While the end of the post-season wasn't what the Blues desired, the management apparently has deemed it successful enough to retain the services of coach Ken Hitchcock.
The news comes from Elliotte Friedman and Nick Kypreos, who say that Hitch is comfortable with one year deals now (presumably as he reaches retirement age, he would like some flexibility in his career).
Sound like @StLouisBlues run was enough for Armstrong to bring back Ken Hitchcock. Formal announcement could come as early as this week— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) May 31, 2016
Hitchcock has been a very successful regular season coach with the Blues, with a .667 win percentage. Playoff wise, it hasn't been as strong as the team or the fans have hoped, with three consecutive first round bounces before this year's trip to the conference finals.
Much has been said about Hitch and his "shelf life," and occasionally through the season it becomes clear that the team, for whatever reason, tunes him out. You can tell when this happens, usually in December and January, because the Blues go on a streak of inexplicably average hockey. Hitch in the playoffs is often prone to vacillating between overthinking and stubbornness, further irritating the fanbase. Line combo switches are common, pet players such as Vladimir Sobotka, Magnus Paajarvi, and Steve Ott are utilized in interesting ways.
Regardless of his quirks, it's difficult to argue with his regular season success. It's also unsurprising that Doug Armstrong, who has a close working relationship with Hitch from his days with the Dallas Stars as well as his tenure as GM of Team Canada, has asked his coach to come back for another season.
Former Blue Andy McDonald disagrees with Armstrong, to say the least.
Oof. McDonald speaks for many frustrated fans, or at least fans who were frustrated before this year's long playoff run. The Blues' regular seasons and postseasons under Hitchcock have been similar - you can nearly set your watch by the ebbs and flows of the team's play - but perhaps this year's playoff successes are a sign that the insanity's broken. Or maybe not.
At least Hitch's Hat won't have to get a new name.