ST. LOUIS --
When he was suddenly brought in to become the next coach of the St. Louis Blues
, Ken Hitchcock was on the bottom of the depth chart as far as seniority goes in St. Louis pro sports coaches.
Little did he know that 57 days later, Hitchcock would suddenly become the dean.
But after St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa retired days after Hitchcock was hired and the St. Louis Rams firing head coach Steve Spagnuolo on Monday, Hitchcock was suddenly vaulted to the top.
He laughed about it at Tuesday's morning skate prior to the Blues (21-12-5) facing the Phoenix Coyotes
"I've always said they should change the award to coach for the year rather than of the year," Hitchcock said. "To me, it's the nature of our business. You can't change out all the players. There's different directions going on. There's part of you that understands you're in that business now, but I think the business since I've got here in 1996, it's become even more volatile. It's nothing to see us change out a third of the coaches. We just have to live in that business."
Joked captain David Backes
: "I wonder if he's got any of his boxes unpacked yet. Quite the carousel here, but I think all the changes seem to be welcomed and obviously ours has been successful. We wish those other sports teams here nothing but the best."
The Blues are 15-5-5 since Hitchcock's arrival, and it seems that Blues general manager Doug Armstrong's call to replace Davis Payne
with Hitchcock at the time has moved the Blues into the right direction, particularly in the standings.
"I'm lucky," Hitchcock said. "I've got a strong relationship with Doug. I've got a strong relationship with J.D. (Blues President John Davidson
). That to me is the most important part. When you have a good relationship with people, they'll love you. When the storm hits, they'll help you weather it."