Let’s talk about our new coach! We’ve had him for about a week, and he’s…
Thank you, Dean.
After having a lot of success as head coach of our BB Stars in the AHL, Gulutzan got promoted to the big leagues. This move surprised absolutely no one, because using AHL coaches has become something of a trend in the league (see: Dan Bylsma et al).
When Marc Crawford was fired, there came cries from every which way. Bring back Ken Hitchcock! Promote Desjardins! Not Keenan! Kirk Muller! Stay out of it, Cory Clouston!
We had a TON of options, including assistant coaches from around the league. Because it’s just not cool to hire seasoned veterans anymore. Nope. The new thing is to promote from within or to snatch somebody’s assistant coach.
I could see this move as shaping up to be a good one. From what I’ve picked up, Gulutzan (or “Gully” as they call him) is good with young guys and is an all-around players’ coach. That’s a quite different approach than what ol’ Crow brought to the table. It might have something to do with the fact that, at 39 years old, he’s the youngest coach in Dallas Stars history.
Gulutzan’s got a good resume to the tune of a surprise Calder Cup finals showing in 2010. He clearly knows what he’s doing, and he looks like a calming force leading the bench, as opposed to Crawford’s vehement insanity. Ok, it wasn’t that insane, but it felt like it sometimes.
Here’s a quote from GM Joe on Gultzan and the trend of AHL coaches in the NHL:
I think obviously, the success of Danny Bylsma and Guy Boucher last year in his first year out of the American Hockey League are examples of that, but the league has gotten younger. I think maybe that is a factor, maybe these young coaches that are innovative have a good relationship with those young players. But regardless of that, we have a young coach that we feel is going to be our leader and that’s where his strengths lie. Even though he’s young, he has a relationship with our guys and they’re certainly going to know who’s in charge and they’ll play hard for him.
Bonus: Gulutzan has this Conan O’Brien air about him. I think it’s the hair.