ST. LOUIS The St. Louis Blues and coach Ken Hitchcock, who led the team to its first playoff series win in a decade last season, have agreed to a one-year contract extension through the 2013-14 season with a mutual option for 2014-15.
The 60-year-old Hitchcock won the Jack Adams Award after producing the franchises first 100-point season since 2001 and its first postseason series win since 2002. The Blues tied for second overall in the NHL in the regular season and beat San Jose in the playoffs before getting swept by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.
The playoff berth was just the second in seven seasons for St. Louis, which also won its first postseason games since 2004.
I feel like we are putting together a quality program, Hitchcock said. We had a good year finishing where we did in the standings, but this club is not satisfied with our ending and firmly believes we have great things to come.
The Blues were 7-1-2 in the first 10 games under Hitchcock, who replaced Davis Payne in early November. Hitchcock is 11th on the NHL career list with 576 victories and 70 playoff wins.
Ken came in and immediately steadied our group and was able to get each one of our players to elevate their game, general manager Doug Armstrong said. He still has the passion and drive to be a head coach in this league and is committed to taking this team to the next level.
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It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.
Sosa is heating up, but even a red-hot Sosa doesn't automatically equal wins for the Cubs.
Slammin' Sammy notched his first multi-homer game in 1998 in a 9-5 loss to Kevin Millwood and the Atlanta Braves. Sosa drove in 4 of the Cubs' 5 runs on a solo shot in the 4th inning and a three-run shot in the 8th.
Sosa tallied 830 feet of homers in the game, with his first blast going 410 feet and the second shot measured at 420 feet.
The big game bumped Sosa's overall season slash line to .337/.411/.551 (.962 OPS) with 11 homers and 35 RBI.
Fun fact: Mickey Morandini hit second for the Cubs in this game and went 4-for-4, but somehow only scored one run despite hitting just in front of Sosa all game. That's because Morandini was caught stealing to end the 3rd inning, leaving Sosa to lead off the 4th inning with a solo blast.
Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.
Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.
"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"
Paxson famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch the series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.
"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"
Watch the video above to see the interaction.
Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.