Blue Jackets want to talk to ex-Flyers coach Hitchcock

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus Blue Jackets' hunt for a new
coach is on a fast track that may lead them to Ken Hitchcock, who
was fired as Philadelphia Flyers coach last month.

Blue Jackets president and general manager Doug MacLean received
permission from the Flyers to interview Hitchcock, the veteran
coach confirmed on Tuesday night.

"My understanding is that Columbus has asked for permission
from the Flyers and that they have given it," Hitchcock said.
"But no one from the Blue Jackets has talked to me."

Columbus announced earlier in the day that assistant Gary Agnew
would serve as interim head coach after the firing of Gerard
Gallant a day earlier. Team president and general manager Doug
MacLean did not immediately return a phone message.

MacLean said earlier that he expected team owner John H.
McConnell and son John P. McConnell to hire a permanent coach
"fairly quick."

Hitchcock declined to comment on whether he would be interested
in the Blue Jackets job. The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported
on its Web site Tuesday that Columbus had approached the Flyers
about Hitchcock, who remains with the team as a scout since his
Oct. 22 firing.

The Blue Jackets fired Gallant on Monday; the team is in last
place in the Western Conference's Central Division with a 5-9-1-0
record. The team's 11 points is the third-worst total in the NHL
and its 33 goals is the fewest of any team.

Hitchcock was fired after a 1-6-1 start by the Flyers, a veteran
squad that had apparently tuned him out because of his demanding
style that might play better with the young Blue Jackets.

Hitchcock has a 408-249-100 record in 10 NHL seasons with the
Dallas Stars and the Flyers. He was at the helm when the Stars win
the Stanley Cup in 1999.