All right, y’all. I will tell you, straight up, that when I found out about this I was at the car dealership waiting on my car to get fixed. I immediately called Bethany, and she screeched – she hadn’t heard of Tippett being fired. I, of course, heard about it yesterday, and it made me horrifically sad. I was hoping that it was just a rumor, just one of those things that TSN gets wrong. Sadly, it was not.
I think I may have liked Tippett more on a personal level than on a coaching level. He certainly made some poor choices when it came to how he coached the team. This past season, the team struggled right out of the gate, fueled by things like injuries and “The Avery Situation”. The way Tippett handled the goaltenders was, to me, his biggest and most annoying flaw. Despite Turco not playing up to his standards, Tippett refused to put Tobias Stephan in net. Stephan was only used when the game was already so far blown that it didn’t matter anyway. Certainly, we’ve all heard about Tippett as a “players’ coach”, how he’s not hard enough on his players. I mean, I’m not claiming to know or anything, but every time that bottom lip disappears and his voice gets all low and scary? I wouldn’t need him to yell, I’d just say “Yes, sir” and work my ass off.
But, I’m getting off-topic, which happens when you stay on the phone until 6:30am instead of sleeping. Dave Tippett was unceremoniously fired yesterday (as it’s been reported, Tippett asked Nieuwendyk to keep the lid on the news until today, but we all know that news in the sporting world is easily spread), and this morning we all awoke to the news of Marc Crawford being the new head coach of the Dallas Stars. Do I think this is a step in the right direction? I don’t know – only time will tell that.
Crawford is known for the Bertuzzi incident coaching a high offense, simple but solid defense, sort of team. That is fine with me. I have no issues with that part, or the fact that he’s sort of a hard-ass coach. My huge, main concern is that when he was let go from the Kings in 2008, it was said that he had a serious lack of patience with young players who were still learning. This is a HUGE problem for me. The Stars are a team in transition. Older players, like Modano, Zubov, and Lehtinen, are being forced into lesser roles, while younger players take their turn in the spotlight, and the even younger begin to learn. I do think that the Stars have the potential to be a solid team this next season, barring any serious injuries. But when most of your defense is under the age of 25? Or how about some star rookies, who may fall into sophomore slumps this season? How will Crawford handle that? By demanding more of them, when they don’t fully know what it is they need to be doing? Maybe it’s the mother hen in me, but these young players need nurturing, not yelling and screaming every time they make a mistake. They need someone to say “Look, you messed up. Learn from it, and don’t do it again.” They don’t need a coach all up in their face, screaming at them incoherently.
All in all, this feels like a very knee-jerk decision by Nieuwendyk – but then, what do I know? It’s possible that he had this vision of what he wanted the team to be right from the start. All I know is that I’m really tired of these sorts of decisions. Most of them I’ve been okay with the firing, not okay with the hiring. It all started with Doug Armstrong. I was okay with him being fired, I was not okay with HullJack (well, I wasn’t okay with the Hull part of the equation). I wasn’t okay with Sean Avery (no matter how much I tried), and I’m not okay with the hiring of Crawford. I can see the argument to let Tippett go, and I’m okay with it – I’m sure he’ll find another coaching job (Minnesota! Minnesota!), but this whole Crawford thing is really rubbing me the wrong way.