Posts tagged ‘Marc Crawford’

October 12, 2010

Power Rankings Round-Up

by Kristine

Hey everyone, welcome back to the weekly Power Ranking Round Up. This is a feature I will be posting once a week, after all the power rankings are released at ESPN, THN, and TSN. Last season this was on Monday or Tuesday so unless the rankings are published on a different day this season, I’m going to stick with Tuesday for my posts. For now, only ESPN has updated their rankings for the start of the season. Normally I would wait to make this post until next week, but their opinion and rank of the Stars is something I want to talk about. So without further ado, let’s kick this off for 2010-11.

Actual rank: 1st in Pacific, 3rd in the West, 7th in the league.
Record: 2-0-0. L10: 2-0-0.

ESPN by Scott Burnside
Stars: 3 this week; 20 last week. “Who knows how long the Stars can stay at this lofty perch, but kudos to coach Marc Crawford for helping his team earn two straight road wins in New Jersey and Long Island out of the gate. Who knows? It may help spur the sale of the team, if nothing else.”
Of Note: Pittsburgh at 27 this week; 7 last week. “A disappointing start at the Consol Energy Center for Pittsburgh after the Penguins dropped back-to-back one-goal games. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has shined at times but looked weak on Montreal’s winning goal Saturday night. Surprising lack of finish for the Pens early on.”
My thoughts: That is not a typo. Burnside really did rank us third in the league this week, only under the Wings (1) and Hurricanes (2).  Just let that sink in for a second. I took a few minutes to scan through all my old PRRU posts and the highest anyone has ranked us since I started in February of 2008 was 6th, and that only happened twice at the end of October 2009. We’ve been ranked in the teens or twenties every other time. I guess being one of five teams to start the season with a 2-0-0 record earns us a little bit of respect. In case you were wondering, the other four are Detroit, Carolina, Toronto, and Edmonton. So a few surprises there. There are also a big surprise on the (shorter) list of teams that started out 0-2-0: Pittsburgh, Anaheim, and Ottawa. I mostly find this notable because I can’t stand the Penguins, and I’m enjoying our spot at the top even more because they get to experience life at the bottom for now. However, personal bias aside, it’s a perfect example of one reason I love hockey: every season is truly a new season. Things can change so much between June and October. Who would have ever predicted we would have 2 wins in a back-to-back road trip to start the season? And who would have predicted the Penguins would drop their first game, not only of the season but also in their new stadium, and to a division rival at that? Probably very few people. But that’s how it’s played out, and it’s a lesson that this season is a fresh start and a chance to get back into the winning tradition we’ve been spoiled to have around here.

THN by Adam Proteau
Stars: 4 this week; n/a last week. “Two road wins to start season is great news, but they’ll need to beat good teams before they’re taken seriously
Of Note: Detroit at 1 this week; n/a last week. “Ageless wonder Nick Lidstrom leads all Wings skaters in average time on ice (24:57)
My thoughts: Well. Detroit is coming up. If we beat them – which will mean three wins in a row for the first time since 08-09 – will we be taken seriously? Or do we have to beat the Penguins, Hawks, Caps, Sharks, etc as well? Something tells me it’s going to take a huge start this season for people to consider the Stars as contenders for the playoffs. After the last few seasons, we have to prove that our 2-0-0 start is not just a fluke – and it’s not just the media that’s skeptical. The fans are, too. I know I’m nervous about Thursday. Win three in a row? With the third being against Detroit? Eek.  Speaking of the dreaded Wings, they have the top spot according to Adam. They have a 2-0-1 record coming into Thursday’s game and have looked pretty on-point so far. Both of their goalies have had pretty good starts – Howard has a .932 sv% in two games and Osgood had a .929 sv% in his one game – and their big names are putting up points early. ll Basically, it’s going to be a good game Thursday night. We’ll be there, applauding Mo’s return and waiting on the edge of our seats for the Stars to give people a reason to take them seriously.

