“We can’t hang our heads and roll our shoulders,” Hitchcock said at a news conference Thursday at Nationwide Arena. “We’ve got to strut, and we’re going to start doing it tomorrow.”
Hitchcock, the team’s fifth coach in six years, was referring to Friday’s game against Philadelphia. The Flyers fired Hitchcock on Oct. 22, and he said the return will be emotionally difficult.
“When I was on the plane flying here, I felt like, man, I’m in the Twilight Zone. I hope the players have a lot better day than I’ll have tomorrow,” he said. “It’s going to be a tough day.”
Hitchcock declined to say if he’d make any immediate lineup changes, saying he needs more time to evaluate his players.
Team president and general manager Doug MacLean announced Hitchcock’s hiring Wednesday shortly before the team’s 4-3 shootout loss to St. Louis. It was the Blue Jackets’ seventh consecutive defeat, leaving them with a 5-13-1-1 record.