Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Muller, Corsi Bring Experience to Blues' Staff

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Muller, Corsi Bring Experience to Blues' Staff

Article excerpt

As the Blues enter the second week of training camp, playing their first home preseason game tonight at Scottrade Center, new assistant coaches Kirk Muller and Jim Corsi seem to be settling in well.

"Settling in?" Blues coach Ken Hitchcock retorted. "They're running things now."

Truthfully, when Hitchcock isn't barking out orders, Blues associate head coach Brad Shaw is the most vocal leader on staff. But quietly, Muller, a veteran of 22 NHL seasons and eight more behind the bench, and Corsi, who played parts of three seasons in the NHL and World Hockey Association and spent the last 16 as a coach, are indoctrinating themselves into the organization.

"Ha," said Muller, when told of Hitchcock's comment. "He has been great about delegating and passing responsibilities onto everybody. The biggest thing is, now that camp has started, getting to know the system, getting to know the players, the identity of everybody in the organization. You're just kind of sitting back a little bit, taking it all in, knowing your spot and where you can contribute."

Part of the fallout of the Blues' early playoff exit last season was the dismissal this summer of assistant coach Gary Agnew and goaltending coach Corey Hirsch. Both the power play, of which Agnew had a hand in, and goalie Ryan Miller sputtered in the first-round series loss to Chicago. But the coaching changes, according to the organization, had more to do with having a former NHL player with a championship background and a veteran goalie coach on the staff.

Insert Muller, who was drafted No. 2 overall by New Jersey in 1984. The left winger played 1,349 games with the Devils, Dallas, Montreal, Florida, Toronto and the New York Islanders. He's also played in 127 playoff games, scoring the game-winning goal for Montreal to win the 1993 Stanley Cup.

"For me, (Muller's) greatest attribute is that he was an elite player, really competitive," said Hitchcock, who coached him for three seasons in Dallas. "Kirk had this ability as a player to want to go just a little bit further than the guy he was playing next to and I think he can bring that to our players. I love the fact that I can come up with ideas and turn the ideas over to Kirk and he can present them to the players."

Muller, 48, also has NHL coaching on his resume, spending five seasons as an assistant with Montreal and the last three as the head coach in Carolina before being fired last May.

"I think it helps having played and being able to relate to the guys," Muller said. "I look at my career, I was fortunate to be a power-play guy, a penalty-killer, play on the first line, second, third ... at the end of my career a healthy scratch in Dallas some games. So I can relate to a lot of guys, as situations present themselves. I think I'm a good communicator, so I can talk to the guys. That's what I want to do right now is build a relationship with these guys and earn their trust. …

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