So there we have it. One ranking, one top three spot, one fresh start. If that isn’t a reason for optimism, please find me something that is. That’s it for this week, but if The Hockey News or TSN update their power rankings in the next few days, I’ll update the post to include them. Otherwise, I’ll be back next week. Go Stars!

Update: THN’s rankings are in. I’ve updated the post with them.

November 11, 2009

Power Rankings Round-Up

by Kristine

The big word in the power rankings this week is “goals.” Let’s see why…

Actual rank: 12th in league; 8th in West; 4th in Pacific.
Record: 7-4-6. L10: 4-3-3.

ESPN by Pierre LeBrun
Stars: 13 this week; 13 last week. “Marc Crawford’s group is producing goals: 3.18 per game, eighth in the NHL.
Of Note: Montreal at 19 this week; 18 last week. “Win one, lose one, win one, lose one, win one, lose one. …
My thoughts: The Stars can score… Or can they? They started off the season scoring at least four goals in almost every game, but have scored only two goals in each of their last four games. They’re not quite at the “win one, lose one, win one, lose one” pace the Habs are at (and the Stars were at most of last season), but they will be if they don’t rediscover their offensive prowess. With their next three games on the road – two of which are against Pacific teams – they need to really get their legs moving and hope that more pucks start finding the back of the net.

14 this week; 11 last week. “Goals are suddenly at a premium in Big D, as they’ve managed eight in the last four games, after scoring 21 in the previous five. Key Injuries: LW James Neal (groin).
Of Note: San Jose at 1 this week; 1 last week. “Eight straight games without a regulation loss, the Sharks get to keep top spot for another week and the forecast gets even better now that Joe Pavelski has returned to anchor the second line. Key Injuries: D Rob Blake (shoulder), RW Devin Setoguchi (leg).
My thoughts: See? Even TSN has noticed that our goal scoring has dropped considerably lately. The Sharks are not afraid to get the puck on net, averaging 31.5 SOG/game. However, they’re also allowing 29.3 SOG/game. Maybe the biggest key for this game will be just to get the puck to the net and see what happens. The Stars do love breaking win streaks (remember the first Calgary game this season?) almost as much as they love being the underdogs.

The Hockey News by Ryan Dixon
Stars: 19 this time; 11 last time. “Brad Richards has recorded a point in every game he’s played except two this season.
Of Note: Detroit at 15 this time; 21 last time. “Speaking of banged up teams, Red Wings lose another body as Jason Williams sustains broken leg.
My thoughts: I love when we lose eight places but the comment is something positive. On the opposite side, the Wings jumped up six places but the comment is about an injury. What gives, THN? I think what they mean is “Brad Richards is recording points, but the Stars are not.” I honestly don’t have much to say about dropping so far down except that it doesn’t surprise me. One handful of less-than-stellar games and plenty of people go back to discrediting the Stars. I think they’d be sitting on top the division and people would still be waiting for them to fall.

I guess overall I’m a little frustrated. The Stars are having trouble finiding consistency, which makes it easy to forget that they’re still at a .588 point percentage for the season. Regardless, I get discouraged when I see them losing to teams they should be able to easily beat (ahem, Minnesota), and it seems like the power rankers feel the same way. They moved down 3 at TSN, 8 at THN, and somehow stayed the same at ESPN. They’re also ranked highest at ESPN (13th), and lowest at THN (19th). They play the Sharks and Coyotes before the next rankings come out, which could mean a big jump (if they beat at least one of them) or a big fall (if they lose to both). My bold prediction: They manage a win against the Sharks, but turn around and trip over Tippett’s Yotes.

November 5, 2009

Weekly Picture Fantastic

by Kristine

Welcome to the WPF! This week we’re looking at Halloween weekend up until the Flames game last night.

October 30 was Coach Crow’s 1000th NHL game coached, and the Stars honored him before the puck drop.

We finally got Lehts and Mo back November 4th against the Flames.

I’m not sure why Morrow has a black eye when the last time he fought was… last season after Brown nailed Ribs into the boards?

The most exciting new line we have this season – Swedes and Sudsy.

I have a new love of the Ice Girls for getting our Stars to pose with their pompoms. You can see more Stars with poms here.

