Blues hire Muller as assistant coach

News-DemocratMay 13, 2014 

Former Carolina Hurricanes head coach and NHL standout Kirk Muller was hired Tuesday as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues.

Muller won't need many formal introductions. The former Dallas Stars forward is a past teammate of current Blues Brenden Morrow and Steve Ott and was once on the same line with Hall of Famers Brett Hull and Mike Modano in Dallas.

Muller also played under Blues coach Ken Hitchcock and Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong when both were with the Stars. In addition, Muller was a Dallas teammate of Blues pro scout Rob DiMaio.

Muller was hired less than a week after being fired as the head coach of the Hurricanes.

"I flew in and met with (the Blues) and it just felt like a great fit with what Hitch was looking for in terms of my role," Muller said. "He said 'Hey, I want to be challenged.' We all know Hitch has his style and his beliefs, but he's such a smart hockey coach that he knows that the game's always evolving and changing.

"Sometimes it's fun to bring someone in from a different place with different ideas."

Muller said at least one of his roles on the staff will be working with the Blues' power play, which went 2-for-29 in the recent first-round playoff loss to Chicago.

"We are excited to add Kirk to our staff," Armstrong said in a statement. "He was a Stanley Cup-winning player, and as a coach, has shown excellent communication skills, and the ability to relate to both young and veteran players."

Muller fills the slot held previously by assistant Gary Agnew, whose contract was not renewed earlier this month along with the contract of Blues goaltending coach Corey Hirsch.

Muller had 357 goals, 959 points and 1,223 penalty minutes in 1,349 games during a 19-year NHL career. He is one of only 27 players in league history with at least 900 points and 1,200 penalty minutes.

Muller played under Hitchcock for parts of three seasons in Dallas from 1999 to 2002.

"Doug was the GM when I was playing there and we built a great relationship," Muller said. "Hitch was the coach, so I had a couple years playing under him and I know his style. A big reason why I decided to come on board without any hesitation was there was a real comfort level of knowing them, but more importantly the respect I have for them.

"They work hard, they're demanding and they're driven. I thought it would be a great honor to be able to work with Hitch on a day-to-day basis."

Muller also served as captain with New Jersey and Montreal, scoring the Stanley Cup-clinching goal for the Canadiens in the 1993 finals.

He is a six-time all-star who reached the 30-goal mark five times.

The 48-year-old Muller was 80-80-27 over parts of the last three seasons as head coach of the Hurricanes. Before that, he had a 17-game run as head coach of the American Hockey League's Milwaukee Admirals and spent five seasons as an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens from 2006 to 2011.

Muller thinks the Blues have a lot in place in terms of talent, personnel and skills.

"The word that I got was that they're a good group that really want to do well," he said. "It's always a new challenge and a new adventure."

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, nsanders@bnd.com or follow him on Twitter: @NormSanders

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