December 29, 2010
For the Stars this season, it's not the NHL owning the club but a group of lenders that are serving as owners after Hicks Sports Group defaulted on $525 million worth of loans. Their stewardship -- let's not call it ownership -- has left GM Joe Nieuwendyk with little to work with in the way of budget for trades or negotiations with star free-agent-to-be Brad Richards(notes).
Today's signing of defenseman Trevor Daley(notes) to a six-year contract extension worth $19.8 million surprised Defending Big D because of that ownership dilemma: "One wonders what input the lenders and league alike had in the decision."
Yet despite all of this, the Stars thrive: 6-2-2 in their last 10, entering play on Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings with 48 points in 37 games.
Nieuwendyk gave a glimpse into this peculiar moment in the franchise's history during an interview with 1310 Sportsradio The Ticket on Sunday. Dallas Stars Blog has the transcript, and it's an eye-opener. Here's a snippet:
How much does the Stars' financial situation affect you and tie your hands?
Well, in some ways, it does when we're talking to other GMs but all the teams in the league, they understand what we're going through, too. So it's not like I'm getting a ton of phone calls everyday because they know we're limited in what we can do. But, I think the important thing is it doesn't really affect the players; they're kind of isolated from it and there's a belief in that locker room that they can win with the people that they have in that locker room, so it certainly makes my job that much easier.
When you took over as the GM of the Stars, did you know the entirety of the Stars' financial situation? Did you know just how shaky it was?
I didn't. I'll be honest with you; I probably knew as much as I needed to know but once I got in and kind of rolled up the sleeves and dug in, it was quite evident to me. But, I felt very fortunate that I was given the opportunity; it's an organization that I love dearly for the seven years that I played here. And coming back...there's still so many good people involved in this organization that aside from the financial struggles, I believe in the people, I believe in the players and I still believe that we can win that way.
Having a goaltending tandem and a defense that ranks seventh in the NHL in GAA probably doesn't hurt.