November 2, 2009

Weekend Notes and +/-

by Chelsea

Notes (DAL vs FLA):

  • The three game stars, in order: Reinprecht, Wandell, Horton
  • All three of Reinprecht’s goals came while the Morrow-Ribeiro-Benn line was on the ice.
  • The Stars recovered from a 3-0 deficit to force overtime, but were once again unable to score in the shootout.
  • The game was head coach Marc Crawford’s 1000th behind an NHL bench.
  • Ribeiro’s line was a combined -9, while Wandell’s (with Brunnstrom and Sutherby) was a combined +6.
  • Wandell’s line also combined for 2 goals and 4 assists, including Brunnstrom’s first goal this season.
  • James Neal lead the team with 6 hits.
  • Stephane Robidas and Karlis Skrastins each had 5 blocked shots.
  • Conclusion: The Stars are not going to make the playoffs if they continue to play below their ability every time they face the Eastern Conference.

SHR +/- (DAL vs FLA):

Stephane Robidas: three for the goal; +3
Matt Niskanen: two for the assist; +2
Brenden Morrow: two for each assist but minus-one for an overall bad game; +3
Jamie Benn: two for the assist but minus-one for an overall bad game; +1
James Neal: three for the goal; +3
Brian Sutherby: three for the goal and two for the assist; +5
Tom Wandell: two for each assist and one for being the Stars’ best player; +5
Alex Auld: minus-one for a rough outing; -1
Mike Ribeiro: three for the goal but minus-one for an overall bad game; +2
Brad Richards: two for the assist; +2
Fabian Brunnstrom: three for the goal and two for the assist; +5

Notes (DAL @ NSH):

  • The three game stars, in order: Dumont, Hornqvist, Klein
  • Alex Auld played in both back-to-back games due to Marty Turco being out with flu-like symptoms.
  • The Morrow-Ribeiro-Benn line was a combined -6, while the Sutherby-Wandell-Brunnstrom line managed a combined +3.
  • Wandell’s line accounted for half of the Stars’ scoring (1 g, 2a).
  • Wandell also tied for the lead (with Mark Fistric) in blocked shots with 3.
  • Conclusion: The Stars’ power play had the opportunity to put the game away for the second time in two games, but came up short. The top two lines need some rearranging if Dallas wants to get more than 1 out of every 4 available points.  Hopefully the return of Modano and Lehtinen can help stabilize the team while they get back on track.

SHR +/- (DAL @ NSH):

James Neal: two for the assist; +2
Brian Sutherby: three for the goal; +3
Tom Wandell: two for the assist; +2
Steve Ott: three for the goal; +3
Mike Ribeiro: meh; -1
Brad Richards: two for the assist; +2
Fabian Brunnstrom: two for the assist; +2

October 6, 2009

Power Rankings Round-Up

by Kristine

Hockey games that mean something are finally back, and that means so are power rankings that mean basically nothing. I’ll be updating every Tuesday with a look at what the experts think of the Stars, as well as other teams around the league. Let’s see where we rank as the season kicks off…

Actual rank: 19th in league; 9th in West; 3rd in Pacific.
Record: 0-0-1. L10: 0-0-1.

ESPN by Pierre LeBrun
Stars: 25 this week; 26 last week. “The blue line is a concern, but there’s not a lot of money to spend.
Of Note: St Louis at 4 this week; 12 last week. “Can’t wait for that season opener at the Scottrade Center. Just hope the roof doesn’t collapse from all the noise. A great market finally gets a team worth cheering for. Talk about a statement with two season-opening wins in Stockholm over the mighty Red Wings.
My thoughts: If even ESPN is worried about it, you know there’s some cause for concern. A Cup contender needs to have at least one of two things: a strong blueline, or an elite goalie. At this point, we definitely don’t have one and we’re twiddling our thumbs while we wait to see if we have the other. Our young guns on the line are constantly improving, but mistakes happen. When they do, Turco needs to be there as our final defense – and he wasn’t last season. As for the Blues, they have the honor of being the biggest jump this week – from 12th to 4th. They’ve got some very talented offensive players rising through their ranks in TJ Oshie and Patrik Berglund, and they added former Star Darryl Sydor to their blueline. Syd joins fellow former Stars BJ Crombeen and Brad Winchester, who give the Blues some grit. They’re definitely a team to be aware of this season. Finally, it’s interesting to note that this is week 2 of ESPN’s power rankings for this season, and they started the Stars at 26th. Wonder where we’ll be ranked this time next month?

