Just as I had begun to personally debate if the Dallas Stars should keep their coach and consider making a move, the Stars and GM Joe Nieuwendyk made their decision. I was working on a post that would ask everyone out there if they would keep Marc Crawford or fire him, but had to scrape that this afternoon as the Stars announced that they were giving Crawford the ax. Two days after his second season with the Stars ended with another season without playoff hockey in Dallas, Crawford has been removed from the Stars coaching position.
GM Joe held a press conference today. “This decision didn’t come today. It came over the last however long. I have a responsibility – even though I am proud of what we’ve accomplished and I am proud of our players of the way they hung together – I have to make a decision on how we get to the next level. We do have a lot of good things in place. I think that is probably the hard thing for Marc, is that he realizes that I don’t have the confidence that he is the guy, for me, to get to the next level.”
While the Stars did look like a better team this season then last, they still continued to struggle in the same areas and again will be watching the playoffs instead of participating. A large part of the bad taste in everyone’s mouth right now is that this team was in the top 3 of the conference for half the season and they were a different team for a while. But eventually their flaws started costing them and the struggles on defense and specials teams never changed. Nieuwendyk said “we had dips that we couldn’t seem to get out of at different times during the second half of the season that ultimately cost us. We needed to beat the teams we had to in order to get to the playoffs. It wasn’t going to be a situation as we saw in the last month-and-a-half of the season where we were going to be able to back into the playoffs, even though we had a lead in the division at one point. Teams were charging and teams were playing hard and they were earning their way into it. We faced adversity with injuries, but we weren’t able to get the job done. Give credit to the teams that got in, but we want to be one of those teams consistently.”
So now the team has to start looking for their next head coach. No owner, no money, no coach. This will be an interesting situation for the Stars. Joe says he is not going to rush into deciding the next coach and I trust that he has learned something here. For all of the smart moves that I agree with that Joe has done, the one glaring decision that many question was hiring Crawford. In the end his “system” that was supposed to bring offense and a better powerplay, brought more attacking but only further showed the team’s issues on defense and penalty killing while not really helping the powerplay. Can’t say I’m surprised at all and I’m happy with it, but now we are all just waiting and hoping that the Stars find the right coach for the team.