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What's Next for the Dallas Stars?

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1What's Next for the Dallas Stars? Empty What's Next for the Dallas Stars? on Sun May 31, 2009 4:48 pm

davetherave

davetherave
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Stars name Nieuwendyk as new GM

CBC.ca/RDS, May 31, 2009

The Dallas Stars didn't wait until the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs to make a major front-office shakeup.

The Stars have named former NHL forward Joe Nieuwendyk their new general manager, while reassigning former co-GMs Brett Hull and Les Jackson to other positions in the organization, owner Tom Hicks announced Sunday on the team's website.

Nieuwendyk served as special assistant to Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke this season.

He was also the assistant general manager with Canada's silver-medal entry at the 2009 IIHF world hockey championship.

Nieuwendyk spent seven of his 20 NHL seasons in Dallas (1995-2002), winning one of his three Stanley Cup championships with the Stars in 1999.

Hull will now serve as the team's executive vice-president and alternate governor, while Jackson returns to the role of director of scouting and player development.

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/story/2009/05/31/sp-hockey-niewendyk.html

RDS version here: http://www.rds.ca/hockey/chroniques/275696.html



Last edited by davetherave on Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:19 pm; edited 3 times in total

2What's Next for the Dallas Stars? Empty Re: What's Next for the Dallas Stars? on Sun May 31, 2009 7:53 pm

davetherave

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More on the Nieuwendyk hiring and what moves he might make as GM, from Sports Illustrated today:

Nieuwendyk a savvy choice for new Stars GM, despite curious timing

ALLAN MUIR, INSIDE THE NHL/SI.COM, MAY 31, 2009

DALLAS -- It's been an active week for Tom Hicks.

On Thursday, he announced a willingness to sell off controlling interest in baseball's Texas Rangers, but not the Dallas Stars, as a concession to his personal economic meltdown. Today, while everyone in north Texas was at the lake or the pool trying to stay cool, he revealed there would be changes to his hockey club, as well. Hicks announced that he had hired former Stars center Joe Nieuwendyk to serve as the team's general manager, while former GMs Brett Hull and Les Jackson would be re-assigned within the organization.

Apparently, not everyone was able to beat the heat.

Though the timing is curious, the decision for change was not. The duo's hiring back in 2007 invigorated a club that was swirling the drain, but they took much of the blame for the team's failings both on and off the ice in 2008-09.

There were rumors swirling back as far back as December that Hicks had had enough with his two-headed GM monster, particularly Hull. It was the former sniper, after all, who insisted on signing loose cannon Sean Avery despite what was said to be universal resistance to the idea in the front office. When that deal blew up in his face -- let's assume there's no need to recap the particulars of that debacle -- it was thought that the stain on the organization was so great that Hull would have to go.

That he was allowed to finish out the season now looks like nothing more than professional courtesy to a player who'd done so much for the team -- including scoring the Cup-clinching goal back in 1999 -- and a devoted long-term employee who'd done nothing to deserve this embarrassment.

Of course, Hicks also had to wait for the guy he wanted to become available.

Nieuwendyk may be cut from the same cloth as Hull, but he's got a little more on his post-hockey resume than a few months work as a team's Ambassador of Fun.

He spent the past season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he served as
special assistant to the general manager and was said to be instrumental in the signings of coveted free agents Christian Hanson and Tyler Bozak. Those are the kind of results that might earn a promotion elsewhere, but his position became redundant when Brian Burke became the team's GM and brought in his own right-hand man, Dave Nonis.

Prior to joining the Leafs, Nieuwendyk worked in a similar post with the Florida Panthers. Not quite a distinguished history of building Stanley Cup champions, but a little on-the-job training is better than none.

