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Blues sign Hitchcock to one-year contract

Coach led St. Louis to first Western Conference Final appearance since 2001 @NHL

Ken Hitchcock signed to a one-year contract to return for a sixth season as coach of the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues reached the Western Conference Final this season for the first time since 2001 but lost to the San Jose Sharks in six games. It was the first time the Blues won a playoff series since reaching the second round in 2011-12, Hitchcock's first season.

St. Louis is 20-27 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs under Hitchcock, including 10-10 this postseason.

"I think there's a feeling of unfinished business for everyone in this room," Blues captain David Backes told the Post-Dispatch on Saturday. "You get two wins away from a Stanley Cup Final, you want another crack at it. [Hitchcock] is a guy, he's put all the work in, puts a great game plan out there. And when we've executed it, it's really tough to beat.

"There's certainly times when he gets under your skin and he's not your best friend. But I don't know if you want a coach that's your best friend. You want someone that's pushing you and always wanting to make you better and make the team better. He fits all those qualities in a coach. Five years together now, I think he's done one heck of a job."

Hitchcock, who turns 65 on Dec. 17, is 224-103-36 in 363 regular-season games with the Blues, second on the Blues behind Joel Quenneville (307), and his .667 winning percentage is the best in Blues history.

In 19 seasons with the Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Blues, he's 757-453-106, with 88 ties, in 1,404 games. He needs 26 wins to pass Al Arbour for third place on the NHL all-time list behind Scotty Bowman (1,244) and Quenneville (801). He coached the Stars to the Stanley Cup in 1999 and to the Cup Final in 2000, and won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year in 2012. He also won Olympic gold medals as an assistant coach with Canada in 2002, 2010 and 2014.

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