The big news in the NHL this Wednesday has to do with Ken Hitchcock. The head coach of the St. Louis Blues has been relieved of his duties according to a February 1st article at NHL.com. The firing, as coach terminations often do, follows a loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday 5-3.

While the loss to the Jets is just one game, it nonetheless has to be one that the Blues' management figured should have been a victory for St. Louis. The Jets remain in 6th place in the Central Division and they haven't been hot of late, going just 4-5-1 in their last ten games. Furthermore, Winnipeg have not been too difficult to beat at home this season.

With the win over St. Louis, the Jets are just 13-11-1 when hosting.

Poor road record hurt St. Louis

In the broader context, St. Louis are certainly having a much worse season than they had last year. They are not in contention for the Central Division title as they entered February a full 18 points behind the Minnesota Wild in the standings. St. Louis can certainly look at making the top three in the division and getting into the post-season that way still. However, as of February 1st they are in fourth place with both Dallas and Winnipeg nibbling at their heels. A 3-7-0 record over the last ten games appears to have been Hitchcock's final undoing with a poor road record hurting his team in the bigger picture.

Reactions to firing

Reaction to the firing varies. Matt Larkin seems to think that Hitchcock was punished for an underperforming goaltender.

"If (Jake Allen) is even average this season, Hitch is employed right now," Larkin tweeted. Despite the firing, Hitchcock is one of the more successful active NHL coaches and he won a Stanley Cup earlier in his career with the Dallas Stars. He should not have trouble finding work again in the future.

Hitchcock joins Gerard Gallant, formerly of the Florida Panthers, as coaches fired this season after successful efforts in the previous season. Gallant won the Atlantic Division in 2015/16 only to be let go earlier this NHL season. The Blues did not win their division last season however they came close. Furthermore, they lasted through two rounds of the NHL playoffs last year before losing to the San Jose Sharks. Perhaps Gallant and Hitchcock are names that might be in the hat when it comes to the NHL's new team in Las Vegas.

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