Still, this hiring seems to follow a similar pattern of risk as the last one. You won't find anyone in hockey with a bad word to say of Nieuwendyk. He's thoughtful, well spoken and all class. He'd make for a fantastic son-in-law. He may also make an excellent GM. You'll have no problem finding people willing to attest to his potential. But his paucity of front office experience (remember, he just retired in 2006) suggests a bit more seasoning might have helped him. And a more seasoned executive (for example, recent Minnesota Wild hire Chuck Fletcher) might have been a better choice for the Stars.

We'll have to see how it plays out. In the short term, Nieuwendyk can meet with the team's scouts regarding the entry draft -- the Stars hold the No. 7 pick -- and can start planning for free agency. With his reputation, he can't help but be an asset as he tries to fill some gaping holes in Dallas' lineup. One of the players he'll be observing is Jonas Gustavsson, the Swedish netminder that he courted while with the Leafs. With Marty Turco's deal up after the 2009-10 season, the Stars have just as much need for his talent as did the Leafs ... and now they may have a leg up on signing him.

Hull, meanwhile, will be staying on as executive vice president (essentially, an extra voice in the room when Hicks and team president Jeff Cogen need a hockey guy around) and alternate governor. Jackson, a well-respected student of the game who did nothing to damage his credentials if he chooses to pursue any future GM opening, will return to his old position as the team's director of scouting and player development.

3What's Next for the Dallas Stars? Empty Re: What's Next for the Dallas Stars? on Sun May 31, 2009 8:03 pm

shabbs

shabbs
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Nice move for the Stars... Hull was a joke of a GM and bringing in Avery was his downfall.

4What's Next for the Dallas Stars? Empty Re: What's Next for the Dallas Stars? on Sun May 31, 2009 9:12 pm

PTFlea

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Interesting. Nieuwendyk's a class act respected by most - if not all - of the NHL, so he should be able to interact well. He probably has a pretty good vision as well.

Didn't really see this coming personally. The Stars got killed by the amount of injuries they had, plus Turco had a crap season. Avery was a mistake though - and I guess that ultimately cost Hull and Jackson.

5What's Next for the Dallas Stars? Empty Re: What's Next for the Dallas Stars? on Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:37 am

wprager

wprager
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Hull's days as GM were numbered on that day that he declared he was the "ambassador of fun". That's the last thing the GM is concerned with -- fun. If you become a buddy of the players, how can you make that hard decision over whom to keep and whom to trade?

On the other hand, Nieuwendyk has just as much experience being a GM as Hull did back then. Odd move, if you ask me.

6What's Next for the Dallas Stars? Empty Re: What's Next for the Dallas Stars? on Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:33 am

shabbs

shabbs
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wprager wrote:On the other hand, Nieuwendyk has just as much experience being a GM as Hull did back then. Odd move, if you ask me.
Yeah, but Nieuwendyk's professional acumen and business sense should make for good GM material.

7What's Next for the Dallas Stars? Empty Re: What's Next for the Dallas Stars? on Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:52 am

davetherave

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shabbs wrote: Yeah, but Nieuwendyk's professional acumen and business sense should make for good GM material.

Agreed. As well as Joe's competitive character. Good move by Hicks.

8What's Next for the Dallas Stars? Empty Re: What's Next for the Dallas Stars? on Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:59 am

SensFan71


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davetherave wrote:
shabbs wrote: Yeah, but Nieuwendyk's professional acumen and business sense should make for good GM material.

Agreed. As well as Joe's competitive character. Good move by Hicks.


Bad for Toronto, Nieuwendyk is a great hockey mind that could have been in that organization for years to come, meh, oh well, very good for Dallas.

9What's Next for the Dallas Stars? Empty Re: What's Next for the Dallas Stars? on Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:04 pm

SeawaySensFan

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SensFan71 wrote:
davetherave wrote:
shabbs wrote: Yeah, but Nieuwendyk's professional acumen and business sense should make for good GM material.

Agreed. As well as Joe's competitive character. Good move by Hicks.


Bad for Toronto, Nieuwendyk is a great hockey mind that could have been in that organization for years to come, meh, oh well, very good for Dallas.

