ST. LOUIS — Ken Hitchcock passed Al Arbour for third on the NHL’s all-time coaching wins list early this season and it prompted some fond memories from the Dallas Stars coach.
Hitchcock and Arbour barely passed any time together in the NHL — Hitchcock’s first pro job was as a Flyers assistant from 1990-93, the final three seasons of Arbour’s tenure with the Isles, but Hitchcock always appreciated the time Arbour had for him.
“Scotty (Bowman) was above the fray. Just coaching against him was intimidating, he had so many accolades. Al felt like, when you went down and walked by his door, he wanted to talk to you, he wanted to visit,” said Hitchcock, who recorded his 790th career win on Friday night against the Islanders. “He was a regular guy, a blue-collar guy that made himself into a great hockey coach. Everybody felt comfortable.”
Hitchcock became friends with Arbour after the Isles legend retired.
“The other thing for me was I knew a lot of the guys that played for Al,” Hitchcock said. “I watched them play junior, some were good friends, so every summer I’d hear the Al stories. Without knowing him personally until then end, I felt like I knew him. I felt comfortable. So I’d walk by there, especially in the ‘90s, we’d just sit and talk. We’d spend 20-25 minutes talking. I just felt comfortable with him.”
Seidenberg, Pelech in on defense
Doug Weight changed out his third defense pair from Friday, sitting Thomas Hickey and Ryan Pulock. Adam Pelech made his return after missing the last four games with an injury and Dennis Seidenberg also returned.
Pulock had played the past six games, though without a point in the last five and worse for Weight, no shots on goal in two of the last three games.
“A game like that yesterday, there’s no easy guys to take out,” Weight said. “Ryan, he’s got to shoot the puck when he gets a chance, when we’re down 4-0 we have to get physical as a group. He’s in the same process as Josh (Ho-Sang), just at a different position. He had a really good 10 days and he’s out tonight. We’ll go from there.”