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New Blues coach Ken Hitchcock’s teams work like clockwork

Viktor Stalberg Scott Nichol

Viktor Stalberg, Scott Nichol

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Updated: December 10, 2011 10:01AM



ST. LOUIS — New St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock had some parting words for the media as they waited for coach Joel Quenneville outside the Blackhawks’ locker room Tuesday morning.

“Tell Joel he’s full of crap,” Hitchcock chimed.

Asked about it, Quenneville, a friend of Hitchcock’s, only laughed and said, “I’m not touching that one.”

Hitchcock will enliven things in St. Louis and the Central Division after his unexpected arrival late Sunday, when it was announced he was hired and Davis Payne was fired. Hitchcock is 534-350-88-70 in 1,042 NHL games. He won a Stanley Cup in 1999 with the Dallas Stars and led the Columbus Blue Jackets to their only playoff appearance in 2008-09.

“Hitch’s teams are always competitive and ready to play,” Quenneville said.

Many projected the Blues as a playoff team, but their slow start ended Payne’s brief tenure. Patrick Sharp knows what Hitchcock brings, having played for him with Philadelphia Flyers. Sharp credits Hitchcock with helping him become a two-way player.

“He’ll have St. Louis playing great, I know that,” Sharp said. “It’s not a good thing that he’s coaching in our division.”

Kaner check

Patrick Kane said he just wanted to return the favor when asked why he hit Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin at the end of the first period of the 6-2 loss Sunday. Play already was dead when he ran over Sedin, and Kane was called for roughing.

“It was probably a stupid penalty there,” Kane said. “But I felt they were kind of doing that to me, so I didn’t really expect to be called on that one, to be honest with you. Guys like [Ryan] Kesler are following you around the ice slashing you and cross-checking you for about a minute, and I get a penalty for that. So that was a little disappointing.

“At the end of the day, I have to keep my composure a little bit and make sure you don’t take those penalties, especially at the end of periods.”

Put me in, Coach

Rostislav Olesz, a healthy scratch the last 11 games, played for the first time Tuesday since Oct. 13 against the Winnipeg Jets. Olesz said his surgically repaired knee has been fine.

“It was tough, but the guys were winning,” Olesz said. “I’m happy to be back.”

Quenneville also decided to dress enforcer John Scott but said it had little to do with the Blues being a fighting bunch.

“[I] want to see how he can play not just one game, but take advantage of a regular shift,” Quenneville said.

Bryan Bickell, Sami Lepisto and Sean O’Donnell were scratched.



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