Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock can read. That makes him smarter than Jacques Demers. He can also turn a franchise around. That makes him smarter than Craig MacTavish, John Ferguson, and Marc Crawford. Hitchcock’s giant brain was exposed on Sunday, when his Blue Jackets were up against the much better Red Wings. With the Jackets ahead early in the game, the Wings sank two quick goals on a 5-on-3, then another seconds later on the 5-on-4. Columbus evened things but Detroit pulled ahead on a softie that Leclaire let in. Clearly, this goalie was about to blow the game and needed to take a time out from his play date. Hitchcock’s solution? Pull Lecalair…but only for two minutes. Hitchcock recognized that Leclaire needed a good cry and a hug on the bench and indulged him. (Clearly, Hitchcock enjoys pulling his goalie as much as the rest of us.) Anyway, Leclaire went back out on the next whistle and backstopped his team into the shoot-out, which he would ultimately lose. But Hitchcock’s true brilliance was manifest in the stellar performances of Zherdev and Fedorov. Without torture or threats of violence, Hitchcock actually convinced Russians to try.
Posted on November 18, 2007 by jakebogoch