FRISCO, Texas -- Glen Gulutzan couldn't end the longest playoff drought in franchise history for the Dallas Stars and the second-year coach didn't hold the option on the remaining season in his contract.
When the general manager who hired him was dumped two weeks ago, Gulutzan's firing looked like the inevitable next step in an overhaul of the staff and it came Tuesday in an announcement from new general manager Jim Nill. He nevertheless said the move wasn't a foregone conclusion in his mind.
"That's why this process took so long," Nill said. "I needed to do my homework. I needed to get to know everybody. It's tough when you come into a new situation. I wanted to be fair to everyone."
The Stars missed the playoffs in both of Gulutzan's seasons, making it five straight years without a post-season trip for a franchise that crammed 73 playoff games into a four-year stretch a little more than a decade ago.
Joe Nieuwendyk was a prominent member of those Stars teams, winning the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP when Dallas won the Stanley Cup in 1999. He didn't come close to replicating that success as general manager, finally getting replaced by Nill after four years of missing the playoffs.
Gulutzan was the second of two failed coaching hires for Nieuwendyk, who fired Dave Tippett when he arrived and hired Marc Crawford, a Stanley Cup winner with Colorado in 1995.
Crawford brought a tougher style than the player-friendly Tippett, but he missed the playoffs in both his seasons while Tippett took Phoenix to the post-season the first three years after the Stars let him go.
-- The Associated Press