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RAZOR'S RANTS: New direction in Dallas

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RAZOR'S RANTS

Daryl Reaugh recently finished his sixth season as color analyst for the Dallas Stars on Fox Sports Net Southwest. A veteran of television and radio broadcasts since 1990, Reaugh came to Dallas from the Hartford Whalers, where he was the color analyst in 1995-96. Reaugh has also shown his talents to a national audience through his work with various networks, including FOX. Reaugh's playing career included stints in the NHL with both the Edmonton Oilers and Hartford Whalers. His promising career was cut short in 1991 due to a severe hamstring injury. Prior to turning pro, he was an All-Star netminder for the Kamloops Blazers under former Stars coach Ken Hitchcock. Reaugh gives FOXSports.com his insight weekly. FOXSports.com: The Stars have a new head coach in Dave Tippett and a new assistant in Andy Moog. What do you think of all the changes with the staff down in Dallas? Daryl Reaugh: Obviously, it's a completely different direction, as far as the composition of their coaching staff, outside of Rick Wilson, who's going to stay on in the same capacity as associate coach. There are some different philosophies, and nowhere near as much experience as Ken Hitchcock had behind the bench. But you talk to anybody and they'll tell you the only knock against Dave Tippett is that he has not coached for extended periods of time at this level. But he's won everywhere else. At least he got a taste of being a head coach on this level this past season when (Kings coach) Andy Murray got injured in that car accident. As you look at this thing, as it gets more and more fleshed out, it's looking more and more like a real hungry, cohesive coaching staff. That's exactly what this organization needs right now, some fresh ideas and some freshness for the players. And a goalie coach. Having Andy Moog not only as a goalie coach, but as an assistant coach, because he is a very knowledgeable hockey guy, adds to that. They'll add one more assistant, too. There are strong rumors that Guy Carbonneau will be added here in a managerial category. All of a sudden you're looking at the staff and you say to yourself, "That's a pretty friggin' good coaching staff." We've talked about this before. In my eyes, this is not a very good team. There are lots of good players, but it's not a very good team. Part of that responsibility is going to fall on the coaching staff, to turn them into a strong team. Part of it, too, is the fact that they have some voids in some key areas, and that's where this summer free agency, and perhaps the draft, come into play. The staff seems to be rounding out, but they're going to need players. Any coach will tell you he's only as good as what he has. It has to be constructed properly and they have to work together and move forward as a team. That's the kind of thing that didn't happen last year. The team ended up being very poorly constructed and they never ended up playing as a team. Obviously, the paramount position is goaltending. That's why Andy's here, to try to help Marty Turco, who is as athletic a goaltender as there is in the league right now and has had great numbers as a backup. He'll have some kind of a mentor here and someone who'll give him a little bit of a base as far as mechanics go. And really, Andy will just be someone for Marty to talk to, somebody to run things by and to break him down. It looks like all the bases will be covered, but it'll take time to get it all fleshed out. Then it's just up to executing what they've set in motion. I'm pretty excited. The biggest thing here, too, is the fans are starting to get excited about it again. Because there was a real bad taste in everybody's mouth after last year. Now you get a sense that there's a real good buzz around here that this team's probably going to be fun to watch and that it's extremely talented. Everybody loves a winner, and it looks like they may give them one again. FOXSports.com: You must know Andy Moog pretty well from your days in Edmonton. DR: Yeah. I was the third guy when Grant Fuhr and Moog were there. And then Andy got into a contract dispute with Glen Sather and left to play with the Canadian national team. That was my opening to go in and play on that time. Yeah, I've known him since I was drafted by Edmonton. Even when he was working for Vancouver, he kept his home here in Dallas (where he played from 1993-97). It's a really good move. Just to have somebody who played here, and if they do end up with Carbonneau, they'll have another guy who played here come back into the organization again. I think they're at the point in Dallas Stars history, six or seven years in, where you have to start retaining those guys. You try to draw on what type of players they were in different roles as coaches or managers. FOXSports.com: Have you spoken to any of the players since Tippett came aboard? DR: Yeah, a few of them. They're really excited. But most of the guys I talked were disappointed with themselves in their eyes. They have respect for Hitch, because they won with him. They have a lot of respect for Rick Wilson, and they kick themselves that they weren't able to win for him. With Tippett coming in, there's that sense that everybody's going to come in with a clean slate. It's somebody from the outside coming in to have a look at things and change things and push things in a different direction that everybody's excited about. FOXSports.com: You touched on the goaltending a bit. Yesterday, Stars GM Doug Armstrong announced he wouldn't be bringing Ed Belfour back to Dallas. DR: Yeah. Look, Eddie's going to be great next year. For my money, I think he's going to be outstanding next year. But it's pretty