The Hockey News by Ryan Dixon
Stars: 18 this week; n/a last week. “Wonder what James Neal’s high-end output is; 35 goals, maybe?
Of Note: L.A. Kings at 27 this week; n/a last week. “Super sophomore Drew Doughty scores two points, but is a minus-2 in opening 6-3 loss to Coyotes.”
My thoughts: It’s Neal vs Doughty in the Pacific Division Battle Of The Sophomores, and James Neal is winning. His two goals and even plus/minus bests Doughty’s goal, assist, and -2 plus/minus. On Saturday, Neal reminded us why we loved him as a rookie: he missed an easy open net, banged a few bodies into the boards, and nailed an impossible shot that went straight to the back of the net. Twice. We saw the same thing last season. He gets frustrated and uses it as motivation. With that kind of attitude, 35 goals does seem like a reasonable thing to aim for (pun barely intended). As for Doughty and the Kings, here’s hoping they’re not quite the Cup contender the buzz made them out to be during pre-season.

Yahoo by Ross McKeon
Stars: 17 this week; n/a  last week. “Firing Dave Tippett was a big mistake. Dallas’ loss is Phoenix’s gain. And wouldn’t the Stars be shocked to have the Coyotes finish ahead of them? Just might happen. Either way, Dallas isn’t going to make the top eight in the West for the second straight year. And it’ll be Marty Turco’s last season in Big D.
Of Note: Phoenix at 20 this week; n/a last week. “Watch out here. Everyone thinks the disaster off the ice will make the Coyotes an easy mark. Not so. Dave Tippett is a solid coach who knows the Pacific Division very well. Phoenix is going to surprise even if they don’t finish in the top eight.
My thoughts: Yahoo is new to my round-ups this season. I both agree and disagree with them on their assessment of the Stars. I do think this may well be Turco’s last year – unless he is a maker of miracles and plays Vezina-level hockey all season – but I’m optimistic enough to believe we’ll finish in the top eight. And the reason I believe that is because I think firing Tippett was exactly the right move. It’s hard to judge with just one regular season game under our belts, but so far the Stars seem motivated and cohesive under Crawford. They’re working harder than they have in years, and I think it’ll pay off. As for Phoenix, maybe Tippett is their gain, but Tippett needs to take a more open approach to developing his youth than he ever did in Dallas. Phoenix is a young team, and Tipp prefers to coach older, more experienced players. It remains to be seen if that will be a problem there like it was here. Either way, Phoenix vs Dallas might become a bigger rivalry now than it has been in the past.

So let’s see here. Yahoo has us highest, at 17th. THN has us at 18th, and ESPN has us at a lowly 25th. Clearly, the expectations going into this season are low, at least from the media. I can’t say I’m too torn up about this; the Stars love being the underdogs, and this gives them a chance to blow some socks off. And if they come out of the gate flailing instead of swinging, nobody will be disappointed. Really, it’s a win-win (but fingers crossed for swinging).

At time of publication, Andrew’s and TSN had yet to update their power rankings. I’ll update this post with them as they come out.

October 4, 2009

Game Review – 10/03/09 (DAL vs NSH)

by Chelsea

Game Reviews are back! Because games are back! Because the season has started! Finally!


The Stars opened their season at home against the Nashville Predators and the Opening Night roster held a few surprises, especially for anyone who hadn’t been keeping up with training camp. Two rookies made the final cut: Jamie Benn, playing RW with Morrow and Ribeiro, and Tom Wandell, centering the fourth line with Barch and Brunnstrom. Mark Fistric, expected to finally get his first full year in the NHL, was a healthy scratch for newcomer Jeff Woywitka. Jere Lehtinen (injured) and Brian Sutherby (healthy scratch) did not play either.