Toronto already has the most powerful human brain every conceived on their payroll. It's going straight the Smithsonian when Burke's done with it.

10What's Next for the Dallas Stars? Empty Re: What's Next for the Dallas Stars? on Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:06 pm

SensFan71


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All-Star
SeawaySensFan wrote:
SensFan71 wrote:
davetherave wrote:
shabbs wrote: Yeah, but Nieuwendyk's professional acumen and business sense should make for good GM material.

Agreed. As well as Joe's competitive character. Good move by Hicks.


Bad for Toronto, Nieuwendyk is a great hockey mind that could have been in that organization for years to come, meh, oh well, very good for Dallas.

Toronto already has the most powerful human brain every conceived on their payroll. It's going straight the Smithsonian when Burke's done with it.

Is his ego going with it, because that is what is fueling his brain?

11What's Next for the Dallas Stars? Empty Re: What's Next for the Dallas Stars? on Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:09 pm

SeawaySensFan

SeawaySensFan
Franchise Player
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SensFan71 wrote:
SeawaySensFan wrote:
SensFan71 wrote:
davetherave wrote:
shabbs wrote: Yeah, but Nieuwendyk's professional acumen and business sense should make for good GM material.

Agreed. As well as Joe's competitive character. Good move by Hicks.


Bad for Toronto, Nieuwendyk is a great hockey mind that could have been in that organization for years to come, meh, oh well, very good for Dallas.

Toronto already has the most powerful human brain every conceived on their payroll. It's going straight the Smithsonian when Burke's done with it.

Is his ego going with it, because that is what is fueling his brain?

Yup. They will be stored in jars alongside Uncle Miltie's and John Dillinger's, um. egos....

12What's Next for the Dallas Stars? Empty Re: What's Next for the Dallas Stars? on Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:32 pm

SensFan71


All-Star
All-Star
SeawaySensFan wrote:
SensFan71 wrote:
SeawaySensFan wrote:
SensFan71 wrote:
davetherave wrote:
shabbs wrote: Yeah, but Nieuwendyk's professional acumen and business sense should make for good GM material.

Agreed. As well as Joe's competitive character. Good move by Hicks.


Bad for Toronto, Nieuwendyk is a great hockey mind that could have been in that organization for years to come, meh, oh well, very good for Dallas.

Toronto already has the most powerful human brain every conceived on their payroll. It's going straight the Smithsonian when Burke's done with it.

Is his ego going with it, because that is what is fueling his brain?

Yup. They will be stored in jars alongside Uncle Miltie's and John Dillinger's, um. egos....

guess that must not be part of their family exhibit, those, um, egos Laughing3

13What's Next for the Dallas Stars? Empty Re: What's Next for the Dallas Stars? on Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:30 pm

davetherave

davetherave
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One of Nieuwendyk's priorities will no doubt be to determine the nature of, and possible solutions to, the issues that compromised the Stars last year.

Those included injuries, including that to Brenden Morrow and Mike Richards; Marty Turco's inconsistency; the role of Mike Modano, and his eventual replacement; and the effectiveness of Dave Tippett as coach.

As a three-time Stanley Cup winner as a player (with the Flames, Stars, and Devils), and with executive experience in two NHL cities, Nieuwendyk is also well qualified to implement a 'culture of excellence' in Dallas from the top down.

The Stars, just a season removed from their exciting playoff run, and after a season many of them may wish to forget, may once again be a team to watch in 2009-10.

14What's Next for the Dallas Stars? Empty Re: What's Next for the Dallas Stars? on Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:34 pm

davetherave

davetherave
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Nieuwendyk speaks, and the Stars respond...this from ESPN today:

Nieuwendyk returns to Stars as GM

DALLAS (AP)-- About 10 days after Texan Tom Hicks bought the Dallas Stars, he showed some hockey smarts by giving up prospects and a big contract to land Joe Nieuwendyk.

