can motivate them more than their salary and the desire to win? Or a demotion to Syracuse! This team looks so lackluster and lifeless, I wonder at times what it will take to light a fire under their butts. The talent is there, hopefully he can provide some motivation.

posted by brownindian at 10:01 AM on November 23

It is an oddity when a coach is fired and rehired in the same season - especially before December. This will be interesting. I think this is probably a right move. Hitchcock is a task master and not a fun guy to play for. Columbus has some pieces that just aren't producing and he can help turn that around, or at least inject some new trends into the club's culture. Players eventually seem to tire of him and tune him out, but that is typically the case with every coach. If nothing else, he'll let them know when they suck for no good reason.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:33 AM on November 23

His overbearing temper may work for a while on the younger players, but the more exprerianced players like Forsberg won't stand for it and will continue to play the way they play irregardless of his taskmaster ways. He was fired for a reason and now he is going to take a team from the depths? Prediction? Fired again.

posted by Psycho at 11:01 AM on November 23

Coaches typically follow this arc: * Season 1 is the honeymoon. New coach replacing disliked old coach is a breath of fresh air for players, who play better, no matter what the coach actually brings to the table. * Season 2 is the relationship. Some conflicts, some good times. Results vary depending on the players and coach's abilities. * Season 3 is the breakup. Players are tired of coach's methods, they start dragging their feet to get him fired. If they're lucky, they succeed during the season. If not, coach is fired at the end of a disappointing season. A new coach is brought in, and the arc begins anew. So Hitchcock will get better results than Gallant. But man, can he stop saying awful things like this: "They've got people like Sergei Fedorov, Adam Foote and Fredrik Modin who know what it takes to win." Fredrik Modin knows what it takes to win? Puh-leeze. One Cup ring does not make a proven winner.

posted by qbert72 at 11:15 AM on November 23

After being fired from Philly, I figured we'd be seeing him back next season in the Western League coaching major junior again. Shows what I know, huh?

posted by pullthegoalie at 12:58 PM on November 23

I still miss Hitch coaching the Stars. He led them to their only Stanley Cup win and was terrific in the media. He also seemed to have such a deft touch handling the team I was stunned they canned him.

posted by rcade at 03:06 PM on November 23

So by your scale, qbert72, is Lindy Ruff the equivalent of one of those old 50th anniversary couples you see in the occassional human interest piece on the news?

posted by mkn at 09:47 PM on November 23

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