Unless you live under a rock, you are more than aware of the sudden firing of Dallas Stars Head Coach Jim Montgomery for “unprofessional conduct that went against the organization’s core values”.
While the hockey world and the Stars franchise is in shock, there is still a lot of hockey left to be played this season.
After 113 games at the helm, Montgomery had 60 wins, 43 losses, one playoff series win, took the eventual Stanley Cup Champions to Double Overtime in Game 7 on the road and fully turned around the team after a less-than-stellar start to this year’s regular season, but after an off-ice incident, Montgomery’s tenure in Dallas has come to an abrupt close and making him the third NHL head coach fired this season for non-performance related reasons and the first mid-season coaching change for the Stars since 2002.
In just the last year and change that he was coaching the Stars, Montgomery made a significant impact just like he did in every other stop in his hockey career. Immediately, he was a fan favorite and a popular man in the locker room with the players. The day after he accepted the coaching job in Dallas, he made a Twitter account so that he could keep up with his players and coaching staff closer, on and off the ice. He did all of the little things right with media interviews, connected with the fanbase, volunteered often, and most importantly, got Stars fans smiling again at American Airlines Center with his team’s play.
After his firing, players and upper management in Dallas have described the situation as an “absolute shock”, “great disappointment” and “like a loss of a friend”. The Stars have come back from difficult situations before, but mentally, this could be one of the tougher hurdles.
Whatever happened that was severe enough to relive Montgomery of his bench boss duties, you have to for right now trust that Stars General Manager Jim Nill made the right call. It is hard to argue with when you don’t know the issue/incident story but in this case, if general management saw this as the decision that best benefitted the franchise, then they made the right call.
With less than a month until the Winter Classic at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, the Dallas Stars are right where we thought they would be, and also right where we never expected. They are two games out of the top spot in the Western Conference but started the season 1-7-1. They are one of the hottest teams in the NHL and seem to be showing signs of advancement in at least one facet every game, but are now coached by Rick Bowness.
Life throws obstacles at you constantly, and this Dallas Stars hockey team is no exception. Time for veterans to set up and be leaders through communication and example, not just one or the other.
As a hockey franchise, you always prepare for sudden losses of major contributors on the team, and though they probably didn’t expect it from this angle, the Dallas Stars still have 50 regular-season games to go.
Featured Image: TSN.com