The St. Louis Blues cleared house today, firing coaches Ray Bennett, Steve Thomas, Rick Wilson and Ty Conklin. The quartet had hugely varying experience levels, from Wilson’s 27 seasons as an NHL assistant to Thomas’ three. Conklin may be the most surprising though, as he was part of the team—along with assistant GM Martin Brodeur—to turn around Jake Allen’s season after goaltending coach Jim Corsi was fired. Allen’s second-half turnaround continued into the playoffs and helped the Blues make a splash, recording an amazing .935 save percentage in the postseason.
Brodeur is also not returning as the team’s goalie coach, but is heading up a search for a new one. Many would have presumed that Conklin would have been a front-runner given his familiarity with Allen, but apparently they will go in another direction. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet tweets that both Craig Berube and Darryl Sydor are “good bets” to move up from the Chicago Wolves and take places in the St. Louis coaching staff next season.
- On Wilson, Friedman believes that he may immediately head to Dallas to reunite with Ken Hitchcock a long-time friend and coaching associate. Wilson was behind the Stars bench going all the way back to the Minnesota North Stars days, and was present for Hitchcock’s entire first run with the team. They won a Stanley Cup together in 1999.
- The lack of an announcement for next year’s All-Star Game had people wondering if the league was holding out a sliver of possibility of still heading to the Olympics, but it seems as though the announcement will come soon on the host city. After Friedman broke that it may be heading to the southeast this morning, Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Lightning are the likely candidates. Though it’s “not a done deal yet” Smith writes that Tampa obviously has the capacity to host big events. The city has held several huge sporting events over the years including Super Bowls and Frozen Four tournaments. If the All-Star festivities are announced with the full schedule, it likely means any ray of hope that the league will head to the Olympics is finished. Once plans are set in motion for the city, it would be near-impossible to go back on.