The Ken Hitchcock Effect

01/08/2010
Florida Panthers v Philadelphia Flyers

If the words of Nikita Filatov are not enough to describe how much of an effect Ken Hitchcock has on his young players, then you will definitely want to read this.

The young Russian said in a recent interview, when questioned on his decision to return to the NHL, “I highly doubt it. But [moving] Ken Hitchcock can really help it.”

There is a pattern and we will show you it.

On January 8, 1996, the Dallas Stars appointed Hitchcock’ as their head coach. This team displayed a nice mix of veterans and youth with promising players like Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen, Jamie Langenbrunner, Richard Matvichuck (acquired via trade), Trent Klatt and Darryl Sydor.  This same team found chemistry together eventually leading them to a Stanley Cup Championship just three short years later.

However, in his first season, the kids barely saw the ice. Outside of Modano and Matvichuck, forwards Lehtinen, Langenbrunner and Klatt played a defensive checking role. Lehtinen was not drafted to be a defensive type player. Yes, he developed into a very good two-way player but a lot of his offensive potential lied to rot with Hitchcock not using him in a more offensive role or in a more offensive system.

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Columbus Finally Making a Move?

12/28/2009
San Jose Sharks v Columbus Blue Jackets

Tom Reed of The Columbus Dispatch recently reported that Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson will shake things up soon in an attempt to send a message to his team.  Considered a strong team with room for improvement following their first playoff berth, the young team struggled and currently sit in 14th in the Western Conference, just one point above cellar dweller the Edmonton Oilers.

The difference between the Oilers and Blue Jackets however are injuries.  The Oilers lost their number one goalie and arguably their number one scorer, if not for the breakout year of Dustin Penner and admirable job by Jeff Deslauriers thinks could be even worse in the province of Alberta.

The Blue Jackets’ problems prove not as simple.  A sophomore slump from Derick Brassard and Steve Mason severely hurt their chances, as well as the deportation of Nikita Filatov.  Couple those problems with the injury to top defenseman Rostislav Klesla and the Jackets lost key components to last year’s playoff team.

Nevertheless, Howson stayed the course admitting he would not make any panic moves.  At this point a move seems too late.  Recent rumblings around Twitter point to Karl Alzner moving to Columbus.

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