Ken Hitchcock Out, Now the Dallas Stars Enter the Jim Montgomery Era

The Dallas Stars introduce a new coach. Jim Montgomery is charged with getting this team back to success and postseason play. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
Shucks & Pucks with Happy Hour Oysters! Monday – Friday from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Brought to you by: Big Shucks

By Stephen Elliott

For the third time in as many seasons, the Dallas Stars will have a new face behind the bench. The Dallas Stars hired Jim Montgomery to be the club’s head coach.

The news comes after Ken Hitchcock made the surprising decision to retire and move to a front office position with the organization. Now with Hitch as an advisor, it was time for him and Jim Nill to find a suitable replacement.

In steps Jim Montgomery. The former University of Denver head coach was successful in the NCAA. His 125 wins in his five years is the second most in that span. He secured the school’s first National Championship in 12 years while taking them to multiple Frozen Four. Montgomery talked about transitioning his collegiate success into the NHL. 

“When you have had success, you have to bring what’s behind that success with you and then you have to be smart enough to adjust,” Montgomery said in his introductory press conference. “I definitely need to look at everything but I think the philosophy behind the numbers is sound.”

Montgomery built his teams at Denver as an aggressive, yet discipline team. His teams averaged over 50 hits per game while not taking many penalties. Much in the way of Hitch, Montgomery’s teams bring that hard-nosed, old school brand of hockey that demands players to play both ways equally on offense and defense.

Along with that comes his fundamental keys to success. He’s got a lucky number seven of them.

If you are looking for NHL coaching experience, this hire does not excite you. Montgomery will become the fifth coach ever to leave the college ranks straight to a head coaching job in the NHL. Dave Hakstol, head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers and formerly of the University of North Dakota, was the latest and is currently still with the team.

Montgomery’s has no prior NHL coaching experience but he is familiar with the league. He played 122 games in the NHL with five different teams, including the Dallas Stars.

But the Stars organization and fans do not get too caught up in past experiences as much as they want to see results now. They have a superstar that could be on his way out very soon as Tyler Seguin enters his last year on his contract. A monumental end season collapse will hang over like a cloud this offseason as management tries to ensure that never happens again.

Most importantly, Jim Nill replacing yet another coach will put the bullseye squarely on him if it does not pan out. The general manage enters his sixth offseason with the Stars and while he has made splash moves, they has been very little team success to show for it. 

Montgomery and Nill will feel the pressure to rewrite the playoff script of the past years past. Two playoff trips with one series win for the Stars in the past decade. That will have to change and it will have to change quick.