Is Ken Hitchcock heading to New Jersey?
The New Jersey Devils have a lot going for them during this long off season with several key roster players participating in the World Championships and producing for their respective countries. In fact Nick Palmieri scored 2 huge goals on Monday to help Team USA rally from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Norway 4-2 and advance to the qualification round. (A nice patriotic win a day after the death of Osama Bin Laden)
But, if you follow the Devils you may want to pay extra attention to Team Canada. Ken Hitchcock is currently coaching team Canada and Larry Brooks of the New York Post claims that sources are letting it be known that GM Lou Lamoriello has the Stanley Cup winning coach on his radar. “So the name this time, the coach several sources have told Slap Shots that Lou Lamoriello intends to hire this summer, is Ken Hitchcock,” Brook wrote in his column.
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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Sources: Ken Hitchcock to be Devils Next Coach?
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