The Dallas Stars are bringing back Stanley Cup-winning coach Ken Hitchcock, hoping to turn themselves back into a championship contender.
Hitchcock is returning to Dallas and will be named coach at a news conference Thursday. A person with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed the hire to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Hitchcock, 65, won the Cup with Dallas in 1999, coaching there for parts of seven seasons from 1995-96 through 2001-02. He has since coached the Flyers, Blue Jackets and Blues.
Hitchcock was fired as Blues coach in February and replaced by Mike Yeo. Even before that, St. Louis had announced it was Hitchcock’s final season there and that Yeo would take over.
Hitchcock replaces Lindy Ruff, who was fired Monday after four seasons in Dallas. The Stars missed the playoffs this year after winning the Central Division last season.
The Edmonton native is fourth on the NHL’s all-time wins list, one shy of legendary New York Islanders coach Al Arbour for third. Hitchcock can now pass Arbour back with the team that he led to its only title in franchise history. In all, Hitchcock has 781 wins, 474 losses, 88 ties and 111 overtime or shootout losses in 1,454 regular-season games. In addition to the Cup in 1999, he led the Stars to the final in 2000.
Dallas considered former Panthers coach Gerard Gallant and others for its vacancy but went with the affable Hitchcock, whose recipe for success has worked in several eras of hockey.
ISLANDERS: Doug Weight is returning as coach next season.
Weight led the Islanders within one point of a playoff spot after taking over a last-place team on an interim basis in January. The team announced Wednesday he was named to the position on a permanent basis.
New York went 24-12-4 under Weight after he replaced the fired Jack Capuano on Jan. 17 when the Islanders were last in the Eastern Conference at 17-17-8. They responded to Weight, moving into a wild-card spot in the closing weeks before a three-game losing streak knocked them out of the position.
The Islanders won six straight to close the season, finishing one point back of Toronto.
Before Sunday’s season finale, Weight, who also is assistant general manager, said he wasn’t sure if he wanted to return as coach but hoped to have the situation resolved quickly.
JAROME IGINLA feels rejuvenated after his late-season trade to the Los Angeles Kings, and would like to play in the NHL again next season, the 39-year-old forward said in a conference call Wednesday.
Los Angeles acquired the 20-year veteran on March 1 to aid in its ultimately fruitless playoff push. Iginla had six goals and three assists in 19 games for the Kings, his fifth NHL franchise.