I've held off throwing in my two cents on this because of the run up to the draft coverage. But also because I was still undecided on this move as late as yesterday.
My initial reaction was probably a lot like the rest of the Stars fandom. Disbelief, shock, and then a WTF is Nieuwy doing?
I think it's a move that had to be made. As Art pointed out in his post a few days ago, it would have made no sense for Tippett to remain head coach if his philosophy differed from Nieuwy's. At some point during the upcoming season, those philosophies would have clashed.
Now it's one thing when you've got an almost universally despised element in your lockerroom such as Sean Avery. Despite all the upheavel he caused, I actually think his dismissal served as a galvanizing force because he had so few allies in the organization.
This, OTOH, would have pitted a former Conn Smyth winner and one of the most popular Dallas Stars against a popular player's coach. One who no doubt will find success wherever he lands next.
In addition, I realize this team was just two wins away from playing for the Stanley Cup as few as 13 months ago. I also realize injuries played a major role in this team not making the playoffs last season. But open the scope to Tippett's entire tenure here and you can see reasons for why this firing was made.
For one, the team only won three playoff series in the five years the Stars made the playoffs. And two of those series wins occurred back in 2008. In between, Tippett's teams lost four consecutive playoff series with three of those playoff losses coming in the first round in 2004, 2006, and 2007. Had Doug Armstrong dismissed Tippett after the 2006 loss to Colorado or after the 2007 loss to Vancouver, it would not have been a shocking occurrence. But because it did with the Stars supposedly on the upswing...
I like Tippett. But I don't think you can put up much of an argument against the claim that his teams underachieved when he was here. And when that happens and you've been head coach for six seasons, a seventh season isn't usually in the cards.
Unless you're Lindy Ruff. But he's Buffalo's coach and not Dallas'.
Now does this automatically guarantee success for the Stars? Of course not. My initial reaction to the rumors that Marc Crawford was going to replace Tippett was one devoid of enthusiasm. I still am.
But that doesn't mean Crawford won't have a chance to win fans like me over or that he has qualities I don't like. For one, I do think this team could use a little discipline and a kick in the ass after having a player's coach like Tippett. I understood the Ken Hitchcock firing back in 2002 because the Stars had seemingly grown tired of having a tyrant behind the bench and tuned him out. Seven years later, the cycle has repeated itself, but this time, with a player's coach.
These things run in cycles in sports. And DFW sports fans should be used to the routine with the coaching changes the Stars, Mavericks, Cowboys, and Rangers have made over the last five years. From the tyrants like Bill Parcells, Buck Showalter, and Avery Johnson, to the players' coaches like Wade Parcells, Ron Washington, Rick Carlisle, and Tipp, we've seen both polarizing ends of the spectrum.
And we're about to see yet another example.