It was a great investment. The Stars won the Presidents Trophy in Nieuwendyk's first full season, won the Stanley Cup the next year, then went right back to the finals. Nieuwendyk even won the Conn Smythe Award as playoff MVP the year of Dallas' title, the first in franchise history.

Then the Stars traded Nieuwendyk in 2002, and things haven't been the same since. Coincidence or not, Dallas has won just three playoff series, missing the postseason altogether this year.


So when Hicks decided to shake up his front office -- sending co-general managers Brett Hull and Les Jackson back to roles they're more suited for -- it was Nieuwendyk to the rescue again.

His hiring was announced Sunday and the first-time GM was introduced at a news conference Monday.

"He's a winner," Hicks said. "What he brought on the ice for this organization [in the last '90s] was different than the other stars we had. He was really the glue. I think that leadership and that ability to build a consensus around him, those skills sets will be very transferrable to being in management."

Nieuwendyk has spent the last two years being groomed for this opportunity, working in an apprentice role under GMs in Toronto and Florida. He also was assistant GM for Team Canada, which won a silver medal at the world championships; in that job, he coincidentally worked with the guy who traded him from the Stars (Doug Armstrong) and his new head coach, Dave Tippett.

"Spending the last month or so with him, I believe he's ready for this," Tippett said. "He is very methodical, very thoughtful in his approach. He thinks things through before he reacts to them. He was a hard player to play against because he would outthink you. I would imagine it's going to be the same as GM."

Not as speedy as Mike Modano, not the flashy scorer Hull was, Nieuwendyk was a steady, calming presence with lots of skill and plenty of grit. He also understood the business side of the game, serving as his own agent at times.

The comparison made by both Nieuwendyk and Hicks was to Bob Gainey, a Hall of Fame player who was 39 when he became general manager of the Minnesota North Stars. He eventually built them into a Stanley Cup winner -- in Dallas, after the franchise moved. Of course, that was the '99 team and Nieuwendyk was one of his top acquisitions.

Looking over the current roster, Nieuwendyk believes the Stars aren't as far away from being contenders as it looked last season, when they plummeted from Western Conference finalists to 12th place in the West.

Injuries and the Sean Avery mess were problems that couldn't be overcome. In captain Brenden Morrow, Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro, the Stars have three quality forwards in their prime, plus a capable goalie in Marty Turco and whatever Modano has left at 39. Other building blocks are in place, too, including Tippett, whom Nieuwendyk is happy to keep.

"I think this team can turn it around quickly," he said. "I'm coming into a real good situation."

He also believes Morrow is the perfect anchor.

"Clearly, this is Brenden's team," Nieuwendyk said. "I have no problem with this team taking the identity of the passion he brings to the game every night."

Morrow was in the room hearing his boss rave about him and later joked, "I'll have to tip him."

Truth is, their admiration is mutual. Morrow broke in during the '99 season and Nieuwendyk was among the veterans who helped mold him. They've spoken a lot in recent days, "just catching up," more as friends than boss and employee.

Suffice to say, Morrow believes the Stars have the right guy in charge.

"This," Morrow said, "is just another step in getting that winning tradition back."

15What's Next for the Dallas Stars? Empty Re: What's Next for the Dallas Stars? on Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:15 pm

davetherave

davetherave
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Joe settles in as Dallas GM, and Darren Eliot of Sports Illustrated gives his opinion:


Nieuwendyk ready for Stars turn


Darren Eliot/VIEW FROM THE ICE, SI.COM, June 4, 2009

iTalk about a trial run gone right. Joe Nieuwendyk works with Team Canada as assistant GM at the World Championships and spends a month with
Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett in the process. Three weeks later, the Stars name Nieuwendyk as their new GM, thus ending the experiment of having co-GM's (Brett Hull and Les Jackson).

As Tippett observed, "I believe he's ready for this. He is very methodical, very thoughtful in his approach. He thinks things through before he reacts to them. He was a hard player to play against because he would outthink you. I would imagine it's going to be the same as a GM."

