A week ago, the St. Louis Blues seemed well on pace to help coach Ken Hitchcock record his 600th career win, as they had not dropped a game in April and were in the midst of what would be a six-game winning streak. The Blues headed into Friday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets with Hitchcock needing just one win for the milestone, but they lost that game and their Sunday meeting with the Chicago Blackhawks. Now, Hitchcock will try to get the big win for a third time, when the Blues take on the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. If they win, they will do so without forward T.J. Oshie, who is out for at least a week after undergoing ankle surgery.
Hitchcock’s coaching career began in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers, where he won two league titles in six seasons. From there he went on to be an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers for three seasons, before taking a head coaching job in the IHL with the Kalamazoo Wings, the top affiliate of the Dallas Stars at the time. He was promoted to Dallas midway through the 1995-96 season, and would lead the team to a Stanley Cup championship in 1999. After coaching the Stars until the 2001-02 season Hitchcock next found work as the bench boss for the Flyers. He led the team to three consecutive playoff appearances, but lasted only four seasons. His next job was with the Blue Jackets, and in his four seasons there he helped get the team to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
The Blues brought Hitchcock in last season, and he guided the team to the second round of the playoffs following a regular season in which they brought home the President’s Trophy. He won the Jack Adams award as the league’s best coach last season, and has seen his Blues team battle injuries in this shortened season while still holding on to a playoff spot.