(The Sports Xchange) - Interim coach Doug Weight is sticking around for the long-term as New York Islanders head coach.
Weight, a former captain of the team and four-time All-Star, took over with 40 games left in the 2016-17 season. From that point to the end of the regular season, the Islanders posted the best record in the NHL with 24 wins and 52 points.
"Doug has earned this opportunity from the tremendous work he has put in over the past five seasons in our front office and especially from the time he took over as interim Head Coach earlier this season," president and general manager Garth Snow said.
On Weight's watch, the Islanders also led the league in hits and scored the fourth-most goals (120).
The Dallas Stars plan to bring back Ken Hitchcock as their next head coach, according to multiple reports.
The official announcement will be made Thursday, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Hitchcock, who was fired as coach of the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 1, coached Dallas for seven seasons (1996-2002), leading them to their lone Stanley Cup championship in 1999.
Rookie Michael McCarron's high stick caught Pacioretty near the eye during Tuesday's practice, leaving the 28-year-old forward in question for the series opener.
Pacioretty erased any doubt by attending Wednesday morning's optional skate with his teammates.
Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Nikita Zaitsev has been ruled out of Thursday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first-round series versus the host Washington Capitals.
Martin Marincin will draw into the lineup for the first time since March 14 in place of Zaitsev, who sustained an upper-body injury during Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Zaitsev collected four goals and 32 assists while playing in all 82 games this season.
Fellow defenseman Roman Polak returned to practice Wednesday and is expected to play in the series opener after sustaining a lower-body injury in the regular-season finale versus the Blue Jackets.