Ken Hitchcock signs contract extension with St. Louis Blues

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

BLUESThe St. Louis Blues are apparently happy with the job Ken Hitchcock did behind the bench this season, and why wouldn't they be? After he took over for Davis Payne early in the season, the Blues finished the 2011-12 campaign as one of the best teams in the NHL and posted a 43-15-11 record under Hitchcock's watch.

On Wednesday the Blues rewarded him with a contract extension through the 2013-14 season, as well as an option for the 2014-15 season.

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"Ken came in and immediately steadied our group and was able to get each one of our players to elevate their game," said general manager Doug Armstrong in a team statement. "He still has the passion and drive to be a Head Coach in this League and is committed to taking this team to the next level."

Even though they were swept in the second round of the playoffs by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, it was the first time the Blues advanced past the conference quarterfinal since the 2001-02 season.

Hitchcock was also given the Jack Adams Award for being the NHL's coach of the year.

"I feel like we are putting together a quality program here," said Hitchcock. "We had a good year finishing where we did in the standings but this club is not satisfied with our ending and firmly believes we have great things to come."

During his 16-year coaching career Hitchcock has also spent time behind the bench in Dallas (where he led the Stars to two Stanley Cup Final appearances, including a championship in 1999), Philadelphia and Columbus, winning 576 of a possible 1,110 regular-season games.

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