As the 2013 regular season winds to a close, the questions have started to swirl about Glen Gulutzan's future on the Dallas Stars coaching staff..
After all, the first-time head coach is in the second year of a two-year contract with no public word on whether or not it will be renewed this summer. And although the Stars are still in the hunt for that elusive playoff berth, there are still some serious questions about some specific problems the team has had this year.
In all, it's pretty tough situation for everyone involved. Gulutzan was dropped into a team with some obvious construction shortcomings - heck, he was hired before the bankruptcy mess was settled. Could a more veteran coach with a deeper toolbox honed through NHL experience have addressed it better? Who knows at this point.
But the questions are there, and to his credit, Gulutzan has little time for this at this point. He's more focused on the task at hand.
While the 41-year-old coach knows that his job could be in jeopardy, he doesn’t really want to talk about that. He wants to talk about making the Stars better and winning as many games as possible down the stretch.
"I learned when I first started coaching, from Darryl Sutter, that your job as a coach is to come to the rink and every day try to make everyone better," said Gulutzan, who started as a minor league coach in the Calgary Flames system. "We’ve got young guys here, and the coaching staff is trying to make those players better, and really the whole team better. We’re still battling."
Perhaps we're really seeing Gulutzan in his element now with so many youngsters in the lineup, with more teaching to do and less managing of different playing styles. Or maybe it's too little, too late. Only Tom Gaglardi really knows at this point.
Also in today's links, a fantastic profile of Jaromir Jagr and his time in Dallas, we're still keeping half-an-eye on the playoff race and remember when the fan bitterness over the lockout was going to hurt the NHL's bottom line? About that...
- Pity the poor feature writer. They've all had the experience of pouring a lot of time and energy into a piece only to see it all blow up in their face right at the end of the process. That happened to Peter Simek of D Magazine, who wrote a fantastic what-was-to-be-a-cover-story about Jagr's time with the Dallas Stars only to see Jagr get traded to the Boston Bruins just before it ran. Still, it's a fantastic piece that's well worth your time, if only to get a little insight into the multifaceted figure he was in the locker room. [D Magazine]
- We'll have more on Alex Chiasson in a bit today, but his strong debut over the past three games has definitely turned some heads. He gets his chance to complete the sweep of first-goals-against-California-teams tonight as well. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Turning back to Jagr for a little bit, Josh touched on it yesterday, but he and Jamie Benn may just not have been a great chemistry pairing. That's not a slam at either of them, obviously. Jagr led the Stars in scoring, and the things Benn and company picked up from an off-ice perspective are likely invaluable. But Heika ruminated in his post-San Jose thoughts about why the on-ice product might not be hurt as much as was originally feared. [DallasNews.com]
- Staring warily at the playoff race, part the first: The Edmonton Oilers could have jumped Dallas in the standings with a win over the Anaheim Ducks, but former Star Radek Dvorak did his old mates a favor with two goals in a 2-1 Anaheim win. [Edmonton Journal]
- Staring warily at the playoff race, part the second: And the ninth place Phoenix Coyotes are in sight with a win tonight, as the Yotes dropped a 2-0 decision to the Vancouver Canucks. [Five for Howling]
- In terms of former Stars news, Brenden Morrow hasn't gotten off to a blazing production start with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In fact, he has only one assist over his first few weeks. But the Pens aren't worried because they didn't acquire Morrow to score for them. [Pittburgh Tribune-Review]
- So remember back during the lockout when everyone understandably groused about what a stupid, meaningless battle this all was and how no one in this mess, from the players to the owners to the agents to the very bored hockey media, deserved another cent from our pockets? Well the NHL front offices bet that everyone would come back and, once again, they were right. [Yahoo Sports]
- Jean-Sebastien Giguere was not a happy camper after the Colorado Avalanche continued to drift quietly into that good night with a 3-1 loss to the Calgary Flames. [Denver Post]
- There's often an injury theme to a hockey season, whether it was the knee-on-knee muggings of the late 1990s or the headshots of more recent years. This season might be be the season of the skate cut. Two pieces of good news and one bad news piece on that front. The good news is that both Erik Karlsson and Zach Redmond are skating again after cuts to the Achilles tendon and femoral artery/important things in your hamstring respectively. The less good news is there was another bloody incident, this time in the AHL (and a strong blood warning on the Puck Daddy link). There was also a local skate cut recently incident involving one of the Fort Worth Brahmas, but that picture is too gruesome to even link here. [Backhand Shelf/Slam!Sports/Puck Daddy]
- I probably spend an inordinate amount of my time watching hockey thinking about the officiating, from what application of an existing rule might have applied to why a certain thing may not have been seen. The one thing I always try to remember is there are real people behind those stripes who are trying their hardest to get everything right, even when the results get screwy. This story isn't about hockey refs - it's about basketball guys - but it's an interesting read nonetheless to get a closer look at the angst that goes on behind each blown call. [Deadspin]
- Take a ride in the wayback machine to three years ago, then Jamie Benn was a young buck just breaking into the Dallas Stars lineup and his brother Jordie Benn was playing with the Allen Americans. This interview was recorded back then, in January 2010, and it's amazing how much both of them have grown up in three short years. The second part of the interview is here.