It’s been a bit of a rough day here in Stars Nation.
Early this morning the Stars announced that they had fired Head Coach Jim Montgomery “due to unprofessional conduct inconsistent with the core values and beliefs of the Dallas Stars and the National Hockey League.”
It’s fair to say that this decision blindsided and shocked not only the fans but seemingly the players and coaches as well. What we currently know is not much, Jim Nill giving a masterclass in giving a press conference without actually saying anything, beyond that he consulted the owners and the General Counsel in the decision.
What we do know from the press-conference is that Nill found out Sunday night about an incident that had taken place several days before and after investigating decided to take immediate action, no players or employees of the Dallas Stars are involved, there are no criminal charges and it does not relate to the measures announced yesterday by Gary Bettman at the NHL GM’s meeting. While there is much wild speculation all over the internet as to what exactly “the incident” is it wouldn’t be useful to speculate here beyond saying that these things typically come out in time.
Rick Bowness is to take charge of the Stars in the interim with Derek Laxdal moving up from Cedar Park as an additional assistant coach. Bowness is a highly experienced hand with 31 seasons as an NHL coach and 9 seasons as an NHL head coach. Although Bowness’ record as a Head Coach is less than stellar it should be noted that most of his work has been with markedly awful teams.
It will be interesting to see how he pulls this team together. Nill noted in the presser that he expects to hire another coach in Cedar Park. Neil Graham, taking over as interim Head Coach of the Texas Stars, has less than a season behind the bench and Travis Moran, although a long-time Texas Stars fixture, has no coaching experience.
One thing that will be interesting to see once this all shakes out is whether Jim Nill has a job after the end of the season. As he himself noted, Montgomery was his hire, and as the third Head Coach in just over three seasons one has to assume that this doesn’t reflect well on the GM.
You have to imagine that much will depend upon the response of the team on the ice and whether Rick Bowness can take the team to the playoffs for the second year in a row.
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