Stars fire Gulutzan after 2 seasons

DALLAS (AP) — The Dallas Stars fired coach Glen Gulutzan on Tuesday, an expected move by new general manager Jim Nill for a franchise that has missed the playoffs a record five straight seasons.

Gulutzan’s dismissal came about two weeks after Nill replaced Joe Nieuwendyk, who was fired after four seasons.

The 41-year-old Gulutzan had the Stars in playoff contention both seasons, but Dallas faltered down the stretch each time. The Stars were 64-57-9 under Gulutzan, including 22-22-4 in the lockout-shortened 2013 season.

Assistant coach Paul Jerrard also was fired. The team planned an afternoon news conference.

“They are both quality coaches and men, but we have decided to go in a different direction with our coaching staff and we wish them well in their next endeavors,” Nill said in a statement.

Assistant coach Curt Fraser and goaltending coach Mike Valley will stay with the club.

Nieuwendyk tried to get Dallas back to the playoffs by adding veterans Jaromir Jagr, Derek Roy and Ray Whitney, but ended up trading Jagr, Roy and longtime captain Brenden Morrow with the team languishing at the trading deadline.

The Stars made an improbable surge to stay alive with a much younger roster, and many of those players are likely to be part of the rebuilding under Nill, who spent 15 years as an assistant GM with Detroit. The Red Wings have the longest playoff streak in North American pro sports at 22 years.

Gulutzan was the second of two failed coaching hires for Nieuwendyk. The former Stars center who was playoff MVP when Dallas won the Stanley Cup in 1999 fired Dave Tippett when he arrived and hired Marc Crawford, who brought a tougher style but couldn’t get the Stars back to the postseason in two seasons.

The Stars plucked Gulutzan from their top affiliate, the Texas Stars of the AHL, after he had spent eight years as a head coach in the minor leagues.