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Dallas GM Jim Nill Continues Interviews, Hopes to Find New Stars Head Coach Before Draft

Jim Nill was on hand for the festivities Tuesday night at the Dallas Stars jersey unveiling and said a decision on a head coach is getting closer.


Darryl "Razor" Reaugh worked the crowd with his trademark charisma Tuesday night at the Dallas Stars jersey and logo reveal - Then he turned it on new Stars general manager Jim Nill in mock desire to have a new coach announced in front of the season ticket base.

Nill's reponse: "We're getting close."

He finished his brief appearance by saying that he would be flying out to interview two additional candidates (Wednesday), underlining an important point admid the festivities: On-ice success of the team is paramount to the success of any other element of the team. Everyone will like those jerseys if they seem them every May.

Closer though they may be to naming Gulutzan's replacement, there's still work to be done.

"There's no set deadline," Nill cautioned media later, before adding: "I'd like to have it done before the draft. It'd be nice. It's nice to have your coach there during that."

So something will need to get done in the next three weeks or so.

"But I'm not going to rush into something that's not going to make sense," he added. "I'm going to be careful that way."

Patience has been key because there could be candidates out there still coaching their respective teams, such as Jeff Blashill of the Grand Rapids Griffins, currently awaiting a game seven with Oklahoma City tomorrow night in the AHL's Western Conference Finals.

"Yeah, there are some guys still and there are some guys whose teams have finished up and they're still going through the process of exit interviews," Nill said on waiting for guys. "So, we're just taking our time and waiting for things to happen."

Things like coaches currently in Phoenix? That's just speculation on everyone's part as Dave Tippett continues to tell media that he hasn't even thought of moving. Yet he doesn't have a contract.

A Tippett or a Vigneault or a Ruff is certainly what the Stars-consuming public at large is expecting but Nill said that NHL-level experience is not necessarily something he needs to see in the soon-to-be-chosen candidate.

"It's not a prerequisite," Nill said of experience." A great example is Mike Babcock. He had to come from somewhere. They just don't fall out of the sky. So, you want to be careful. Yes, you want experience. It's important but there are some coaches who have been in the minors who have gained experience maybe doing better jobs coaching in the minors than up top sometimes, so we're looking at all different angles of coaches and all different types of personalities."

Rumors have swirled about the Stars already having contacted Lindy Ruff and Alain Vigneault to go along with Dallas Eakins of the Toronto Marlies, but the new GMJN was mum on who exactly is in the running.

"Yeah, I'm not going to say out of respect for them who I've interviewed, but we are not leaving any leaves unturned, put it that way. We've interviewed a lot of people and I've got more coming up. We're looking at every angle, whether it's top NHL coach or the top guys down in the development leagues."

Stars owner Tom Gaglardi was asked about the coaching search, naturally, but continues to defer hockey conversations to his hockey people in a refreshing change of pace given other ownership groups around DFW.

"When we made the decision to hire Jim Nill we spent a lot of time talking about it," Gaglardi said. "We don't differ on where we want to go and where we want to be."

"He has a deep history in the league," Gaglardi added, "And I certainly don't. So I have lots to learn."

The coaching decision may not go through 236 iterations of possibilities like the jersey designs did, but it appears as though it will be just about as thorough by the time it's said and done.