What are your odds of the assistant coaches sticking around next season? I like Rick Wilson. Would be bummed to see him leave again.
Heika: Yeah, I like him too. A lot will depend on who is coach. Rick has some say in this, as well, as he could decide to retire. It will be an interesting couple of months ahead.
Did people in the organization find Hitch’s one and done season surprising or did they see it coming?
Heika: I think as recently as early March, everyone thought the team would make the playoffs, and then the length of their playoff run would go a long way in determining Hitch’s future with the team. The collapse was hard on everyone, so when the retirement was announced, I don’t think too many people were surprised.
What’s going to be the toughest part of Hitchcock’s coaching game to replace? What did he have that no other coach does?
Heika: I’m writing that right now. Hitch was a nagger who demanded his players take care of the details of the game. That’s a hard job, especially in today’s NHL, where players often are treated with kid gloves.
But if you look at some of the better programs in sports – Patriots, Alabama, Spurs – players actually seem to love the discipline and love being pushed.Tyler Seguin loved it this year, so did John Klingberg. It can make you a better player.
Whatever the new coach wants, he needs to continue the demand for details that Hitchcock has started.
How much do you think a third new coach in three seasons is going to hinder/help this team?
Heika: In a perfect world, they would have found their “longtime” head coach last summer and been in the first year of his playoff round right now. As it is, they have to adjust.
The hope is they use some of what was built this year to take the next step. The NHL is showing that a turnaround can occur in one year. Colorado is doing it, New Jersey is doing it, Vegas is doing it as an expansion team. You can fix alot in one year, and the Stars are hoping they are in position to do that.
There are people out there who say that coming in as coach of the Stars is a peach job, because this team is positioned to win.