SBD/May 1, 2013/Franchises

Columnist: Stars Made Right Call In "Cleaning House," Bringing In New GM Nill

Nill will get to know the Stars staff before deciding who will remain
Stars Owner Tom Gaglardi this week "made the right decision to clean house" when he fired GM Joe Nieuwendyk and hired Red Wings Assistant GM Jim Nill to fill the position, according to Tim Cowlishaw of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Gaglardi was "quiet for most of his first 18 months as owner, but as he watched with patience, he didn’t see a management team in place with the experience and the determination to make all the right moves." The fact that Gaglardi did "not hire his friend," former Maple Leafs President & GM Brian Burke, "says something." The hiring of Burke "would have made much bigger headlines nationally and in Canada." Gaglardi is "well aware his team needs to create a buzz." But he was "convinced there is not a harder worker in the game with greater knowledge of players at all levels than Nill." Gaglardi "wanted him to bring a sense of what works in Detroit to Dallas" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/1). Nill said that he "expects to interview key people in the organization before making any official announcements." He said, "Everything has happened very quick here, and I’m going sit down with all of the staff and we’re going to go through everything. It’s going to be about a two-week process, and we’ll make decisions from there. But right now, we’re going to be very patient with decisions, we’re not going to rush through anything. I’ve been sitting on the outside. I need to get on the inside, and we’ll go from there" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/30).

CHANGING STRATEGY: Nill said that he received "numerous offers from other teams throughout his career in Detroit", but it was Gaglardi and Stars President & CEO Jim Lites’ "pitch that sold him on leaving for Dallas." In Ft. Worth, Travis Brown noted operating under a new CBA, Nill "believes solid drafting and player development are the only ways to stay competitive in the continually changing NHL." Over the next two weeks, Nill will "get to know all of the current Stars staff and said that only after that would he begin to make decisions on who will remain next season, most notably head coach Glen Gulutzan." Before the '13-14 season starts, there "undoubtedly will be change in and around the Stars’ organization, 'cultural' or otherwise" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 4/30). Also in Ft. Worth, Mac Engel wrote Nill has to "change what has troubled this team for so long few can remember -- no one pays enough attention to put pressure on this team to win." No one is "calling anybody out." The Stars' "core fan base is so small and loyal that it’s not big enough to make a dent, and the members of the media that say a word make even less of an impression." This "problem is not specific" to the Stars. Engel: "A lot of teams in non-traditional markets fight it. People don't care enough to be mad." Gaglardi "realizes a malaise is draped over the team." Gaglardi: "The bar has to be higher. ... The danger is if you don't win and let it go on for too long it can get tougher. You have to raise the bar" (, 4/29).
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