Blues players react to Hitchcock in, Payne out

Blues players react to Hitchcock in, Payne out

Credit: AP

Ken Hitchcock, left, runs his first practice after being named head coach of the St. Louis Blues hockey team Monday, Nov. 7, 2011, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

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by Scott Bierman, HockeyStL

HockeyStL

Posted on November 7, 2011 at 4:14 PM

(HockeyStL) -- It’s been only one practice in new St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock’s tenure as the 24th manager in team history, but many players are excited to see if the team can take the next step towards making the playoffs.

“It’s a building relationship that’s obviously one practice old,” Blues captain David Backes said.  “He’s (Hitchcock) a great hockey mind.  He knows what kind of team, what kind of character, what kind of work ethic it takes (to succeed).” 

The Blues (6-7-0) have started the season slower than anticipated, but many including defenseman Barret Jackman did not see the firing of Davis Payne coming.

“It’s tough,” Jackman said.  “You got a relationship with a guy and he was a young coach, but he really had a vision for what he wanted to do and for some reason it wasn’t translating.  Now we have a guy with a lot of experience and hopefully he will drive this team to the next level.”

Payne was 67-55-15 since taking over the Blues coaching position midway through the 2009-2010 season.  The Blues failed to make the playoffs under his tenure.

by Scott Bierman, HockeyStL
-follow me on Twitter @Scott_Bierman

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