The Dallas Stars season is over, but the team made news last week firing head coach Glen Gulutzan after two years on the bench. The writing was on the wall when the Stars fired general manager Joe Nieuwendyk and hired Jim Nill to take over and run the team. New GM typically wants to find his guy to coach the team. That was the case here.
While not entirely unexpected, the firing of Gulutzan does seem a little unfair. He had just two years to install his system with the team and this year was a lockout shortened season. Yes the Stars made plenty of news in the offseason by acquiring Jaromir Jagr, Ray Whitney and Derek Roy as well as others and there were expectations that the team would finally make the playoffs and end their four year skid. That ultimately did not happen, but this year was unlike any other with the lockout. Perhaps giving Gulutzan one more year to see what he could have done with this young team would have been the nice thing to do and the right thing to do. Sometimes in sports, that doesn’t happen. Most times in sports that doesn’t happen. Gulutzan should be given a pat on the back for getting the young Stars squad to make a playoff push after trading Jagr and others away. They eventually faded away like a shooting star, but still.
To date, the Stars are head coach-less. No new coach. Doubt this is feasible, but a name to keep in mind may be Mike Madano. Think about that for a second. A hockey great coaching the team he spent almost his entire career with. He’s got a hockey mind. Wayne Gretzky, the greatest hockey player ever, coached the Phoenix Coyotes for a while though he never played for them. Patrick Roy, one of the top goalies every to play the game, recently was named head coach of the Colorado Avalanche. Don’t know if Madano would be interested or if the Stars even want to go down that path, but it would be really interesting to see how that pairing would work out. Being that Nill was with the Red Wings, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him go after an assistant with the Red Wings or someone with ties to the team. We’ll just have to wait and see.
As for the action on the ice, the second round of the NHL playoffs hasn’t been quite as exciting as the first round. The home team has won all but one game so far. At this rate, all of the top seeds will win except for the best team left, the Chicago Blackhawks. They are down 2-1 to the Detroit Red Wings, the seven seed in the western conference. For a team that earned a point in 24 straight games to begin the year, this isn’t good. They haven’t had to play through adversity the entire year. Now they have to. It will be interesting to see how they respond.
Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Boston all lead their respective series. When the dust settles on the second round, regardless of who wins, hockey fans are set up for some pretty awesome conference finals.
The hockey playoffs have been good so far. Let’s hope that continues. Who lifts Lord Stanley’s Cup remains to be determined, but we all know it is written in the stars.