obvious that it had just run its course here, with what had gone on, with some mistakes by him. The franchise is trying to change things and go forward. There comes an end for everything, whether it's retirement or not re-signing or trades, like with Joe Nieuwendyk. It got to the point where Marty's been pushing him. At some point, you have to play the guys you've drafted. You can't just have your youth suppressed forever. I don't care how much money you've got. They got to that point here, and that, coupled with some of the things that had gone on with him here, went into the decision. It's tough, because not only was he a great goalie here, and they wouldn't have a Stanley Cup without him, but he was well immersed into the community with charity work. Obviously, everywhere he's played, he's been a fan favorite, and he was so here. It's difficult in the interim, but we've been around this game long enough to know people move forward quickly, because that's what fans do. FOXSports.com: You also talked about Hitchcock. What do you think he'll do in Philadelphia? DR: It's a perfect fit. They need a goaltender. They need an elite, experienced NHL goaltender if they're going to move forward. FOXSports.com: That sounds like somebody we were just talking about. DR: I don't know. I don't think that's going to happen. I don't see Hitchcock and him hooking up again. Ever. I have no information, but I think he's going to end up in Chicago. He's going to work out with Vladislav Tretiak all summer. He's their goalie coach. They need a veteran goaltender they can trust. He's got a history there. I don't know why they wouldn't bring him back. Curtis Joseph in Philly? I can believe that one. They know that's the piece they need right now. They need a goaltender that can win a Stanley Cup. I know CuJo hasn't done it, but Eddie hadn't done it until he got here, either. That whole situation reminds me of that. Hitch is walking into a perfect situation for him. He's got a very good team. He's got a group of guys who failed miserably in an opening-round loss, and, by all reports, didn't have the kind of direction from their coaching staff that they needed. Take nothing away from Bill Barber and what he did in the minors and what he was able to do when the took over in Philadelphia, but it just sounded to me like there were some issues with bench coaching and with some Xs and Os. That's where Hitch always excels. That and bringing a team together. He's got history there. He'll have the media wrapped around his finger there. I hope he does great. And I think he will. FOXSports.com: What are your thoughts on the Colorado-Detroit series? DR: It's good hockey. I don't know how many times during the first round I talked to people about the violence in hockey and how bad it is. But, I sit watching these conference final games, longing for Toronto-Islanders again. You know? I spent my whole day looking forward to those games at night. To be honest with you, I don't sit around waiting for Detroit and Colorado to get going again. The games are compelling, because they've been tight, but I don't know that they've been great games as of yet. Maybe it's just Western Conference bitterness, or something. I don't know. What I do appreciate watching is Joe Sakic, who should've hit a wall by now. There's no way you can play at the level he's played at and excel as long as he has and still have something to give. And to watch Peter Forsberg come back like he has is both good and bad. He's such an amazing talent, but he's also irritating in a lot of ways. On Detroit, I love to watch Chris Chelios. I think he's what hockey players are all about. I love watching Steve Yzerman. I can just imagine how long he spends in the tub before the game and after the game, just to keep playing, because he can barely get himself up off the ice. But to me, that's what a leader and that's what a captain is all about, and that's what Steve Yzerman is. And Hullie (Brett Hull), obviously. I have a lot of respect for him after being around him for a few years down here in Texas. I'd love to see him have some success somewhere else, too. There's so much more offense on both those teams to be 1-1 in overtime. I wish there was some way of unleashing some of that so we'd see a few more of those go-after-one-another, 5-4 games. But, we know those aren't going to happen. FOXSports.com: You'd think you might see more games like that in the Carolina-Toronto series. DR: Yeah. Toronto's a team that shouldn't be an underdog, but they've been the underdog throughout the playoffs, it seems. I remember back in 1999 with this club, there were five guys who had to take a needle just to get into Game 6 of that series. If they hadn't taken a needle, they wouldn't have been able to play. And you can be guaranteed there are probably five or six guys on the Leafs who are needing a little help getting into the game. With Pat Quinn being ill, it seems there are new adversities every day in Toronto. That city's got to be going ga-ga with playoff hockey. I'd love to see them get by Carolina, as much as there are people in Carolina who I know from my Hartford Whaler days. I still think if you had Detroit-Toronto, two Original Six teams, it might not be exciting for people out West, because it would seem like it's the Eastern Conference against the Eastern Conference, but that would be a good matchup. The Leafs would be really overmatched against Detroit, but so would Carolina. I'd just like to see them persevere somehow, because they should be watching hockey right now, not still playing. So they've shown an awful lot of heart.
Tagged: Red Wings, Oilers, Stars, Islanders, Avalanche, Chris Chelios, Steve Yzerman, Marty Turco, Ed Belfour, Joe Nieuwendyk, Joe Sakic

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