Recently minted Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk spent about a millisecond before putting his stamp on the franchise, firing Coach Dave Tippett as TSN first reported today.
Tippett gets the boot after six seasons behind the Stars bench and after a season in which the great vibes from Dallas's playoff run in 2008 were swallowed up by injuries, inconsistency in goal and one very, uh, "sloppy" case of insubordination.
When Nieuwendyk was given the helm, Tippett hadn't received a guarantee he'd be back next season from the GM or owner Tom Hicks. From the Star-Telegram:
One thing that Tippett made certain is that he would like to return. He views the Stars as being able to quickly rebound from last season's playoff miss. A combination of key injuries, combined with the Sean Avery distraction factor, sank the Stars' hopes."There's a lot of potential in this group," Tippett said. "I'd like to be around to see where that potential goes."
Well, so much for that. TSN reported that the Stars may already have a candidate in mind for Tippett's successor:
While no successor has been named, sources say that the Stars have asked for permission to talk to former Los Angeles Kings coach Marc Crawford, who remains under contract to the Kings. It's not clear at this point whether Crawford has been hired to take Tippet's place or is merely a candidate.
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Crawford taking on this roster is actually an intriguing notion. There's a good mix of vets and newbies, and given the right mix Crawford can win in Dallas. But that's getting ahead of ourselves. As Fire & Ice pointed out today in regards to the New Jersey Devils vacancy, there are nearly two dozen options for any open job. (Not for nothing, but Nieuwendyk won a Stanley Cup with Guy Carbonneau.)
As for Tippett, who had two years left on his contract: So long to an underrated coach. As Jim Reeves wrote for McClatchy, the guy behind the pine was the least of the new GM's worries when it came to getting Dallas back into contention. Now, Nieuwendyk's given himself a critical test at the dawn of his managerial career. He had better pass it.
(UPDATE: From blogger Big D Hockey comes something that might be majority opinion for Dallas fans: "I think the coaching change, was a change-for-change's-sake.")