A regular topic of discussion that pops up in the comments section is whether or not Ken Hitchcock is a great coach in the modern NHL. But regardless of how you feel about the Dallas Stars’ head coach, there’s no denying that he has cemented himself as one of the best in history over his lengthy career.
Hitchcock earned his 800th career win two nights ago with a 4-0 Stars victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Ken Hitchcock earned all those wins with four different teams (five different tenures), and it’s a testament to his coaching ability that he found success with all of them:
"The fact he has been able to take over different teams and have success, it speaks volumes not only to his ability to coach, but also to the fact this has to be a true passion for him," said Devils coach John Hynes. "This is something he really loves to do to be that good at it for that long."
To put things into perspective, only two other coaches in NHL history have managed 800 wins: the legendary Scotty Bowman and Blackhawk’s head coach Joel Quenneville. So it’s not exactly an easy task; as assistant coach Rick Wilson puts it:
"I think what's really clear is the 800 wins and all of his games coaching have all been built one day at a time," Wilson said. "He did this one practice at a time, one game at a time, one day at a time. He attacks every day like it's a playoff game.
So again, regardless of how you feel about Hitchcock as a coach right now, let’s take the time to respect the career of one of the all time greats.
You can read more in Mike Heika’s piece here.
It’s always nice when the Stars beat the Blackhawks, so let’s just relish in the moment a bit longer:
It may be obvious, but Thursday’s game proved that the best way to win hockey games is to have your elite players be, well, elite. [SportsDay DFW]
Also from Stepneski: Friday’s pratice notes:
Tonight the Stars will honor the franchise’s first draft pick in Texas: Todd Harvey. Scott Burnside sat down to interview the honoree. [NHL]
Sean Shapiro discusses Jamie Oleksiak, the return of Marc Methot, and more in his mailbag. [The Upset]
For some reason the team only has it on Facebook, but the Stars put together a nice video on Alexander Radulov’s career:
From his beginnings in Russia to his arrival in Dallas, @RADUL22 has had quite the career so far. Our latest 'The Franchise' by @mrcooper focuses on the Russian superstar.— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) December 22, 2017
WATCH: https://t.co/DR9zLmnlWw pic.twitter.com/A6bT0xNsF9
Speaking of Radulov, he’s been worth every penny the Stars have given him, writes Franklin Steele. [FanRag Sports]
Around the League
Another quiet night in the NHL yesterday (I feel that happens when I write Links a lot...), with only four games. The Minnesota Wild, the lone central team playing, blew a third period lead to the Florida Panthers, losing 4-2. [Hockey Wilderness]
In case I didn’t give y’all enough to comment about with Hitchcock, here’s another exercise for you:
Which rook takes the cake? pic.twitter.com/55im0l5X20— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) December 22, 2017
(Hint: there is no wrong answer. Only answers that aren’t as right as others.)
Should the NHL play games on Christmas Eve and/or Day? Greg Wyshnyski and Emily Kaplan debate: [ESPN]
I believe in the “Sophomore Slump” as much as the “Madden Curse” (it happens, but it’s coincidence, not fate), so this makes me happy:
Not everybody is buying into the Vegas hype; despite their record, Ryan Lambert still doesn’t believe in the Golden Knights:
Only five players have broken the 100 point barrier in the past six seasons. Guess how many are on pace to break it this year? [NBC Sports]
Nikita Kucherov leads the pack, on pace to score 120 (which hasn’t been done so since Sidney Corsby did it in the 06-07 season). Needless to say, Kucherov’s been pretty darn impressive. [The Hockey News]
I know he plays for the division rival that we’re playing tonight, but come on: if you don’t love P.K. Subban, there’s something wrong with you.
It's holiday surprise year four, and I - or shall I say 'Eddie' - is back for much more! A big thank you to @rjosi90 @ChefAntonioPark @PredsNHL @HopitalChildren and all of the other friends who helped make this year happen!! Enjoy folks, and happy holidays!! pic.twitter.com/2sOIvI6dRx— P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) December 22, 2017