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‘Interested’ Hitchcock is a Perfect Fit for Devils

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 03:38 PM

Reports are starting to surface indicating that former NHL coach Ken Hitchcock is indeed interested in taking over the reigns behind the New Jersey Devils bench. The New York Post reported on Friday that Hitchcock said he is very interested in the Devils head coaching job.

Apparently Hitchcock has had discussions with former Devils head coaches Jacques Lemaire and the late Pat Burns about about working for the organization. “Everybody knows the Devils and what they are. I’ve had long conversations about working for (GM) Lou (Lamoriello), and both had nothing but praise,” Hitchcock said. “People in the game, people whose opinions I respect speak highly of him.” Lamoriello is also said to want a man behind the bench that demands respect from his players as Lemaire and Burns did. Hitchcock would be the ideal fit.

Hitchcock, the former head coach of the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets would make sense because he’s the safest pick for Lamoriello. Last season he broke tradition and brought in rookie coach John Maclean and it back-fired…badly. Now Lou has a chance to get New Jersey off the dizzying coaching carousel and maybe back to playing winning hockey. Hitchcock, won a Stanley Cup in 1999 with the Stars with his hard-nosed, no nonsense approach to a defense. Sort of like that Jacques Lemaire guy, ever heard of him? After Lemaire announced his retirement, (part deux) many believed the next coach for the Devils needed to fit that same mold and “Hitch” fits that mold to a tee.

The Devils are in “need to win now” mode with Martin Brodeur all but done after his contract expires. It would be fitting to give the winning-est goaltender in NHL history a chance to go out, well, a winner. Don’t expect a repeat of last season and in the same breath don’t expect a miracle. The Devils are a very flawed team and will remain that way until they can get back some of that stability they had through the mid-90′s and early 2000′s. Bring in a coach like Hitchcock and sign Zach Parise to a long term deal and the team moves leaps and bounds in the right direction.

Risk-taking HAD been an alien concept to the Devils until recently. Now, it’s up to Devils management to get the team back down to Earth. Is Hitchcock one small step for a team or one giant leap for an GM?

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