The Dallas Stars have fired head coach Glen Gulutzan after he failed to guide the Dallas Stars to the playoffs in both of his year’s behind the bench.
Gulutzan was hired by former GM Joe Nieuwendyk and spent the past two seasons coaching the Stars to a combined record of 64-57-9. But a positive win/loss record couldn’t translate into a playoff berth and after Nieuwendyk was sent packing just over two weeks ago, many doubted that Gulutzan would be around to see next season.
For the record, the Stars have missed the playoffs for five straight seasons, four of those under Nieuwendyk’s watchful eye. When he was shown the door and replaced by new GM Jim Nill, Gulutzan clearly didn’t fit into the new plans that Nill has for the Stars.
A once proud franchise, the Stars have struggled to find that high level of competition that made them a force in the Western Conference. A complete housecleaning was needed for an organization that is used to winning and it further reinforces the fact that coaches are hired to be fired.
Once could argue that the epic fail of the Stars lately lays on Nieuwendyk’s shoulders and not Gulutzan. The former playoff MVP went through two coaches in a short span, first Dave Tippett then Gulutzan and he never got the team heading in the right direction despite staying in playoff contention late in the season, only to stumble during crucial times.
Free-agents were brought in and major trades were made this season by Nieuwendyk, signalling that major changes were necessary to right the ship in Dallas. Captain and long-time Star Brendan Morrow was dealt to the Penguins. Derek Roy was sent packing to Vancouver and Jaromir Jagr, who has one year left on his contract was traded to Boston.
But Nieuwendyk won’t be around to see the fruits of his labor and whether or not he made the right decisions. Gulutzan may be the victim of circumstance in this case and maybe Nill wants a blank slate so he can choose his own coach moving forward.
Further failure won’t sit well with the Stars owners meaning Nill will have a short window of opportunity to help get the Stars back to the promised land. Without it, Nieuwendyk won’t be the only calling Big D his former home.
No word yet on who Nill is considering for the vacant job but as the rumors circulate, we’ll keep you covered right here at Too Many Men.