In a shocking move, Ken Hitchcock has decided to return to coaching in the NHL. The 65-year old coach was fired by the St. Louis Blues during this past season and he had seemingly called it a career potentially announcing his retirement from coaching; however it seems a return to his old home in Dallas has changed his mind.
Hitchock coached the Stars for six seasons from 1996 to 2002 during his first stint in Dallas — this was his first job as an NHL head coach. Over those six seasons, he helped the Stars to a 277-154-60-12 record, five straight division titles and a Stanley Cup Championship in 1999.
Before that, Ken was an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers in the early 90s, and then later went back to Philly to become their head coach from 2002 to 2006. He was quickly hired by the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2006 season and coached them until being fired in 2010. After a year off, Hitchcock returned to the bench, becoming head coach of the Blues during the 2011-12 season. In his six seasons in St. Louis, he coached them to a record of 248-124-5 which included two Central Division titles and five trips to the playoffs.
Hitchcock’ 781 wins ranked him fourth all time among NHL head coaches, and with two more wins he will pass Al Arbour for third all-time to only trail Joel Quenneville and Scotty Bowman.
The Dallas Stars fired Lindy Ruff — who is actually fifth on the all-time NHL wins list behind Hitchcock — on April 9th and seemed to have had Hitchcock in mind as this hire came very quick.
Doug Weight retained by NY Islanders
On the other side of the country, another team has decided to keep their current coach. The New York Islanders have officially removed the interm tag from Doug Weight’s title and announced they are retaining him as their head coach.
Weight was brought down from the front office to take over as coach midway through the 2016-17 season and nearly led the Isles to a playoff berth after the team was in the Eastern Conference cellar with Jack Capuano early in the season. Weight is also the team’s assistant general manager, a title he held in the front office before also taking over coaching duties.
The question with the Islanders going forward is, where will they play? With the relationship between the franchise and Barclays Center in Brookyln, NY not in good spirits, rumors of the Islanders needing a new home have been floating around for a little while. Options this far include the team moving back to Nassau Coliseum in Long Island or possibly going to Hartford, CT.