The Blues have lost consecutive games after a three-game winning
streak and are just 7-14-3-1 in their last 25 contests. On
Tuesday, coach Joel Quenneville was fired and replaced by
Quenneville had served as Blues coach since January 1997 and
guided them to five seasons of 90-plus points. He seemed on his
way to a sixth straight playoff trip when St. Louis stormed to
a 20 wins in its first 30 games.
The 45-year-old Quenneville captured Coach of the Year honors
after guiding the Blues to a franchise-record 114 points in the
1999-00 season and was the second-longest tenured coach in the
NHL behind Jacques Martin of Ottawa.
Kitchen was in his sixth season as an assistant coach after
spending nine seasons in the same capacity with the Toronto
Maple Leafs. The 45-year-old Kitchen played eight seasons in
the NHL as a defenseman.
The Blues have not missed the playoffs since 1979, but are ninth
in the Western Conference, two points behind Nashville for the
eighth and final playoff spot.
On Sunday, Keith Tkachuk and defenseman Eric Weinrich scored for
the Blues in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Weinrich, who was acquired from Philadelphia on February 9,
scored his first goal since January 28.
Colorado is three points in front of the Vancouver Canucks for
the lead in the Northwest Division, despite losing four of its
last four games.
Defensemen Rob Blake and Adam Foote returned for the Avalanche
on Tuesday, but they were blanked, 2-0, by the Calgary Flames.
Blake had missed seven games with a hairline fracture in his
left leg and Foote sat out the previous two contests with a
Avalanche center Peter Forsberg has missed four games with a
groin injury and has been limited to just 32 contests this
season. One of the best two-way players in the NHL, Forsberg
has 17 goals and 31 assists this season.
Colorado has totaled just two goals in its last four defeats.
The Blues edged the Avalanche, 2-1, here in the first meeting of
the season on October 12. The Avalanche had a tie and a win in
two contests at St. Louis and are 20-13-6-1 all-time at home
vs. the Blues.