Under their leadership the Stars, a team that was barely keeping its head above water in early November, stunned the hockey world by upsetting the defending Cup champion Ducks and prohibitive favorite Sharks before falling to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference finals. And while all but two of the players on the roster were in place before the now-Dynamic Duo grabbed the wheel, their fingerprints were all over this success story.
It's easy to point to the bold deal to acquire
But their biggest accomplishment was simply clearing the poisoned air that hovered over the talented, but underachieving group Armstrong had built. Jackson and Hull pushed the reboot key, giving everyone a fresh start. They ensured that younger players like
They made it fun to be a Dallas Star again.
So give them credit, and give me a rap across the knuckles. Based on those early returns, they earned this.
Now that these two are in place, expect coach
Sure, the demand by the fan base for someone fresh is reasonable. But you know, this might not prove to be a completely boneheaded move.
Granato, who took over from
At the time, it was his lack of experience that was cited as the reason for his dismissal. But the reality is that there was a perception his star-studded teams had underachieved. That wasn't entirely fair. The Wild loss was a heartbreaker, but it's worth remembering what kind of roll that team got on. Sometimes you run into a buzzsaw in the playoffs, and that's what happened here.
The following year? Well, injuries to
Obviously Granato has held the support of his higher ups during his apprenticeship. And likely, it was his willingness to accept a demotion and gain the experience he lacked while working as an assistant under Quenneville that earned him this second kick at the can.
Granato will have significantly less talent to work with than he had back in 2003-04, but if this young group simply takes on the passionate, disciplined approach that defined his own playing career, the Avs will be a tougher team to play against in 2008-09.
The truth of it is that Vigneault was no less effective coaching last season than he was the year before, but his chances for success were sabotaged by a devastating string of injuries to the blue line and an inconsistent effort from
Gillis has said he'll be hiring Vigneault's assistants, so it'll be interesting to see who comes on board essentially as his contingency plan. With their loyalty tied to the GM, rather than Vigneault, odds are one of them will be coaching the team on an interim basis before the year's out.
Although there's plenty of speculation that Wilson will bring in fresh blood, I'm thinking it's going to take a proven re-tread to get the job done. Maybe a re-tread who has experience knocking some sense into the enigmatic
My bet? It's gonna be
A three-time winner of the Jack Adams award, Burns is as blue collar as they come. And mean? Let me tell you, worst dressing down of my career came courtesy of Burns in 1992 when he was coaching the Canadiens and didn't like the way I phrased a question about