As you are no doubt aware of by now, the Dallas Stars fired head coach Jim Montgomery yesterday. Rick Bowness was promoted to interim head coach, and then the Stars had to turn around and play a hockey game that same day against the New Jersey Devils, which they won 2-0.
Usually when a coaching change is made, it’s because the team is struggling immensely and needs something to change. The Stars, in contrast, have been sitting in a playoff spot for awhile now, which actually inspires a little hope moving forward:
“Say what you want about whatever’s going on here, but Monty built a great foundation here and he’s put us back in a great position,” said forward Tyler Seguin. “We’re fighting for the playoffs here, we’re not getting four new coaches here. Everyone has been here, the players have been here, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity tonight.”
Last night was Bowness’ first game as a head coach in over 15 years, which means he had to shake off a little rust. Still, he has been one of the most respected NHL coaches of the past decade, and the veteran coach is grateful to the opportunity, regardless of the circumstances:
“Even at my age, you want to take another shot at it, so it means an awful lot to me to have one more kick at it,” he said. “There’s a lot more years behind me than ahead of me, I get all of that, but we’re just going to enjoy every day and we’re going to make the most of it. I’m very fortunate to be given this opportunity, I’m very fortunate that ownership and management has the faith in me to take this over. It means a lot.”
You can read more from Mike Heika here.
More Stars News
If you want more quotes regarding yesterday’s bombshell...
Stars captain Jamie Benn, veterans react to coach Jim Montgomery’s firing:— Callie Caplan (@CallieCaplan) December 10, 2019
"It’s confusion, shock ... definitely sad"https://t.co/Hkw8psnvVd
Moving on: here is Bowness’ first post-game presser as head coach of the Dallas Stars:
"They wanted to be on the ice and you’ve got to love that about athletes. They’re energized like that and they wanted to be a factor and an impact on the ice."— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) December 11, 2019
Interim head coach Rick Bowness speaks following tonight's win. #NJDvsDAL | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/d99tjz5aSx
Here’s Ben Bishop, whose shutout last night was somehow his first of the season:
Bish on earning his first shutout of the season:— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) December 11, 2019
"The goalie kind of gets the reward but it's a team effort. It's nice to get that one and hopefully we can pile on some more." #NJDvsDAL | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/cYdnT8GRq6
And last but certainly not least, here’s Joe Pavelski:
Speaking of Pavelski, will things turn around for the Stars’ veteran leader?
With just 13 points in 31 games, Joe Pavelski is on pace for one of the worst seasons of his NHL career. Is there a bounce-back in his future or is age catching up to the veteran?https://t.co/WNEft6anC5— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) December 10, 2019
‘Twas a busy Tuesday night in the NHL, and the Central Division was no exception;
- In a battle between under-performing Stanley Cup “Contenders,” the Nashville Predators prevailed 3-1 over the San Jose Sharks. [On the Forecheck]
- Elsewhere, St. Louis Blues got crushed by *checks notes* the Buffalo Sabres to a tune of 5-2. [NHL]
- The Minnesota Wild at least picked up a point, falling 3-2 to the Anaheim Ducks in the shootout. [Hockey Wilderness]
- Like the Stars, the Winnipeg Jets were served up an easy opponent in the Detroit Red Wings, who they demolished 5-1. [Winging it in Motown]
- And now take that score and flip it, as the Chicago Blackhawks got beat down 5-1 by the Vegas Golden Knights. [Second City Hockey]
- Finally, the Colorado Avalanche... actually, the Avalanche didn’t play last night. What, did they miss the memo or something?!?
Around the League
Where do the Stars rank among the league’s best “microcores?” Pretty high, thankfully enough:
Some believe that Cup contenders are strong in three areas: No. 1 center, No. 1 defenseman and goaltender. If we ranked the 31 teams in these areas, what would that look like? @CraigCustance asked around the NHL to find out. https://t.co/nix6Bznfdi— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) December 10, 2019
A World Cup won’t happen in 2021, but that doesn’t mean the NHL is veering away from tournament ideas:
After dropping the idea of a scaled-down World Cup of Hockey in 2021, the NHL and NHLPA are now focused on a full-scale tournament, including play-ins and a proper leadup in 2024 and 2028, writes @reporterchris.https://t.co/Lwhl3WuTXG— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 11, 2019
After last year, I’m all for praising under-recognized rookie defensemen who deserve it:
Finally, is it just me, or do we have this discussion about a team almost every year?