‘Déjà Vu All Over Again’ for St. Louis Blues Ken Hitchcock?

 

Ken Hitchcock and the St. Louis Blues, hot off of their stellar 2011-2012 season, thundered out of the gate in the shortened 2013 (2012-2013) campaign, posting a 6-1-0 record.  However, during the past four games, they’ve posted a 0-3-1 mark, the last three games of which have been at the once-friendly confines of Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Ken Hitchcock has seen this before.

What’s disturbing about the last four games is how badly the once-stingy Blues, particularly during their impressive 45-13-11 run under the tutelage of the reigning Jack Adams (Coach of the Year in the National Hockey League – NHL) award recipient Ken Hitchcock, have been at keeping the puck out of their own net, surrendering an average of 5.25 goals per game.  Last season, the Blues led the NHL in surrendering an average of only 1.86 goals/game but are currently ranked 25th in the NHL, surrendering 3.12 goals/game.  Statistically, it’s even more of a concern as, prior to the 21 goals surrendered over the past four games, the Blues were only giving up an even 2.0 goals/game over their first seven games played.  Even more disturbing is that the Blues were only allowing 19 shots/game over their first seven games but have since surrendered almost 26 shots/game.

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2013 NHL Season Predictions and Projections

 

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Finally, after months and months of everyone involved being morons, causing 113 days, 625 games, and the biggest outdoor hockey game in history to be cancelled, hockey fans can finally say “Game On!”  The NHL has a new 10-year labor agreement, and is set to start the shortened, 48 game 2013 season on Saturday, January 19.  Find out what you need to know about every team in the NHL for the upcoming season, this time predicting how the season will play out, and who will be in the playoffs.  Continue after the jump to find out where your team will finish in the race for the Stanley Cup, including who will take home Lord Stanley’s Cup.

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2013 NHL PREVIEW: CENTRAL DIVISION

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Finally, after months and months of everyone involved being morons, causing 113 days, 625 games, and the biggest outdoor hockey game in history to be cancelled, hockey fans can finally say “Game On!”  The NHL has a new 10-year labor agreement, and is set to start the shortened, 48 game 2013 season on Saturday, January 19.  Find out what you need to know about every team in the NHL for the upcoming season, this time featuring the Central Division.  Continue after the jump to find out where your team will finish.

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2012 NHL Awards Spectacular

 

It’s that time of year again.  The actual playing of the great game of hockey is done for another season, with hockey going Hollywood this season with the Los Angeles Kings winning the cup.  And what big time star hasn’t made the trek through the Mojave Desert to Sin City?  The NHL will be on Wednesday, June 20, in the Encore Theater at the Wynn Casino.  While it allows us to look back at the stars of this past year, unfortunately it brings the sadness of having to see Nickelback perform.  Who was nominated? Who will win the awards?  Who should actually win the awards?  Find out all this after the jump.  This article is a Nickelback free zone.

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Blue Jackets to Have New GM and Coach in Place by Monday?

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It’s being reported by multiple NHL sources, that Columbus Blue Jackets team President Mike Priest has contacted Ken Hitchcock about returning to coach the Jackets. Priest has also contacted former Calgary Flames General Manager (GM) Craig Button about assuming the reigns as the Blue Jackets GM.

For a team that’s off to a woeful 1-9-1 record, particularly ironic when you consider they have the NHL’s 4th highest payroll (Let’s not forget they have the NHL’s 4th worst home attendance mark), something has to be done and done quickly.

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Columbus Blue Jackets 2nd QTR Report Card

Earlier in the season, I provided a first quarter assessment of the Columbus Blue Jackets. That was a quite easy task as the Blue Jackets stormed out of the gate to a franchise best 14-6-0 record.

But ever since the Jackets’ historic start, they have gone 6-11-3 through the next 20 games and have fallen to 13th in the Western Conference

I tried to be optimistic that a repeat of last season’s debacle under former head coach Ken Hitchock wouldn’t happen again, but I’m sad to report that while not a free-fall to that level, the Blue Jackets have once again struggled into the halfway point of their regular season under current head coach Scott Arniel.

In a manner similar to last quarter’s assessment, I offer my insights both for the season, to date, as well as how the Blue Jackets have fared during their most recent 20 games of the season (Games 21-40). And while their overall mark is better than at this time last season, the ghosts of late-November’s, December’s and early January’s have resurfaced once again.

By Ed Cmar

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Columbus Blue Jackets Unfortunately Reverting Back to Familiar Form

Grading Blue Jackets Coach Scott Arniel

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During the offseason, Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson, after being informed that his leading head coaching candidate, Guy Boucher, turned down his offer to coach the Blue Jackets (Boucher took the Tampa Bay Lightning head coaching position, instead) offered the position to Scott Arniel, previously an assistant to Lindy Ruff with the Buffalo Sabres and the head coach of the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League (AHL).

Many in Columbus viewed the offer rejection as a snub and a slap in the face to the state of the organization and perception of Columbus in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Further, it was believed that Arniel might have been a case of settling for second best.

Well, although at only 19 games into the season and while Boucher is doing a fine job in coaching the Lightning, it’s looking more and more like the Arniel selection was the right choice, after all.

By Ed Cmar

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Columbus Blue Jackets 1st Qtr. Report Card

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At this time last season, the Blue Jackets were beginning to show chinks in their competitive armor, even while bolting out to a 12-6-2 record.

What followed after that was a free fall of epic proportions: A dizzying 3-14-7 debacle, one which lead to the firing of their head coach, Ken Hitchcock, and the team finishing 14th out of 15 teams in the NHL’s Western Conference.

And although it’s very early to determine their fate for the rest of the season, it’s pretty safe to say that, barring a major injury or two, the 2010-2011 Blue Jackets are a much improved team.

With that, I’d like to offer my view of how things have gone so far for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

By Ed Cmar

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