Blues Ax Quenneville

Feb 24, 2004

NHL teams

The St. Louis Blues fired head coach Joel Quenneville Wednesday and replaced him with assistant coach Mike Kitchen, who was given a multiyear contract.

"I think Joel did everything he could," General manager Larry Pleau said. "I just felt that the way the team had been playing, that a change was needed -- and a new face. In these positions, you make decisions, and I felt it was time. I didn't think it was going to get back on track."

The Blues are in ninth place in the Western Conference with a 29-23-7-2 record and in danger to miss the playoffs for the first time in 25 years.

"It's a hard job to take, when you lose a good friend and coach," Kitchen said.

"Somebody's got to take the heat when the team's not playing very well, and it's pretty tough to fire a whole team," Blues' defenseman Chris Pronger said. "Obviously, the coach is the easiest guy to let go, but at the same time we as players haven't played very well."

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