Hitchcock leaves door open for NHL coaching return next season

Jasen Vinlove / Reuters

Ken Hitchcock is considering the possibility of coaching in the NHL beyond this season, but he's still leaning toward moving on next summer.

The St. Louis Blues head coach told TSN's Darren Dreger there's a chance the coming campaign might not be his last in the league.

"That (coming back) is possible, but that's in May or June and that's a long time off and you know I just don't think at this time ... I don't think it's fair to do that," Hitchcock said.

"I'm going to coach like crazy and I want to see how I feel and if I feel different then I will let somebody know. Other than that, I feel like I want to pour it all in now and then take stock at a different time."

In late May, the Blues announced Hitchcock was returning for "one final season."

When the team hired Mike Yeo as associate coach in mid-June, general manager Doug Armstrong said Yeo would serve under Hitchcock in 2016-17, then succeed him as head coach "for three years after that."

TSN's Bob McKenzie said Friday that the club's plan hasn't changed, and that if Hitchcock decides to coach beyond this season, it won't be with St. Louis.

The veteran coach told Dreger there could be enough motivation for him to reverse his original plan, but he won't decide that any time soon.

“Maybe there will be, but that's a decision that's going to be made quite a few months from now," Hitchcock said.

"Looking back, when we talked about this in May I couldn't make that decision and I didn't think it was fair to the team, nor to Doug (Armstrong) to sit there and hold them hostage, so we were proactive in it."

The 64-year-old is entering his 20th season behind an NHL bench, and his sixth with the Blues. He guided St. Louis to the Western Conference final in 2015-16, and ranks fourth all time with 757 coaching victories.

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Hitchcock leaves door open for NHL coaching return next season
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