The Dallas Stars have finished the regular season with a playoff berth, their first since the 2015-16 season. That’s quite the accomplishment for Jim Montgomery, who is wrapping up his first season behind an NHL bench. And spoiler alert: being an NHL head coach has a steep learning curve.
“Yeah, I learned a lot. I learned I don’t know that much, I have a lot to learn,” Montgomery said. “But you know what? We’re doing it together. We’re growing together and that’s been the fun part, and I think people see it. It wasn’t very pretty for a long time. But I think you see a team that plays to their identity and a team that believes in it.”
Perhaps the biggest takeaway Montgomery took from the year is that you can’t always mold the players to your system. Sometimes, you just have to adapt to the players:
“It’s not sexy to win with defense and to be a defense-approach team, it’s not,” Montgomery said. “But if our goal is to be successful and make the playoffs and have success in the playoffs, this is how we have to play. And everybody knows that.”
“I’m never going to go away from my belief that you have to pressure and possess the puck,” Montgomery said. “But some players just don’t hang on to pucks long enough, they don’t protect pucks well enough for us to do certain things. That’s why we did more one-on-one video.”
You can read more from Sean Shapiro here.
More Stars News
For once, a regular season finale against the Minnesota Wild didn’t end in heartbreak. Instead, it ended a successful regular season with a bang:
The Stars will take on the Nashville Predators this postseason, with many players (and coaches) making their playoff debut:
"First 10 minutes of every game, it's like hopping on the highway at full speed and it's just cars crashing into each other everywhere." https://t.co/Dsm1ZEP8OB— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) April 7, 2019
Let’s all do our part to make sure the first round has sellout crowds, alright?
Around the League
While half of the league is gearing up for the playoffs, the rest have gotten a head start on the offseason. That inevitably means head coaching changes:
Buffalo Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill has announced that Head Coach Phil Housley has been relieved of his duties.— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) April 7, 2019
The LA Kings have informed Willie Desjardins he will not be brought back. Kings will have a new head coach shortly.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) April 7, 2019
The @FlaPanthers have received permission to talk to coach Joel Quenneville and have offered him a multi-year deal worth more than $6 million annually after bonuses. Details here: https://t.co/RIyaF4lsLd #NHL— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) April 7, 2019
As we get set for the #StanleyCup Playoffs, the teams that missed out on the post-season (and Colorado) will learn their NHL draft positions.— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 7, 2019
Here's everything you need to know about the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery:https://t.co/zOqIDDPu6o
Finally, Nikita Kucherov capped off his Art Ross campaign with 128 points, an NHL record for most by a Russian-born player. Here’s a nice piece on hockey’s best player this year: