Tuesday, November 13, 2007

High Noon for Armstrong in Big D

Playing .500 hockey is not good enough in Texas, as Doug Armstrong the General Manager of the Dallas Stars since 2002 found out on Tuesday morning. Five years on the job after taking over the GM duties on the day that Ken Hitchcock was let go, he has watched the Stars make a run in the regular season only to falter in the playoffs, unable to return to the Stanley Cup finals since their much celebrated 1999 victory.

It's a decline that has seen the Stars drop from what owner Tom Hicks calls "the elite status in the NHL" and one that he decided to take action on today. Deciding to let Armstrong go and make the ever popular change in direction.
He made the long time employee, (Armstrong had been on staff since 1991) the first tick on a clock that may run out on a few more employees, before the Stars return to the orbit that the owner believes they should be in.

While the Stars have been hanging on to break even in the standings, there have been some disturbing signs of late, blown leads and struggling play on the ice, the most recent example of frustration a third period collapse against the Kings over the weekend. Add on to that misfires on the trading block and free agency signings that haven't worked out and the die seems to have been cast early on for today's announcement.

For the moment an interim GM will be found from within the organization. Leaving the status of head coach Dave Tippet unclear until the movement in the front office comes to an end.

Most likely to take over from within, are Director of player personnel Dave Taylor, a former GM with Los Angeles or Les Jackson who is the teams assistant General Manager and long time director of amateur scouting.

The rumour mill hasn’t offered up any long shot suspects yet for a replacement, but one wonders how long it will take for the name of Brett Hull to surface as a possible candidate. The retired former Star remains close with the Stars, most recently trying to convince Swedish star Peter Forsberg to return to the NHL in a Stars uniform.

Whether he has the necessary experience yet to run a team is a matter for debate, but one thing is certain the press conferences out of Dallas would certainly be a fair amount more entertaining than most other NHL outposts.

Dallas Stars.com-Dallas Stars relieve Doug Armstrong from Duties as General Manager Associated Press-Stars fire Armstrong
Globe and Mail-Things may get worse in Dallas
CBC News-Dallas Stars fire GM Armstrong
Fort Worth Star Telegram- Stars fire GM Armstrong
Dallas Morning News-Doug Armstrong out as GM of Dallas Stars

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