There were several significant stories for the Blues this season, but few had the impact of the coaching change which showed Ken Hitchcock the door and promoted Mike Yeo. The Blues responded instantly, rattling off an impressive record down the stretch before ultimately falling in the second round of the playoffs. Yeo’s message clearly resonated with the players, but there may have been a simpler explanation for the team’s rise – they actually liked their head coach.
The stories surrounding the Blues and their feelings towards Hitchcock over the years are well documented. As time wore on, Hitchcock’s message grew more and more stale, leading many to believe that he had lost the room both on a coaching level and on a personal level. The respect which was in place at the beginning of Hitchcock’s tenure looked to be a thing of the past.
Upon Yeo receiving the job, the attitude changed. The mood lightened and players seemed to be having fun again.
Jake Allen recently spoke with the Post-Dispatch about his thoughts about Yeo and the fun the team was having.
“He did a great job. I think we all love playing for him. That’s why we’re going to be champing at the bit to come back. It goes to show the finish we had, the sacrifice the guys would do and lay on the line for each other, for him, for the playoffs. It was impressive and I think training camp is going to be hard, but it’s going to be fun.”
That’s a great mentality and attitude to see in the players after a disappointing playoff exit. The Blues have a lot of problems to address over the summer, but the players respecting the head coach is no longer one of them.