By Martin Iheke
The offseason continues to be a busy one for your Dallas Stars as new general manager Jim Nill went ahead and relieved Glen Gulutzan from his duties as head coach, yesterday. Assistant coach Paul Jerrard was let go as well. Gulutzan went 64-57-9 in his two seasons with the Stars, but it was not good enough. “They are both quality coaches and men, but we have decided to go in a different direction with our coaching staff and we wish them well in their next endeavors,” Nill said in a statement according to espndallas.com. Nill also stated that the results have not been there meaning the team had not made the playoffs in the two years Gulutzan was the head coach. The team was in contention to make the playoffs going into the last week of the last two seasons only to fall apart and lose the last five games.
The move to fire Gulutzan is really not a surprise considering the circumstances with the new GM in place and the team’s inability to finish the season strong. Anytime a new general manager is hired, he most likely will want to bring in his own head coach and with the way things transpired here under Gulutzan…. this was not a difficult decision. Now comes the hard part for Nill as he has to search for a new head coach. Whether that happens right away or sometime in the next month remains to be seen. The Stars will need someone who can do a better job of getting the most out of the roster that is in place. I would like for that person to have coached and has had success in the NHL. Possible candidates for the position could be Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault if the team decides to fire him. Also, Dave Tippett who coached the Stars from 2002-2009, could be available again if he decides not to return to the Phoenix Coyotes. Or the Stars could hire from within the organization again as Willie Desjardins, who has done a terrific job coaching the Stars farm team and leading them to the best record in the American Hockey League, could get serious consideration.
Hopefully, Nill will take his time to find the right head coach for this team with whatever the options are available. As for Gulutzan, I would not be surprised if he is coaching again in the AHL or becomes an assistant coach for some team in the NHL. He is only 41 and has a lot of years ahead of him in terms of becoming a better head coach with more experience. Unfortunately at the Stars’ expense, that experience was lacking at times.