Anyone that made it to both the Battle of the Stars and Opening Night might have noticed that the Texas Stars put on a better show when announcing the players, complete with flares and flames. The Dallas Stars just… stuck their Ice Girls on the ice and had them wave their poms around. Woo.

Anyway, eventually the puck dropped and the Predators started playing. The Stars found themselves on the PK and then scored on before two minutes had even passed, at which point it seemed to sink in that the season had started and it was time to play hockey.

Something worth noting: Wandell featured on the first PK unit for most of the night, and looked very good. His unit (with Modano, Robidas, and Skrastins) seemed to push the play to the perimeter and force the Predators into puck battles, while the second/third one (with Ott and Petersen) allowed more plays to develop before managing to break them up.

Though they outshot (14-9) Nashville and were handed a full minute of 5-on-3, the Stars were unable to capitalize and left the first period down 1-0.

Perhaps the most important play of the game for the Stars came about five minutes into the second period, when Sullivan threw the puck past a very floppy Marty Turco to put the Predators up 2-0.

This is important because this was the point last season when the Stars tended to crumble. Turco didn’t look sharp, they had missed out on a few golden opportunities (Ribeiro hit the post only a minute earlier on a chance to tie it), and nothing seemed to be going past Ellis.

Maybe it was having Morrow back, or because it was the first game of the season, or thanks to Crawford’s aggressive system, but Dallas responded admirably to the challenge. With half a game left to play, they dug in and put on the pressure.

Nashville’s Patric Hornqvist got a shot off at 15:46 from 57 feet out. In the following four minutes, the Stars limited the Predators to a single missed shot, while their only two shots were blocked  and never reached Ellis. It was Brunnstrom, flying down the wing, who finally cracked the defense and got a shot on net at 19:48 in the second. The rebound popped out in front of the net to James Neal, who scored in an Orr-like fashion with only 10 seconds left.

The third period started with the Stars racking up takeaways, shots on goal, and hits. Morrow drew a hi-sticking penalty 3:45, and it was during the following power play that the Dallas pressure finally paid off.

Only 15 seconds into the PK, Ellis attempted to clear the puck up the center of the ice. Eriksson, ever attentive, flew through the slot and nearly took it right off his stick. In his hurry to get it out of danger, Ellis flung the puck straight to Neal, who did not hesitate to tie the game.

For the next 8-9 minutes, Ellis made up for his fumble by pulling his team through two more Stars PPs and holding the tie while Dallas pushed for the win. It wasn’t until nearly 13 minutes into the third period that the Predators even got another shot on goal.

As overtime neared, the officiating got a little iffy, handing Richards a slashing penalty (really?) at 19:25 in the third.

The Stars hung on until 1:14 in OT, when it was evened out by a hooking call on Martin Erat.

If the call on Richards wasn’t frustrating enough, the officials really blew it in overtime when they managed to rob Neal of hat trick and the Stars of a win. They mistakenly assumed Ellis had the puck and blew the play dead far too quickly. In reality, the puck was free, and Neal had jumped on it and shoveled it into the net.

OT turned into a shootout. Ellis stood strong while Turco got a little floppy, Crawford put out some questionable shooters (injured Modano and not-so-great-at-shootouts Eriksson over Morrow, Benn, or Ott?), and the Predators skated away with the extra point.


  • The three game stars, in order: Ellis, Arnott, Neal
  • The Stars outshot the Predators 40-26. Brad Richards led the team with 8 SOG.
  • Dallas had an impressive 20 takeaways, compared to Nashville’s 7. The only skaters not credited with at least one were Barch, Neal, Ott, and Richards. Matt Niskanen led the team with 4.
  • Fabian Brunnstrom looked pretty good. He was the only player to end up a +1 and assisted on Neal’s first goal.
  • Surprisingly, Loui Eriksson ended up with no points and the only player to be a -1.
  • Morrow looked a little rusty and Benn looked a little disoriented at times (including one point where he couldn’t find the puck despite it being right at his feet), but overall that line was solid.
  • The Stars struggled on faceoffs, only winning 30 out of 67.
  • Stephane Robidas caught J.P. Dumont with his head down in the first period with a hit that removed him from the game entirely. However, the Tennessean is reporting that he was not seriously injured.
  • Conclusion: We expected the Stars to spend a few games adjusting to Crawford’s new system, breaking old habits and implementing new ones. It really only took them about half a period before they started to click as a team, and overall the effort was really impressive. There were some impressive, well-planned rushes that were a nice change from Tippett’s dump and (try to) chase.

