This is the stare of determination. Or the stare of someone who found a buffet in Vegas. Either or, I'll take it.
Good news today for the Blues organization -- the team's extended coach Ken Hitchcock's contract through the 2012-2014 season with an option for the next year. That's potentially two more years of winning hockey, and two more years of good chances to get deep into the playoffs. Hitch won the Jack Adams for a reason, and that reason is because he took a team of guys who were working on being just "good enough" and turned them into "outstanding."
Be that by intimidation, understanding hockey players, or just being all-around a good and honest guy, Hitch has extended his solid reputation and has endeared himself to the Blues and their fans. The best bench interview in the game, Hitchcock's honest about his teams' performances to a fault. One can assume that transfers into the locker room as well.
The best thing about Hitchcock being around for a while isn't just that the Blues have stability in an excellent coach, it's that the excellent coach has bought into the Blues' and what might be:
"Regardless of what happens in a few years, I want to stick around for a long time. This is it for me. This is my last stop," Hitchcock said. "I want this to be a successful franchise for the next 10 or 15 years, and I want to be part of it even if I'm not coaching.
"We're going to have ups and downs, we're going to have good times and bad times, but to me, I really trust the people in management, scouting and everything here. There's a great working relationship with the coaching staff, which for me is very unique in sports. It feels like it did way back in Dallas and that's why I want to stick around."
So this is Hitch's last stop on the coach-go-round? He's ending it on a good note, pardon the pun. It's great that he wants to be part of the franchise after his tenure as coach is done -- it says a lot to the investment he's willing to make in this team.