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Ken Hitchcock breaks silence on firing from Blues

Former coach thanks front office for opportunity, praises Mike Yeo as replacement @NHLdotcom

Ken Hitchcock called his time as coach of the St. Louis Blues one of the best of his career in a statement released to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday.

Hitchcock was fired as Blues coach and replaced by Mike Yeo on Feb. 1.

"When I reflect on my time in St. Louis, I remember it as some of the best years of my career," Hitchcock said in his statement. "I would like to thank [owner] Tom Stillman and the entire ownership group, [general manager] Doug [Armstrong] and the rest of the Blues management for giving me the opportunity to be part of such a storied franchise.

"I am very proud of our record on the ice over my time in St. Louis and would like to thank all of the coaches that I have had the pleasure of sharing the bench with: Gary Agnew, Ray Bennett, Danny Brooks, Jim Corsi, Sean Ferrell, Corey Hirsch, Scott Masters, Scott Mellanby, Kirk Muller, Brad Shaw, Steve Thomas and Rick Wilson, and the Blues' equipment and medical staffs for all of their support during my tenure. Without their hard work and dedication, we could not have had the success we achieved."

Video: Ken Hitchcock's statement on time coaching Blues

Hitchcock, 65, went 248-124-41 in parts of six seasons with the Blues. They finished first or second in the Central Division in his first five seasons, but we were 24-21-5 and fourth in the division when he was fired.

In 20 NHL seasons with the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Blues, Hitchcock has 781 wins, fourth all-time behind Scotty Bowman (1,244), Joel Quenneville (833) and Al Arbour (782). His 1,454 games coached are fifth.

He won the Stanley Cup with the Stars in 1999 and coached them back to the Cup Final in 2000. His teams reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 13 of his 14 full seasons.

Hitchcock coached the Blues to the Western Conference Final last season, then signed a one-year contract. He said it would be his final one with the Blues, with Yeo hired as associate coach this season and his replacement next season.

The Blues are 1-1-0 with Yeo as coach. They play at the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, CSN-PH, NHL.TV).

"A special thanks and good luck also goes to Mike Yeo," Hitchcock said in his statement. "Mike was a true professional and an incredible source of knowledge and support as an associate coach. The Blues are in good and capable hands going forward with Mike."

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