Blues fire coach Hitchcock months before retirement

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Veteran St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was set to retire after this season, but his farewell tour has ended early.

General manager Doug Armstrong fired Hitchcock on Wednesday. Former Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo, added to Hitchcock's staff last June as the coach-in-waiting, will take over immediately.

The Blues lost 5-3 to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, their fifth loss in six games. At 24-21-5, St. Louis are fourth in the Central Division but sit in the second Western Conference wild-card position.

Hitchcock, 65, served as head coach of the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets before taking over in St. Louis in 2011. His 781 career regular-season wins trail only Scotty Bowman, Joel Quenneville and Al Arbour in NHL history.

The 43-year-old Yeo went 173-132-44 as Minnesota's coach from 2011-16; he was fired last February. His first game in charge in St. Louis will be on Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.