After just two seasons as Dallas Stars head coach Marc Crawford has been fired.
The Stars announced the move this afternoon just two days after their loss to the Minnesota Wild cost them a playoff spot. Despite a five-point improvement, a second year of playoff-less hockey was enough for GM Joe Nieuwendyk to make a change.
Since Crawford left the Vancouver Canucks, he hasn't found much success, or lasted very long. In separate two-year stints with the Los Angeles Kings and Stars, his teams have failed to reach the postseason, with small improvements in his second year with each. This Dallas team produced the highest point total of a Crawford-coached club since 2003-04.
Already Ken Hitchcock's name has been floated out there as a possible replacement, along with Guy Carbonneau and Kirk Muller. All have ties to the Stars in some fashion. With five openings now in the NHL coaching ranks, the race to nab the "hot assistant coach" or the "up-and-coming AHL/junior coach" will be interesting to watch. Nieuwendyk noted in his press conference today that there's no timetable when he'll hire the next coach.
It's an important offseason for Nieuwendyk and the Stars. The ownership situation is still cloudy, Brad Richards' future in Dallas is up in the air and now Dallas needs to find the right man to install as head coach to build off a season that came within a win of making the playoffs.