While some have speculated that St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock could be at risk of losing his job, GM Doug Armstrong was quick to shoot that down, writes Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Speaking with Rutherford, Armstrong said that Hitchcock isn’t in danger of losing his position:
“The guy has the best winning percentage in hockey over the last six years. If he’s in danger, then everybody’s in danger.”
Hitchcock’s unique situation has been well documented. With associate coach Mike Yeo set to take over next season, some have suggested it may make sense to make the transition early and eliminate any ‘lame duck’ situation. The team has had a decent start to the season overall, sitting second in the Central Division but have had some lulls along the way. The up-and-down start doesn’t really surprise Armstrong, however:
“This season was going to have more peaks and valleys than years in the past. It’s part of the growing pains that you go through. Obviously you’d like to have smooth waters all the time, but I don’t think it’s realistic. When you look how many games we’ve played, we’re competitive.”
Still with the Blues, Alex Steen missed his second straight game on Saturday with an upper body injury. Hitchcock noted that Steen is quickly getting better and remains day-to-day.
More from the Central:
- Although some teams are beginning to plan around next June’s expansion draft, Chicago GM Stan Bowman isn’t too worried about it at this point, reports Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times. Bowman tells Lazerus that the team has some flexibility when it comes to the expansion draft; as the roster currently stands, defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk and center Marcus Kruger would be among the more notable players that would be left unprotected.
- After shuffling back and forth between center and the wing in the past three years, Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon is feeling much better this season as a full-time player down the middle, notes Terry Frei of the Denver Post. MacKinnon is winning a career best 51.4% of his faceoffs (his previous high was 48.4%), taking an average of over 18 per night. However, the former first overall pick in 2013 off to another slower start offensively with 12 points in 17 games and has had to adjust to several different wingers lately thanks to injuries to Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog. In a separate article from Frei, Duchene noted that he hopes to return from a concussion on Monday while Landeskog isn’t quite ready to return from his lower body injury but shouldn’t miss too much more time.