Dallas Stars: Breaking Down Ken Hitchcock’s Language

The 2017 preseason is underway and interviews are already quite telling. New Dallas Stars head coach Ken Hitchcock is a veteran bench boss and has displayed his tendency to use typical coaching language. It’s not as straight forward as you might think, though.

The Dallas Stars have to make key decisions about the roster before opening night next month. There have been a few standouts at training camp and in the opening preseason match-up, but it’d be a stretch to say that anything is set in stone.

For newer fans, it can be difficult to keep up with identifying the difference between what a coach says and what it is he actually means.

“The bounces just didn’t go our way.”

When games go awry, it’s common for coaches and players alike to feel disappointed and even embarrassed. Although it’s a general phrase that seems to be a go-to for coaches, it’s fault lies in how vague it actually is.

What is really means is that the team didn’t play well enough to win, but didn’t play poorly enough to justify losing either.

In the preseason this isn’t as prominent, but by the time the Stars are in the thick of their regular season campaign it’ll likely come up a lot.

“We’re taking it one game (or one shift) at a time.”

This will probably be said a lot over the course of the season, especially with a new coaching staff. Hitchcock and the rest of the NHL coaches are trying to get across is that there are a lot of questions that need to be answered, but trying to give solutions all at once would be overwhelming and largely inaccurate.

During the preseason this rings especially true, being that roster spots are being fought for tooth and nail.

“We need to keep it simple.”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard a coach or player say this, I would be sitting on the beach of the island I owned. It seems as if whenever things go wrong for teams – whether it be a string of losses or significant injuries – they say this.

While it kind of makes sense in that the game of hockey can be simplified; it lacks the direction to say exactly what it means. Nonetheless, it’s everywhere and you’re bound to hear it in the near future.

Upside to clichés

Although they’re terribly overused, clichés have their time and place. It’s logical to have language perimeters to provide players and coaches with being that their primary job isn’t to do interviews for professional media and cameras.

However, that doesn’t eliminate how painfully mundane they are. All of these sayings tell nothing about the actual situation of the team and lead to vague quotes regarding bigger issues. Hopefully the Stars will be able to get away from this traditional style of interview responses, but given how badly it could go if they don’t, change shouldn’t be expected.