Lately, Glen Gulutzan's time as the head coach of the Dallas Stars has been described as a "no-win" situation. While this is a bit of a simplification, it is a fairly accurate description.
Could he have done a better job? Did his inexperience as an NHL coach show? Absolutely.
Did he fair better than a lot of other coaches? Like, say for instance, coaches who spend their time as a professional hockey analyst on ESPN only to last less than half a season before returning to his desk job? Of course.
In the end, those two years will likely be remembered as a time of turmoil. After all, only seven players were on the roster at the end of this season that were also on the team when Gully was first hired. (In fact, I believe if you don't count the emergency trading for Eric Nystrom, that number is reduced to six. I'll leave it to the commenters to fact check that one.) That is quite a bit of turnover for a hockey team, and makes it extremely difficult to establish any kind of consistency.
However, that excuse is not always a valid one in the NHL, especially when the GM has been replaced. Gulutzan ultimately struggled in his time in Dallas, and was let go because of it.
Despite those troubles at the NHL level, Gulutzan has still had an incredibly successful career up to this point. Mike Heika has his observations on his past, which gives an indication of what lies in store for his future:
Think about the path tread by the fair-haired boy from Saskatchewan. He was a play-making center growing up, helping Saskatoon to the WHL finals (along with talented defenseman Richard Matvichuk) before losing to Kamloops in a seven-game series way back in 1992.
He had a couple of 70-point seasons in junior hockey before moving on to college, and he probably thought at one point that it would be better to pursue a teaching career, just like his dad. But he decided to follow the dream of possibly playing in the NHL.
He landed in the West Coast Hockey League to start, and put up the best season of his young life. Playing for Fresno in 1996-97, Gulutzan posted 110 points (30 goals, 80 assists) in 60 games. He had nine assists in five playoff games before the Falcons were eliminated in one series. He got a couple of call-ups to the IHL for a total of four games, and then decided to try Finland for a season.
Still, he couldn't get the break he was looking for, so he headed back to Fresno. What followed was a five-year run with the Falcons where he was promoted to player/assistant coach for the final two seasons. It was a great lesson in perseverance and reality, and at age 31, Gulutzan turned his thoughts directly to coaching. He took over the Las Vegas Wranglers for six seasons, and led them to a 254-124-55 record, including an appearance in the ECHL Final.
That led to a promotion to the AHL, and he took the Texas Stars to the Final in his first season. He and assistant coach Paul Jerrard bonded, formed a solid coaching staff and churned out records of 46-27-7 and 41-29-10.
While he did not reach the same level of success in Dallas that he had seen in the past, he has certainly show growth over the last two seasons. I think i speak for most Stars fans when I wish him well, and know that he will find plenty of success in the future. (As long as he doesn't take Tippet's place and have our number for years to come.)
Coming up in today's link: Ilya Bryzgalov says something done, an awesomely depressing read about Game 7s, and East Coast Bias? You bet.
- Chicago showed why they are the team with home ice advantage, as they defeated the Red Wings 4-1. Somehow I get the feeling there's not going to be nearly as many exciting series as the previous round. [NHL]
- The Texas Stars had a collapse of Torontian proportions last night, and now trail their series 3-1. [Hundred Degree Hockey]
- Mark Stepneski has your Selke trophy finalists. No real surprises in the nominees, as it is well deserved. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Mike Ribeiro says that contract length is far more important than the money. I'll believe it when I see it, as I've heard similar from other free agents as well. [Puck Daddy]
- Ilya Bryzgalov says that he sees the logic behind Joseph Stalin's actions. I want to make a joke about this, but my palm is too busy covering my face. [Puck Daddy]
- As has been rumored, the NY Rangers will be playing two games at Yankees Stadium next season. Except for one little oddity -- they will be the road team for both games. This means that, not only do they get TWO outdoor games in their own backyard, they also get all 41 games at Madison Square Garden. You know they were the only team travelling to Europe that had all their games count as road games too? Sheesh. [NHL]
- Sean McIndoe beautifully describes the Leafs' failure in Game 7 as one of "Those Games." Texas Rangers fans know that feeling well. Especially if you were at that specific Game 6 in St. Louis like I was. [Grantland]
- Also over at Grantland, Katie Baker tries to decide who will be the Hero, and who will be the...ummm...an unfriendly word. It's a good read. [Grantland]
- Speaking of unfriendly words, Raffi Torres might just be one of those. He has a in person hearing tomorrow for his hit on Jarret Stoll. It's likely that it is going to be a lengthy suspension. Your video of the day is the hit itself. What say you, Stars fans? Clean, or dirty?