New Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill joined Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket's "Ticket Sports Saturday" program Saturday afternoon with Stars post-game host and all around great hockey guy Bruce Levine, and the ensuing conversation was illuminating on several fronts.
But mostly on one that's quite prevalent in the Stars' landscape these days: Has a decision been made on the current coaching staff's future with the team?
"No I haven't (made that decision)," Nill told Levine Saturday afternoon. "I'm going to be addressing that during this week some time. I'm going to talk one more time with the coaches and with the staff and it's something we need to look at."
Nill's been busy, having already taken in four or five Texas Stars playoff games in Cedar Park and Oklahoma City, flying back to Detroit to spend time with his family periodically, conducting player exit-interviews and talking with the coaching staff, not to mention initial preparations with the amateur scouting staff for the draft in just six weeks.
Yet the coaching situation is probably the biggest thing on this team's plate right now, and it's a decision Nill, Gaglardi and others are struggling with.
"It's tough," Nill continued. "This is the NHL and anyone who's in the NHL - They're good people. I know as fans they sit back and say 'this guy's doing a good job', 'this guy's doing a bad job', whatever... In the end these guys are 30 of the best people in that position in the world."
Did Gulutzan inherit a mix of players that just didn't work? A leadership core that was malfunctioning? Were the stains of the bankruptcy imbroglio too much to overcome? He'd had success everywhere he coached before Dallas, and may have substantial success in the future, but is he the right fit at this critical juncture?
It's a decision most of us are glad we don't have to make.
"We just need to sit down and (ask) 'Is this staff the right people for this team at this time?' and that's probably the biggest decision we have to make," Nill admitted.
Will he be making the decision by himself, Ticket Sports Saturday implored?
"I haven't been with the team for the last couple of years. I'm coming in as an outsider. There are people who have been with the team that know what's going on in the dressing room so...In the end I have to make that call but I'm making sure I'm reaching out to people who have a good feel for situation and we'll go from there."
Which people? Gaglardi certainly. Jim Lites, sure. What of Bob Gainey and Mark Recchi? Were those constructs of the Joe Nieuwendyk era, now fading? We may find out in the weeks to come. Nill may welcome that kind of support but the guess is he came to Dallas to run his own show.
When pressed for a timeline he did not hesitate.
"It's going to be early next week some time it's going to happen," Nill said when asked for a date to keep clear on the calendar, adding that he would be in Oklahoma City for the Texas Stars game last night (Monday) and then dealing with this issue the day after back in Frisco.
He did not deny that a "decision" was forthcoming, but Gulutzan's lack of contract for 2013-2014 would necessitate action even if they decide to keep him on, so certainly there will likely be "news" of some kind in the near future.
With the expiration of Gulutzan's contract not technically coming until sometime in June (?) there could be more waiting while the Stars feel out the landscape as teams drop out of the playoff race. Will Vancouver make a change? Will Minnesota? Will Montreal? How close are the Avalanche to finding someone? It will all fit together in the end.
Stay tuned to DBD as always for the latest.
What say you? Does the talk of a decision being made this week speak of a pending announcement of change, or will the relatively dry market of experienced coaches dictate furthering the young team's growth with its young head coach?