Dallas Stars Daily Links: Neil Graham Adjusting to New Role as Texas Head Coach

This is his first season coaching in the AHL in any capacity, but Texas’ new head coach is doing just fine. Plus, the Predators fire Peter Laviolette, a peak at how the Pacific’s faring, and more.

After four successful years as head coach of the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads, it was arguably inevitable that Neil Graham would be the head coach of an AHL team one day. But no one thought his opportunity would come so soon.

Hired by the Texas Stars as an assistant coach this offseason, Graham was quickly thrust back into the top role when Derek Laxdal was promoted to the NHL as a result of Jim Montgomery’s dismissal by the Dallas Stars. It’s been an adjustment, but it wasn’t really a difficult one according to Graham:

“I’m probably a bit more comfortable, to be honest, in a head coaching role,” Graham said Saturday night. “I just feel like I’m being myself. Like I said when I first got the job, we were in a good spot. [Laxdal] left the group in a very good spot. I didn’t have to come in as a bulldozer and reinvent the wheel. We had to keep the train in the tracks, add my own personality to it because you have to be authentic.”

Graham (32) is the second youngest coach in the AHL, but that hasn’t held him back in any way thus far. If anything, his youth makes it easier to easier to relate to the typically younger AHL squads:

“He’s really good at communicating,” defenseman Joel Hanley said. “He’s 34 years old, so he’s kind of a younger coach that hasn’t been out of the game for that long. He gets the guys that way. That’s what I’ve noticed the most, he’s really good at communicating with the guys. I think he’s brought the best out of a lot of players.”

You can read more from Matthew DeFranks here.

Stars Stories

Speaking of coaching promotions, here’s a look into the thought process that went behind naming Rick Bowness as Dallas’ interim head coach:

Corey Perry is one game into his five-game suspension by the Department of Player Safety. Here’s what the veteran forward has to say about it:

With Perry still out and the Stars heading to California tomorrow, Joel Kiviranta is back up after a brief return to Cedar Park:

Central Census

There were only four games last night in the NHL, though two of them involved teams from the Central:

  • The Colorado Avalanche came up short in a high-scoring thriller, losing 1-0 to the New York Islanders. [Lighthouse Hockey]
  • Meanwhile Winnipeg Jets won their one-goal game, beating the Montreal Canadiens, 3-2. [Habs Eyes on the Prize]/

The Nashville Predators are the latest team to make a coaching change, firing Peter Laviolette yesterday:

Just leaving this out there:

Cale Makar is already one of the league’s brightest stars, and his fellow players know it:

After struggling to start the season, the Vegas Golden Knights are climbing back into the league’s top tier of teams:

The San Jose Sharks, on the other hand, have, uhh, not:

While we’re focusing on Pacific division teams (Pacific Primer?), here is your daily reminder that Connor McDavid is a freak of nature:

Someone is insinuating that John Carlson — who was anointed as the Norris Trophy winner back in October — is not as good as Dougie Hamilton? Blasphemy! /s

Finally, parents’ trips are awesome, and always deserve a read: