Nieuwendyk Fires Tippett, Hires Crawford and Fails First Test

Brett Hull had already paid the price for his mistakes in Dallas, as had his co-GM Les Jackson, and after six years perhaps it was inevitable that Dave Tippett was going to be fired too.

Oilers fans tend to underrate Marc Crawford out of distaste; he's coached ten seasons for other Northwest Division teams and twelve seasons in the Western Conference.  He won a Cup with Colorado and was the man behind the bench during the Todd Bertuzzi ugliness and during Brian Burke's time in Vancouver - none of which has made him popular in Edmonton.  He's also a middling CBC commentator who mangles names ("Alex" Hemsky, Dwayne "Rolofson") and sometimes says "we" when he talks about the Canucks.

None of that really matters; he seems like an unpleasant and arrogant sort but he's also been a remarkably successful coach, so it isn't like Dallas is doing something crazy and hiring Barry Melrose.

That said, I think this move was a mistake.

Dave Tippett spent four seasons as the head coach of the Houston Aeros in the AHL.  The team's record improved every year, and in 1999 they went 54-15-13 and won the Calder Cup.  The next season, Tippett became an assistant coach in Los Angeles, where he spent three seasons.

Dallas has been an incredible regular-season team during Tippett's time there; prior to this year he'd never missed the playoffs, and the Stars had never lost more than 30 regulation games in a season.  Their lowest winning percentage, prior to this year, was .591.  They went to the Conference finals last year; the year before that they narrowly lost their first round series, going seven games against Vancouver.

Much like Joel Quenneville and Ken Hitchcock, Tippett won't be unemployed long.  He's one of the better coaches in the game, and the implosion in Dallas this season isn't remotely close to being his fault.  Someone other than Joe Nieuwendyk will see that.

Like I said, Marc Crawford is a capable coach, so it isn't like these Stars are going to step into an elevator shaft.  But this move is still a mistake. 

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