Continuing our series on the 'great Dallas Stars coaching search of 2013' today we find ourselves face to face with a couple of familiar individuals in Dave Tippett and Guy Carbonneau.
Neither is considered a likely candidate at this point - most notably because one of them has a contract elsewhere and doesn't appear to be going anywhere - and yet no one knows what Jim Nill is thinking or where he'll look. So we cover the bases. Eight of them to this point, to be exact.
As the Colorado Avalanche forego seemingly even talking to any of the big, qualified names out there in lieu of hiring a franchise great in Patrick Roy, so too must we consider the value of building the future with names from the past.
The Dallas Stars fan has oft been accused of holding on to the past. From the goal song to uniforms, from Joe Nieuwendyk to Bret Hull (and now Mike Modano and Bob Gainey...) the allure of the powerhouse that was is a powerful draw. Every franchise does it to a certain extent, whether it be in the broadcast booth, the bench or the front office.
That being said I don't believe that hiring one of these would signal another stroll down nostalgia lane. The franchise has moved too far down the road. The roster turnover has been too great at last. Anyone that accepts this job will be a steward of the beginning of the Tom Gaglardi era, be it a prosperous beginning or otherwise. Not a reminder of things past.
Carbonneau was an assistant with the Canadiens soon following his retirement from the NHL as a player, then an assistant general manager with the Dallas Stars. Then it was back to the Canadiens as an assistant coach, before being elevated to head coach by Bob Gainey himself.
In his second season with the Canadiens he coached the team to a first place finish in the East and was a finalist for the Jack Adams award as the league's top bench-boss.
For all that he got 66 games worth of leash the following season while the team struggled and was fired by... Bob Gainey.
"There were certain games when I had a real confusion about the overall ... it showed up as effort," Gainey told media following the firing, "but I felt like it was emotional engagement to a game," Gainey said. "Our team [did] not seem to be emotionally engaged."
With Gainey still being employed by the Dallas Stars (as far as we know at this point) it's hard to say how such a point of view could affect the proceedings.
Carbonneau was known as a bit of a grating presence with his players, which would play in direct contrast to what Glen Gulutzan and (a reformed) Mark Crawford did in their times here.
A knock on him was that, as good as he was in dealing with the media, he didn't communicate well with his players.
He grants that one, but said it wasn't what caused the team to start losing or himself to be fired.
"I don't declare that I'm perfect, but I got better," he said. "One reason I hired (assistant coach) Kirk Muller is that I knew I had a problem there.
"It's not that I can't talk, but I'm not the kind of guy that likes to go forward with it. But conversations sometimes go both ways and I got better a it. And I know I'm going to get better."
Local media remarked (in Dallas) that Brenden Morrow's departure opens the door for a Carbonneau return (Morrow is his son-in-law) but word has not leaked that he's being considered by Dallas or anyone else at this point.
Patience has afforded Jim Nill the opportunities to speak with the likes of Alain Vigneault and maybe even Tortorella. Thanks to the Red Wings' collapse against the Blackhawks it's now also afforded him the chance to speak with someone with whom he'll be very familiar in Detroit assistant Tom Renney.
You know. Tom Renney. The guy who coached the Canucks to some pretty bad records from 1996-1998 just before they ascended. The guy who managed the Rangers for three years after the lockout just before they burst on to the nation scene with Tortorella. The guy who led the Oilers in 2011 and 2012 to... well to a couple of high draft picks.
The interesting thing about Renney is his track record and reputation of being a teacher. He helped the Rangers and took them to the playoffs. He bridged them to John Tortorella. He managed a mess of an Oiler team and by most metrics did improve them and manage them, bridging them to what they hope will now be a better chapter. He oversaw the Canucks for two years just before they got good.
He's a career coach who knows his way around the bench. He can help teams. He may not be the one that takes a team from a second round disappointment every year (cue Jaws theme) to a Stanley Cup contender, but he can help in a rebuilding period. It's not crazy to think, though it may sound defeatist, that it's the sort of hire the Stars need now while they transition slowly.
Only they know exactly how full-tilt they're going with the youth on the roster next year. If that's the plan Renney could get consideration, though it would be a head-scratcher to the casual fan and then some.
There are few things in this world that are certain. One of them seems to be that the NHL is not going to allow the Phoenix Coyotes to fail as a franchise any time soon, if ever. The line has been drawn in the sand. A few times.
They're not going anywhere.
Tipp (he's our old buddy, let's call him Tipp) has said he'd like to see some measure of stability before re-signing there, but the signs point to good things for Yotes fans. Don Maloney, one of the best GM's in hockey over the last several seasons, has decided to re-up there. A goaltender coach did as well earlier this week.
Tippett's new deal would seem only a matter of time, though admittedly the time is running a little on the short side now as June 30th fast approaches.
Last on this: Maloney and Tippett are already close on actual terms of potential new contract. But still need more ownership clarity.— Sarah McLellan (@azc_mclellan) May 29, 2013
Doesn't sound like he's going anywhere.
If he did, is he the best coach on the market, however? He's been coaching potted plants into the playoffs for years in Phoenix now after changing his style (a little, anyway) to fit a difficult situation there. To say he's made the most of it would be a gross understatement.
He may like it there. His family is a consideration. Making it work there is likely a point of pride for all involved, and finally throwing down an ownership problem like that and emerging from it stronger and better may be top of mind for our formerly mustacheo'd pal.
But say he did wonder what it would be like to have immediate resources to acquire better talent in the long term. Is Phoenix ever going to be a team that can spend to a cap in good conscience? Does he want to coach 2-1 games and shootouts forever?
Only he knows. He'll almost surely stay in Phoenix, but if he throws his hat into the many rings the NHL has to offer this summer it will be a game changer for all GMs involved.