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Blue Jackets fire coach Ken Hitchcock @NHLdotcom

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -The struggling Columbus Blue Jackets have fired defensive-minded Ken Hitchcock, a year after the club made the postseason for the first time in history.

Assistant coach Claude Noel was elevated Wednesday to lead the team on an interim basis.

General manager Scott Howson announced the firing a day after the Blue Jackets blew a 1-0 lead in a listless 5-1 loss at Colorado. Columbus stands 14th of the 15 teams in the Western Conference with a 22-27-9 record and 53 points.

Howson called the current season "very disappointing."

The Blue Jackets play their next game at home against Dallas on Thursday night.

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