On Sunday evening, the St. Louis Blues fired Head Coach Davis Payne and replaced him with Ken Hitchcock who will finish the season and is also signed for 2012-2013.
It is a real surprise that Payne would be fired before Columbus Coach Scott Arniel was relieved of his duties after he has seen the Blue Jackets (2-11-1) become the laughing-stock of the NHL.
The Blues have not played poorly as they have gone 6-7 and were only three points out of a playoff slot early in the season. Payne came out of the AHL and coached parts of three seasons and had a 67-55-15 record, but never made the playoffs.
Hitchcock will bring a new element to the Blues and has a background that includes winning the Stanley Cup in 1999 with Dallas, and has a career 534-350-88-70 record. He has coached in Dallas, Philadelphia, and most recently for four years in Columbus where he only made the playoffs once. He has not coached in the NHL since he was fired by the Jackets on February 3, 2010.
It will be interesting to see if Hitchcock can light a fire under a Blues team that was hoping to be in the thick of the playoff race with a mix of youngsters and a few veterans obtained in the offseason, that includes ex-Preds Scotty Nichol and Jason Arnott.
The Blues begin a five game homestand on Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass