Blues Surprisingly Decline Option on Jared Bednar
In a shocking turn of events the St. Louis Blues effectively fired Peoria Rivermen coach Jared Bednar by refusing to pick up his option. The move comes as a major surprise as Bednar was told in May that the option would be picked up as a matter of routine - an indicator that the team clearly wanted him back. Bednar received heaps of praise during his two years as coach making the team's decision even more puzzling.
Currently there is no clear reason as to why the Blues decided to let their head coach of their AHL affiliate walk. The Rivermen stumbled as a club in the final few weeks of the season but this was likely due to the fact their top goalie, Ben Bishop, was dealt to Ottawa while another intricate piece, Ian Cole, remained at the NHL level with the Blues. The Rivermen failed to achieve their desired result but it seems pretty harsh that Bednar would lose his job given the other factors involved.
Bednar coached the Rivermen to a respectable 81-63-12 record which included a playoff run in 2010-11. He served as a coach at the AHL All-Star Game in 2011-12. On the surface, it seems that Bednar has the makings of a talented coach - one that would certainly have his contract extended.
Instead, the Blues opted to turn their back on Bednar - a move that has fans and players scratching their heads. Rivermen players were quoted
saying they were pretty shocked, assuming the decision was made due to their failure to turn in a deep playoff run.
At this time the only reason the Blues are giving is that they wanted to move in a new direction. This is understandable when a coach is clearly struggling, but in Bednar's case the move lacks any sort of common sense. Unless there was an issue going on behind the scenes, this move by the new owners of the Blues looks like a big miss. It's also a poor way of doing business. We knew there would be changes made by the new owners but this one seems to be in poor taste.