By Brad Lee & Sean Gallagher
Months ago, after the St. Louis Blues uncermoniously fired head coach Mike Kitchen, we pretended to sit down with the deposed leader for a heart-to-heart conversation. We made up some surprising answers.
Brad Lee: Mike, thanks for sitting down with me for this interview.
Mike Kitchen: I wanted to see one of you Game Time pricks in person before I blow this shitty town. I got news for you buddy, you are not funny and you don't know hockey. And your cartoonist sucks.
Brad Lee: Mike, I, uh..
Mike Kitchen: I really had you going there for a second. I'm just bustin' your balls. I'm a big fan.
Bred Lee: Wow, you have a personality. I'm shocked.
Mike Kitchen: Hey, I'm still getting paid by the Blues toÂ not work. Nothing bothers me right now. All I need is a big plate of chicken wings and I'm satisfied. Mike Kitchen is a simple man.
Brad Lee:Â So, you're a simple man, but you refer to yourself in the third person now?
Mike Kitchen: Mike Kitchen needs to do what Mike Kitchen needs to do. Sometimes Mike Kitchen hangs out with a third person and sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes He calls himself "Kitch" or even "The Kitch".Â Sometimes he prefers MK.Â Like now. Oh, and capitalize the "H" in "he" for me, too.
Brad Lee: Wow. Impressive. Mind if I jump on that train?
MK: No problem, son. Try it out; it's liberating. In fact, I'd go with "BL" for you, because "Lee" sounds like a first name or an ethnic or something. Avoid the capitalized "H" for now, though.
BL: Right on, MK. So, back to the season, the Blues finally decided to let you go after a disheartening loss to Columbus, but it seems the writing was on the wall much earlier. When did you think you might get fired?
MK: Training camp. These guys don't listen, they don't play hard for each other. The veterans are already looking at teams they can get traded to, the young guys are floundering without good leadership. Everyone knows that leadership comes from other players or something. I'm just a coach, not a miracle worker. This team won't win 20 games this year. Honestly, I've been combing that Monster.com site for weeks.Â The Chicago Cubs were looking for a guy for a while, but that didn't pan out.
BL: Interesting. You say that leadership comes from "somewhere" Do you think that if you'd had some that maybe the team would have played better and maybe kept your job?
MK: No way. No coach in the NHL could get these guys to win. I could lead them out of a wet paper bag, contrary to certain published reports.
BL: Yeah, sorry about that. We were just kidding, mostly.
MK: No worries. But just so you know, I can do it. Literally. I mean that literally I've literally done it. We had a team outing at the Science Center and I set the whole thing up. The people over there were great - they had a 30-man paper bag and a giant hose and everything. I was like, "come on guys, follow me!" We totally got out of it too. Well, everyone but Orzsagh and Cajanek anyway.
BL: And how did the guys react to that bit of coaching motivation?
MK: We got smoked the next day on Brett Hull Night. I couldn't believe it, either. None of those guys came to play. Hey, I did my part.
BL: Well, some have suggested that maybe you could have had the team more motivated to play a bitter rival on the biggest night of the year in front of a packed house.
MK: Yeah, thanks for that one, too, you dicks.
BL: Sorry again, but still...
MK: I know, I know. Honestly, I thought I could get their attention by being upset, so I locked the door to my office, pretended to slam some things around like I was really upset and I started drinking scotch.
BL: During the game?
MK: Mike Kitchen chooses to retract his last statement.
BL: It's already out there, MK. Time to man-up and own it.
MK: Wow. That's some primo coach-speak, BL. Can I use that?
BL: Whenever someone hires you to be a head coach again, MK, it's all yours.
MK: Awesome, thanks. Hey wait a minute... what do you mean by that?
BL: Nothin' Kitch. Wanna get some wings?
MK: BL, you know I do.