Thursday, May 16, 2013
Thursday Morning Cupcheck - One Coach Enters, No Coach Leaves
We come here this morning to praise Gulutzan, not to bury him.
Good morning hockey fans! Last week we casted doubt and aspersion on the Stars' new wunderkind GM. This week, rather than write an obituary for any one of the teams we loathe who bit it in the first round, we're going to address the 10-pound gorilla in the room: the head coaching vacancy.
Now, former coach Glen Gulutzan's shoes won't be easy to fill: It was precisely his inability to get this team over the lady hump that caused his dismissal. It's too bad, too: He was given a roster with 70% turnover, some lazy vets and some jolly-green AHLers and told to make the playoffs. That he got them to be competitive at all is, frankly, impressive.
But along with a new GM comes a new face behind the bench. Fortunately for both of you reading this (hi grandma!), we at Pegasus were able to bind and gag some top Stars executives in the trunk of our '73 Galaxy until they fessed up this information. Here are some secret transcripts of the coaching interviews so far.
Interview #1: Alain Vigneault
Vigneault walks into Jim Nill's office. Nill motions for him to sit down. AV glances at the chair, then makes a loud, exasperated sigh while looking up at the ceiling.
Vigneault: "Are you serious? You honestly expect me to sit there?"
Jim Nill: *mumbles under his mustache* "So, Mr. Vigneault, I have your resume here." *shuffles papers* "So it seems you've been head coach of one of the league's biggest jokes, a soft team of whining hypocrites and cheap shot artists that consistently failed to deliver in big gamesyouknowwhat just get the hell out of my office right this second."
Interview #2: Dave Tippett
Jim Nill: "So, Dave, very impressive body of work down there in Phoenix. Can't say enough about what you accomplished down there."
Tippett: *looks around nervously, pulls collar* "R-really?"
Nill: "Well... yeah, I mean, making the playoffs three straight years with that s**theap of a roster, y'know, that's pretty impressive."
Tippett: *noticeably cringing at the word 'playoffs'* "So, yeah, p-playo... so do I get the job then?"
Nill: "Now just a second there, hoss. I need to ask you a few questions before I start handing out jobs. This is the most important decision I'll ever make as GM, and I need to make sure it's the right one. So, how do you plan to get this Stars team back to the postseason?"
Tippett: *relieved* "Oh, that's easy. Win lots and lots of shootouts, and, barring that, lose lots and lots of shootouts."
Nill: "Okaaay, but this is a Stars team that hardly ever even gets to the shootout, much less overtime. This is a team with a surprisingly high number of regulation wins and regulation losses. Now, I realize that—"
Tippett: *breaking out in a cold sweat, glancing nervously around the room* "D-d-did you say... (gulp)... r-r-regulation?"
Nill: "Yes, of course. I'm modelling this franchise on the Cup-winning Detroit teams of ten years ago, that won two-thirds of their games in regul—"
Tippett bolts for the door, a large wet spot enveloping his pants. Nill gets up to inspect Tippett's chair, then whips out a handkerchief and starts wiping down the naked fear stains.
Interview #3: Lindy Ruff
Nill shows up to his office early, but when he gets there his secretary looks worried. "He's already here." "Who, Lindy Ruff?" "He's been in there for hours." Nill steels himself before walking through his office door.
When he gets inside he sees former Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, who has completely remodeled the entire office with his Stanley Cup Playoff participation ribbons, pictures of himself standing next to various Buffalonian celebrities and Hasek's kids' crayon artwork on the mini-fridge. Ruff's eyes gleam as he spots Nill, and he opens his arms wide in embrace.
Ruff: "Welcome to Casa Lindy!"
Nill: "What the hell are you doing in my office? What is all this crap?"
Ruff: "Well, I just figured that since we'll be best buds for the next 15 to 20 years, we might as well start off on the right note! Eskimo kisses?"
Interview #4: Willie Desjardins
Desjardins silently enters Nill's office. After the two men nod to each other, Desjardins takes a seat.
The two men stare at each other in total silence for one minute. Then another. Then five more. Outside in the hallway, someone, a woman, sneezes. A passenger jet streams by in the distance, leaving a thin white trail of exhaust. A pair of men in cheap suits laugh weakly at a joke outside before heading back in from their break.
Suddenly, Nill's mustache moves of its own accord.
Nill's Mustache: "So, you want the job then?"
Desjardins' Mustache: "Does it come with dental?"
Nill's Mustache: "Yep."
Desjardins' Mustache: "I'm in."
Nill's mustache pushes a contract across the desk, which Desjardins' mustache signs and returns. The two men stand up, bow silently, and depart.
Nill: "Well, that was easy."
Nill's Mustache: "Told ya."