Stars to bring back Ken Hitchcock for second stint as coach

Hitchcock led the Stars to back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals appearances nearly two decades ago.

The Dallas Stars have reached the Stanley Cup Finals twice, both times with Ken Hitchcock behind the bench. Now they're reuniting in hopes of rekindling past glory.

The Stars are expected to name Hitchcock as their new coach, The Dallas Morning News reported, saying an official announcement is expected Thursday. He will replace Lindy Ruff, who was fired after Sunday's season finale.

Dallas just missed the playoffs for the seventh time in nine seasons, depths that would have been unthinkable during Hitchcock's first stint behind the bench. He led the Stars to the playoffs in his first six full seasons as an NHL coach beginning in 1996-97, winning the Stanley Cup in 1999 and falling to the Devils in the finals the following season.

Hitchcock, 65, was fired after missing the playoffs in 2001-02 but has been a head coach somewhere all but one season since then, with stints in Philadelphia, Columbus and St. Louis. The Blues fired him Feb. 1, promoting Mike Yeo to replace him.

Hitchcock's 781 wins are fourth all-time among NHL coaches, and his next victory will tie him with Al Arbour for the No. 3 spot on the list.

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