Joe Nieuwendyk never got the Dallas Stars back into the playoffs. This is why he is no longer general manager of the once-mighty franchise.
“I’m very proud of what we accomplished,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “I know you get measured on getting to the playoffs and challenging for Stanley Cups, but I feel we’ve made a lot of progress in four years. I feel good about this group of players moving forward.”
Yeah, well, that’s great. The Stars accomplished nothing on Nieuwendyk’s watch. So what is he so happy about?
Nieuwendyk opted to get older this season, adding Jaromir Jagr, Derek Roy and Ray Whitney. Stanley Cup contenders may add a twilight year veteran or two, but why would a rebuilding team choose such a path?
Shouldn't he have focused on adding to the team's core group of young veterans?
It is no wonder new owner Tom Gaglardi opted to go outside the organization and pick long-time Red Wings executive Jim Nill to run his hockey operation.
“I’m excited about this,” Nill told reporters after taking the job. “The bar’s set high. I didn’t come here to be in the playoffs one year, lose another year, be in the playoffs two years, lose two years. That’s not why I came here.
“We’re going to restore this franchise back to what it was, Mike Modano’s years, Derian Hatcher’s years,’’ he added. “We want to win here, and the bar’s going to be set high. We’re going to change the culture a little bit, and I’m excited about that. We have a great staff in place and it’s going to be a great fit.”