SHR +/-:

Stephane Robidas: one for the hit on J.P. Dumont and one for showing so much concern when he realized he was hurt; +2
Matt Niskanen: one each for confidence and competence and one for holding his own on special teams; +3
Trevor Daley: one for utilizing his speed well; +1
Mike Modano: one pity point for getting hurt already; +1
Brenden Morrow: one big happy WELCOME BACK! point; +1
Jamie Benn: one congrats! you’re playing with big kids now! point; +1
James Neal: three for each goal, one for his lost hat trick, and one for reminding us how awesome he is; +8
Loui Eriksson: one for being good in puck battles, one for forcing the Ellis turnover, but minus-one for being the only Stars player to finish a -1; +1
Tom Wandell: one for being great on the PK and one for the SH breakaway with Skrastins; +2
Steve Ott: one for not gooning it up; +1
Alex Auld: one for getting all excited during the shootout; +1
Marty Turco: two for looking considerably better than last season but minus-one for losing it towards the end of the shootout; +1
Karlis Skrastins: one for pleasantly surprising us and one for the SH breakaway with Wandell; +2
Mike Ribeiro: one for scoring in the shootout; +1
Brad Richards: two for the assist, one for leading in shots with 8, and one for having hair; +4
Fabian Brunnstrom: two for the assist and one for being the only player to end with a +1; +3

September 9, 2009

No Pressure?

by Kristine

When people are discussing what went wrong with the Stars in 2008-2009, a lot of them will say that they crumbled under the pressure of a highly successful playoff run. A lot of people will say that the expectations put on them by the media at the start of the 08-09 season were just too much.

Thank goodness there’s none of that pesky pressure on the team as they gear up for the 2009-2010 season. Oh, wait…

Pretty much every part of this team and their game has pressure on it. First and foremost, they will be expected to hit the ice with their skates on fire. There has been plenty of criticism based on the slow start they got off to last season. We’re the first to admit that if they had started on a good note, their troubles with injuries wouldn’t have hit nearly as hard. This season, getting a strong start and winning some games immediately is imperative.

Then there’s the team itself; the individual players that compose it. There are plenty of players for whom 09-10 is a contract year, and several of them are Olympic hopefuls. We’ll be putting a post up later featuring a look at who’s who in training camp that goes into more detail on individual expectations, so I won’t delve too deep into it here. Suffice it to say, the outside pressure will be nothing compared to the pressure the players will be putting on themselves.

This is especially true for Captain Brenden Morrow, who will be making his triumphant return from last year’s season-ending torn ACL. He’s going to be focused and ready to motivate his troops. He did his best to lead the team last season, but his on-ice influence is more important than anyone realized. He needs to bring his A-game on the ice and his best leadership skills off it.

I imagine Tom Hicks is also feeling some pressure. He needs to prove that he made the right decision in bringing in Joe Nieuwendyk as the new GM, and Nieuwendyk needs to prove that he made the right decision in firing Dave Tippett in favor of Marc Crawford. The upper management change is the biggest shake-up of the off-season, and nobody is sure what to expect. If the Stars have a great 09-10 campaign, it will be easy to blame 08-09 on the management. If they don’t have such a great season, it could be back to the drawing board for Hicks.

Overall, it would be a mistake to think that there is no pressure on the Dallas Stars this season. It’s of a different kind, certainly. Prior to 08-09, all the expectations placed on the team were media-driven. Now, it’s an internal pressure. The Stars have as much to prove this year as they did last year – if not more. The difference is that this year, they have to prove it to themselves.