Of course, Tippett coaching Team Canada while Nieuwendyk was part of the management team is hardly the only tie that makes sense in this move.

Nieuwendyk was the key figure in the Stars' 1999 Stanley Cup victory, leading the team in scoring and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. The Stars acquired him from the Calgary Flames in 1995 for a prospect named Jarome Iginla, and Nieuwendyk spent seven seasons with the Dallas organization. It was a lot to give up, but the Stars knew they were getting a hard-nosed two-way player who produced offensively. Plus, he had a Stanley Cup on his resume with the 1989 Flames.

Just like they knew what they were getting then, they know what they are getting now: a classy, up-and-coming executive who has had his sights set on this role for several years. Nieuwendyk hoped his opportunity might come in Florida where he was Jacques Martin's assistant with the Panthers, but the timing wasn't right.

"I appreciated my time with Jacques," Nieuwendyk told me on Wednesday. "We all would like to stay in the game -- it has given us so much and meant everything to all of who have played -- and the Panthers gave me that opportunity."

Ironically, the Stars' official announcement came on the same day that Martin left the Panthers to coach the Montreal Canadiens. Sounds like more than mere coincidence to me that the Stars acted swiftly, circumventing any potential interest the Panthers surely would have had in Nieuwendyk. According to him, though, there was nothing of the sort.

"Jacques' press conference was going on at exactly the same time, I think," Nieuwendyk said. "No, what Florida was doing didn't impact what we were doing in Dallas in the least."

This past season, Nieuwendyk worked for the Toronto Maple Leafs as a special assistant to the general manager. That's an experiencing-building position, but with Brian Burke, Dave Nonis and Cliff Fletcher all on the Leafs' management team, the role for Nieuwendyk was hard to define. There wasn't much room to move, or enough to do. That doesn't mean the time spent wasn't valuable.

"Going to Toronto was an easy decision," he says. "When Cliff (a former Flames GM) went there, it was like going home, really on two fronts."

Working under the man who drafted him, and being close to where he grew up was a cozy arrangement while Nieuwendyk furthered his interest in hockey operations. The Leafs facilitating and nurturing that interest made him a viable GM candidate. His front office work is also part of a recent rash of high-end former players who are pursuing roles in upper management: Steve Yzerman in Detroit and with Team Canada, Al MacInnis in St. Louis, and Ron Francis in Raleigh.

They've all become part of management teams and with that comes opportunity to be in charge one day.

That day for Nieuwendyk is now. Does he have enough experience? Time will tell, but he has always been a quick study. During his sophomore season, he led Cornell to the Eastern Conference Championship and a berth in the final four -- before the ECAC split with the advent of Hockey East and the final four became the Frozen Four . In Calgary, he was in just his second full season with the Flames when they won the Stanley Cup. He registered back-to-back 51-goal campaigns in his first two years in the NHL and won the 1987-88 Calder Trophy as the league's rookie of the year.

Later in his career, the New Jersey Devils coveted Nieuwendyk's experience and again it paid off as he was part of his third Stanley Cup-winning team, in 2003 when the Devils prevailed over the Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks in seven games. Now the Stars again want Nieuwendyk. I asked him about his new team and he already had the tone of a GM assessing his club.

"I don't see us as a 12th-place team in the (western) conference," he said. "I've just come from two organizations that were in the process of identifying and developing some top six forwards. We have a good group here already. And with captain Brendan Morrow returning, that only makes us stronger. Marty (Turco) had an off year and I'd expect him to bounce back, as competitive and proud a guy as he is. I'm excited by what we have and what we're capable of"

And what of former co-GM's Hull and Jackson? Nieuwendyk doesn't foresee any issues or conflicts.

"I've already spoken with Hully," he said. "He was good, ready for his new role. And Les is so strong and has been with the organization so long, I intend to lean on him a lot."

I see nothing but success on the horizon for Nieuwendyk at the helm of the Stars.

There's nothing in the past that indicates otherwise.

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