The Blues organization approached the 2011-12 season with an increased sense of urgency.
With franchise ownership in limbo, general manager Doug Armstrong sought near-term improvement by adding veterans Jason Arnott, Jamie Langenbrunner, Brian Elliott, Scott Nichol and Kent Huskins. He sought to push team back into the playoffs and ultimately deeper into postseason.
That urgency fueled last season’s blockbuster trade of Erik Johnson and Jay McClement to Colorado for Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk.
And that same urgency led to a coaching change just 13 games into the season.
Exit Davis Payne, who failed to deliver postseason glory with an injury-riddled team last season. Enter taskmaster Ken Hitchcock, a battle-tested coaching lifer with Stanley Cup credentials.
Why did the Blues make this surprisingly quick change? Two factors sped up the decision-making process.