Soon after he was hired as coach of the Dallas Stars on April 13, Ken Hitchcock had lunch with captain Jamie Benn on a hotel patio. It was hot. Really hot.

"Smoking hot," Benn said.

Still, they talked for two hours.

"He's an intelligent man," Benn said. "He definitely knows what he wants and has a game plan. I was very impressed with my first meeting with him."

They kept talking in the offseason via meetings, calls and texts. The hope is that it will help in the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs when the heat is on.

Hitchcock has always burned with intensity and shows no sign of cooling at age 65. He flamed out with the St. Louis Blues last season one win short of tying Al Arbour at 782 for third in NHL history. You get the feeling he has unfinished business.

Wouldn't it be something if, after leading the Stars to the Cup in 1999 in his first NHL job, he bookended his career in the League with another championship in Dallas?

The Stars missed the playoffs last season. But they led the League in goals, won the Western Conference over Hitchcock's Blues and went to seven games in the Western Conference Second Round against Hitchcock's Blues in 2015-16.

The Stars improved the roster in the offseason, adding goaltender Ben Bishop, defenseman Marc Methot, and forwards Martin Hanzal and Alexander Radulov.

The Blues didn't have the Stars' speed and scoring. The Stars didn't have the Blues' team game. Now Hitchcock and the Stars could have both, if they work for it.