July 27, 2009

SHR’s Plan For Sydor’s Employment

by Chelsea

(as illustrated by Chelsea)

So what we have here is this: Sydor is sitting at home by the phone, bummed because he’s unemployed and because somebody sawed off the front leg of his table. In the meantime, Marc Crawford is standing at his unnecessarily large desk, angry because Rick Wilson is fleeing to Tampa Bay. So we are left without a defensive coach for the 09-10 Stars. So Syd’s phone rings, but since it’s been so long since free agency started, it no longer makes him hopeful or excited to hear the phone. It simply startles him. Turns out it’s Crawford on the other end. He’s still yelling because we hear he does that a lot, but he has good news! Syd is the new defensive coach of the Stars! Syd, who did not know he had even retired yet, accepts the offer because a job is a job after all. Thus, he is Happy Employed Coach Syd. Clearly, this needs to actually happen. (We drew a cartoon of Newy becoming GM way back in November, and that eventually came true. So might as well give it a shot for this! And yes, we do think this would be a good idea. Everyone has heard how Syd motivates the kiddos and how we brought him back to be a voice in the locker room. We think he’d make a good coach, and Dallas seems to be a good fit for him in general.)

June 11, 2009

Why Crawford Is Not Sean Avery

by Chelsea

Stars fans, remember that feeling you got last summer? First the news leaked… Sean Avery, coming to Dallas? Then, it became official. There was hesitation. It just looked like a bad idea. It felt like a bad idea. Then the press conference. Is he really wearing that? Is this what we’re getting into? You tried to have faith in your GMs, to reserve judgement.

The firing of Tippett and immediate hiring of Crawford does feel a little bit like that. It’s hard to tell why, of all the available coaches, Nieuwendyk would pick him. There’s concern that this is just change for change’s sake.

My main concern, though, was this:

Players like to play in Dallas. When Morrison and Sutherby came over from Anaheim, they both commented on how nice it was to be able to play their game. You can see it on the ice, too, that players are given the freedom to play their own style within the system. Ott is the agitator, Morrow is the heart, Ribeiro is the Valedictorian of Awesome School. Richards is the surgeon, Lehtinen is the glue, Turco is the monster that won’t stay in his cave.

Tippett let the team play with passion, with emotion.

An hour ago, reading everything about how this is a terrible move and an absolute downgrade, it seemed the Stars were doomed to slaving away unhappily, doomed for permanent mediocrity now.

Maybe, but probably not.

For one thing, the Stars still have Brenden Morrow, whose personal passion for the game can override just about anything.

For another, the team has an incredible amount of pride. Too much to lay down and let bad coaching (should that be the case) turn them from perennial contenders to basement-dwellers.

Lastly, there is this quote from Crawford out of today’s press conference,

I believe that a team’s identity comes comes from the players and not from the coach. Players win championships and coaches set structure and try to motivate every now and then … I have some notions about the Stars, but the more I get to know them the more I can understand the strengths of the individual players and go about building upon that and make the adjustments needed.

Isn’t that something Tippett was lacking? He didn’t work the system to fit the talents of his players, he just let his players do their own thing within his system. Fun to watch? Usually. Effective? Well, no, actually. Not at all.

I look forward to seeing Tipp set up behind another team’s bench. That said, Dallas has a team with a lot to prove, led by a ridiculously motivated captain. Now they have a coaching staff and GM that want to show the hockey world they were worth taking a chance on.

Expect the Stars to come out blazing in 2009-2010.

June 10, 2009

Tippett Fired, Replaced By Crawford.

by Chelsea

It’s official. Dave Tippett is out, Marc Crawford is in. Lamb is also out as assistant coach, but we don’t know yet about Rick Wilson and Stu Barnes.

Crawford has coached for the Nordiques, Canucks, and LA Kings, with little postseason success (has not seen the playoffs since before the lockout) despite some very strong regular seasons. He also coached the 1998 Canadian Olympic team, leading them to a disappointing fourth-place finish.