Hitchcock named head coach in St. Louis

Former Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock is back behind an NHL bench as head coach of the St. Louis Blues.

The team announced the move late last night after receiving permission from the Columbus Blue Jackets to speak with Hitchcock, who was still under contract for this season. Hitchcock was fired in 2010, but remained on as a consultant to fulfill the remainder of his deal.

Hitchcock was thought to be in line to replace Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arniel, but instead replaces Davis Payne after the Blues languised to a 6-7 start.

Hitchcock will be reunited with Doug Armstrong, the Blues GM who was an assistant GM in Dallas when Hitchcock led the Stars to the Stanley Cup.

His contract will run through the 2012-13 season. The team has scheduled a news conference for this morning to formally introduce Hitchcock.

He becomes the fourth Blues coach in six seasons.

Hitchcock was the Flyers coach from 2003 through the first 16 games of the 2006 season, when he was replaced by John Stevens. That was the same day that Paul Holmgren replaced Bob Clarke as general manager.

The Flyers twice won 45 games under Hitchcock, along with a division title and an appearance in the Eastern Conference finals in 2004.

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