-I saw Mike Kitchen at the Blues annual Christmas skating party at Scottrade Center Sunday night. What was more important was that I didn't see John Davidson. GM Larry Pleau was doing the "holiday glad-handing" and "thank you for all you do" greetings on behalf of management at the party. When I realized that JD wasn't in the house, I suspected something was up regarding the coaching job. Turns out, my suspicions were correct.
Sad to see a quality person like "Kitch" go to the annual NHL coaching scrap heap. But, he had to know that the writing was on the wall. You can't continue to have the kind of effort that the Blues have NOT been putting out and expect to keep a coaching job. The leisurely skate after the Brett Hull jersey retirement ceremony was likely the last straw.
Unfortunately, the way things are structured in pro sports, the coach is always the first one to be blamed. The players are not nearly as easily replaced as the man who is telling them what to do. There's only one of him...and a bunch of them. And there are a bunch of players on the current roster who do not deserve anywhere close to the kind of money they are being paid. A number of these veterans have let down Kitchen, Davidson, and the fans. You don't need me to name them for you. The Blues youth movement should be on in full regalia as soon as possible. Why continue to lose with highly-paid veterans? You can do that with young players that the fans might actually like to come see while peeking into the future.
I don't know much about Andy Murray except that he's a journeyman coach. He's been around the league for quite a while and has mixed reviews as a coach...depending on who's talking. I don't know what qualities he will bring to the job that might get these players pointed in the right direction. But, in my humble opinion, whatever he does will be more important in a couple of seasons...than it will be now. There is virtually no chance that the '06'-07 season will turn around to the point that we will be talking about a playoff berth. So, look for Murray to be more of a teacher of the game to the young blood from the organization that we'll be seeing before the season is over...and in the next couple of seasons to come.
Poor John Davidson...I wonder if he had any idea that it would be this hard. He might be longing for that microphone by now.