As expected, now that the Dallas Mavericks week long sports-cry and celebrations are winding to a close, the organization formally announced that Glen Gulutzan will be the 21st head coach of the Dallas Stars.
The terms of the deal are interesting, as the lenders, or Tavares, or Nieuwendyk, or whoever ultimately pulls these kinds of strings would agree only to a two year deal with a third year as a team option. Contrast that with most head coaches who get a three year agreement, a la Marc Crawford, even if the third year will be paid while he presumably does television.
At 39, soon to be 40, Gulutzan will be the second youngest head coach in the league next year behind the Minnesota hire Mike Yeo, who is only 37. Consider Tomas Vincour on the roster next year. Consider Philip Larsen, perhaps. Consider Jamie Benn in a bigger role, and all of it with a newly turned 40 year old head coach. This team is getting younger and it's an odd place for fans who have become used to being told the Stars were one of the older teams in the league for close to a decade.
"I am very excited to hire Glen Gulutzan as head coach of the Dallas Stars," Nieuwendyk said. "Glen is a young, exciting coach who we believe has a bright and long future in the National Hockey League. We were pleased with the leadership he brought our young players at the American League level and strongly believe his coaching strengths will transfer to the NHL. We feel he will bring energy and a winning attitude to our club. I look forward to working with him as we plan for the future of the Dallas Stars."
That planning for the future will presumably begin post-haste with the 2011 NHL Draft upon us one week from tonight and free agency around the corner a week after that.
"I am thrilled to be the head coach of the Dallas Stars," said Gulutzan. "Having worked with the organization over the last two seasons, I am very familiar with our personnel and that will be a big advantage for me. We are a young team with a strong nucleus and I'm very excited about what we can accomplish. I look forward to working with Joe Nieuwendyk and his entire staff to build a hockey club that will win and compete for Stanley Cups."
As Mike Heika points out, bringing up your guy from the AHL is just what teams do these days. Pittsburgh did it, the Capitals did it, the Lightning did it. The Wild are doing it. The Blue Jackets. This is what is done these days. Sports follow trends like that. Joe Nieuwendyk told media on a conference call this morning that he talked to Penguins GM Ray Shero about Bylsma before hiring Gulutzan. The Stars web site alludes to him weighing endorsements from Vincour, Benn, Aaron Gagnon and Brad Lukowich as well. It's not the cheapest hire possible, it's what Nieuwendyk feels is the right thing to do.
Meanwhile it's bitter sweet for our friends in Cedar Park who are rather fond of their first ever head coach. Assistant Coach Paul Jerrard could possibly take over down there. Time will tell.
Welcome to Dallas, Mr. Gulutzan. We'll have more (I hope) from the press conference on Monday.
And remember folks, it's (from the press release): "Gull-it-zen"