Report: Vladimir Sobotka to stay with KHL’s Avangard Omsk next season

Jared Clinton
Vladimir Sobotka (Photo by Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)

Sorry if you got your hopes up about the return of Vladimir Sobotka, St. Louis Blues fans, because it appears the 27-year-old pivot is going to be sticking around in the KHL.

The official website of the KHL’s Avangard Omsk, hawk.ru, has reported that Sobotka will be returning to the club next season. Following the 2013-14 season, Sobotka inked a three-year deal with Avangard, but rumors had been circling that he was considering a return to the NHL next season.

“Yesterday we had a conversation with Vladimir Sobotka, and we agreed that he is a player of our club for another season,” Vladimir Shalaev, Avangard’s president told the site. Read more

St. Louis Blues, Ken Hitchcock agree to one-year contract

Jared Clinton
Ken Hitchcock. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

As THN’s Ken Campbell reported yesterday, Ken Hitchcock will be back behind the St. Louis bench next season on a one-year deal.

The Blues announced Tuesday afternoon that they have re-signed Hitchcock to a one-year contract, keeping him a part of the club for at least the 2015-16 season. There’s little doubt, however, that he’s under immense pressure to show he can lead his team to playoff success. The 63-year-old coach has spent the past four seasons in the Gateway City but has failed to help the Blues advance past the first round of the post-season in each of the past three campaigns.

There was some question whether or not Hitchcock would be back at all, however. Read more

Hitchcock almost certain to be back for another season with the Blues

Ken Hitchcock (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

There’s a good chance the St. Louis Blues and Ken Hitchcock will agree on a one-year contract, perhaps as early as sometime this week. This is a situation that might rankle a lot of coaches, given that Mike Babcock just received an eight-year deal to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs. In fact, given that the Blues spoke with Babcock about the possibility of replacing Hitchcock, he might be excused for telling the Blues precisely where they could do with their one-year contract extension.

The public perception has been that the Blues have left their coach twisting in the wind over the past couple of weeks, that he’s their fallback option only if they can’t come up with someone better.

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Report: Vladimir Sobotka “should” stay in KHL next season

Jared Clinton
Vladimir Sobotka (Photo by Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)

St. Louis Blues fans who were hoping to see Vladimir Sobotka back in the NHL next season might be disappointed by the latest news.

According to a report from Fedor Fedin, Avangard Omsk president Vladimir Shalaev said the 27-year-old center “should” be staying in the KHL next season with his club. Last season with Omsk, Sobotka scored 10 goals and 38 points in 53 games, all the while playing top-line minutes. Read more

Top 10 coaches by points percentage: Where does Mike Babcock sit?

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been mired in the basement of the NHL for several seasons, but the hiring of coach Mike Babcock is giving Leafs Nation a reason for hope for a better and much brighter future.

While he hasn’t coached long enough to make the top 10 all-time wins list, Babcock does have the most of any coach to be behind the bench for fewer than 1,000 games. As such, he has managed to become one of the effective coaches in the history of the game.

In order to better represent who exactly the top 10 coaches by points percentage are, however, we have to set a limit of at least 100 games as an NHL bench boss. Otherwise some coaches, like Cap Raeder, who was the fill-in coach for the San Jose Sharks for one game – a victory – have near perfect winning percentages without really having control of the club.

Here are the top 10 best coaches by points percentage: Read more

UPDATED: Mike Babcock done interviewing, decision likely coming Wednesday

Mike Babcock (Getty Images)

Mike Babcock is inching closer to making his decision about where he will be coaching next season and his free agent saga could come to an end Wednesday.

The longtime Detroit Red Wings coach told MLive.com’s Ansar Khan that he has now talked to every team he is going to speak to about their coaching vacancies and that he is planning on talking things through with his family and Detroit GM Ken Holland one more time.

“Just going to re-visit everything one more time (with Holland),” Babcock told Khan. “I’ve talked to all the teams I’m talking to.” Read more

Fans still remember ‘The Goal’ by Bill Armstrong, 25 years later

Ken Campbell
Bill Armstrong (left) and David Craevich (Photo courtesy Oshawa Generals)

As the director of amateur scouting for the St. Louis Blues, Bill Armstrong took a trip through the Ontario League earlier this season with his teenage son Jamie in tow. In every arena, fans stopped Armstrong to share a memory that is now a quarter of a century old.

It was 25 years ago today that Armstrong became the most unlikely hero in Memorial Cup history, capping one of the most compelling and exciting tournaments ever with his goal at 2:05 of the second overtime period for the Oshawa Generals in their 4-3 victory over the Kitchener Rangers in front of a sold-out crowd at the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton.

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