Former Dallas Stars and current St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock knows current Stars coach Lindy Ruff quite well.
In 1999, when the Stars won the Stanley Cup, it was Hitchcock on the Stars’ bench coaching across from Ruff, who coached the Buffalo Sabres at the time. That series wasn’t the foundation of a lasting friendship as you might guess, but from there, they both coached the Canadian Olympic team and some kind of bond was formed.
“We had a rough start with the Stanley Cup Final there and smoothed it over,” Hitchcock said, per the Dallas Morning News. “We became good friends through two Olympic games being roommates with a guy for two and a half weeks, you get to know a lot about a guy.”
So why does Hitchcock believe Ruff has had success in Dallas?
In a word, balance.
“For me, Lindy's always been more of a risk-taker,” Hitchcock said. “His teams in Buffalo, they played with a high level of risk. They were really almost hybrid teams. And then obviously you learn over time to coach through balance. That's why he's had success in Dallas. He's got the team playing through significant balance. I think we've both learned from each other. We had a lot of dialogue and a lot of debate under a lot of very stressful pressure situations. I thought both of us leaned on each other pretty hard to help Team Canada through stuff.”