Coach Hitchcock doesn’t want a long-term deal with Blues

Watch as the St. Louis Blues celebrate on their way to the dressing room after defeating the Dallas Stars in Game 7.

Bruce Boudreau just signed to coach the Minnesota Wild for four seasons at $2.76 million per.

Todd McLellan, Dave Hakstol and Dan Bylsma all signed on for five seasons with their respective teams when they became available last summer.

Mike Babcock got a record eight years in Toronto. Chicago’s Joel Quenneville inked a three-year extension (at a reported $6 million per) that will guarantee him paycheques through 2020.

What a time for NHL bench bosses to be alive.

And yet Ken Hitchcock, whose contract with the St. Louis Blues expires this summer, insists that he only wants a contract through 2016-17.

Given his perference, every summer will be free agency.

“I scare myself because I think if I take long-term deal, I’m gonna get sloppy,” Hitchcock told Hockey Central at Noon Thursday, hours after guiding his Blues to the Western Conference final. “I want to stay on one-year deals.”

In addition to getting the Blues over the hump this spring, the accomplished Hitchcock, 64, already has a Stanley Cup ring (with the 1999 Dallas Stars), two Olympic gold medals with Team Canada, a Jack Adams Trophy (2012), and 757 NHL wins.

Surely, he could land a contract significantly better in term and dollars this summer than the one-year, $1.2-million deal he’s wrapping up now.

“I don’t want to be sitting ripping off a team and taking money when I’m not doing anything. I just feel comfortable taking one-year deals to be honest with you,” said Hitchcock, who has frequently consulted baseball’s Tony La Russa on the topic.

“Right now I coach because I love it. I don’t need to coach, and I don’t need to work. I’ve been so lucky to be in this business.”

Negotiating advantage: Blues GM Doug Armstrong.

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