Edmonton names Ken Hitchcock head coach

Ken Hitchcock has been named the new head coach of the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers relieved Todd McLellan of his coaching duties earlier this morning. Hitchcock, who is an Edmonton native, has the third-most wins (823) as a coach in NHL history.

Edmonton currently ranks 26th in the league’s overall standings with a record of 9-10-1. The Oilers have registered just three wins in their last 10 outings so we could guess something was going to happen.

“I saw some things that were resurfacing,” general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “This is no indictment on Todd. He’s a very good coach. He’s going to be a very good coach in the League again.

“We had a real good stretch and I don’t think we overachieved, and then I just saw some reversion. This isn’t scientific. It’s a sense and a feel and you talk to some people and what I saw, I saw levels of flatness and levels of non-responsiveness and when that happens, the radar goes up.”

I love the switch to Hitch. The man is known for his focus on the defensive side of the game, and that is the area the Oilers need the most work.

“I think you’re going to see more of that structure, the forecheck being aggressive and if you’ll recall at one point, it was aggressive,” Chiarelli said. “The second man was pretty proactive and even the third man. Elements of his game are defensive, and he talks about from the dots to the boards and that’s important. That’s wall play and where a lot of the game is.”

Hitchcock, 66, is the third-winningest coach in NHL history (823-506-119, 88 ties) in 22 seasons with the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues, behind Quenneville (890) and Scotty Bowman (1,244). He led the Stars to the Stanley Cup in 1999 and won the Jack Adams Award with the Blues in 2011-12.

To be honest, I originally wanted Hitchcock when Todd McLellan was first hired.  It will be interesting to see what he can get out of this roster.

I think many fans would agree with me  Peter Chiarelli has to out the door next!