From everyone I have talked to, this is getting done right now and Phoenix would like to announce it today.
From a purely monetary standpoint, the Stars would benefit. Tippett had two years remaining on his contract, and Phoenix will have to assume most of that cost. At market value, an average NHL coach makes about $900,000 a year. Now, the formula on this stuff is very complicated, and the new team can use a few tricks to make the old team pay up (I believe the Stars paid more to Doug Armstrong his first year in St. Louis than the Blues did). But the bottom line is that this should save the Stars some money.
As for the emotional side of this decision, I wish Dave Tippett well, I really like him, but I would have advised him to pass on this opportunity and wait for the next one.
Maybe he knows some things that we don't.
So do you think this is a good move for a coach or jumping into an unwinnable situation?
Optional morning skate, so there weren't too many bodies out there.
Mike Modano skated. Marty Turco was in goal.
Neither are expected to play tonight against Colorado at AAC at 7:30 p.m.. Modano will rest his sore hip. Turco is expected to be the backup to Alex Auld, who will get the start and probably play the whole game in net.
Nicklas Grossman is a little sore after Wednesday's game and will probably not play. Fabian Brunnstrom is expected to be in the lineup for the third night in a row.
Since it was an optional, you will have to choose your lines from these players:
Alex Auld and Marty Turco
Stephane Robidas, Doug Jancevski, Trevor Daley, Karlis Skrastins, Maxime Fortunas, Jeff Woywitka, Garrett Stafford, Ivan Vishnevskiy.
Brenden Morrow, Aaron Gagnon, Ray Sawada, Krys Barch, Toby Petersen, James Neal, Loui Eriksson, Tom Wandell, Steve Ott, Francis Wathier, Brad Richards, Fabian Brunnstrom.
As for Wednesday night, Marc Crawford said he liked a lot of veterans, notably Daley, Skrastins and Matt Niskanen. He said a lot of the problems were made by the younger players (Ivan Vishnevskiy was minus-4), and that's just a part of preseason. He said Marty Turco had a good game, despite giving up four goals.
``I thought Marty played really well,'' Crawford said. ``The goals really came against our young, inexperienced players. It was a case of a few people being a little overwhelmed. It teaches us the lesson of especially when you're tired, do simple things and do them well. We're still have a ways to go in getting that message home.''
He said there will be a big cut on Friday to get close to 23 players.
He also said that in the Wednesday battle between the Stars and Texas Stars next week that Turco will be in goal for the Stars and Auld will be in net for the Texas Stars.
Half the team got the day off and didn't have to practice. That included Mike Modano, who had a day off to rest his sore hip. Coach Marc Crawford said he'll know more about Modano on Thursday, but it doesn't appear serious.
Jere Lehtinen (hip/groin) is moving ahead slowly and skated after practice. He said he would love to get in a preseason game if he can.
Warren Peters (fractured bone in his face) was walking around, but even he didn't know how long he might be out. Apparently, the swelling has to go down to get a better reading.
Marty Turco is scheduled to go the entire game Wednesday at Florida, and Alex Auld is scheduled to get the entire game Thursday at home against Colorado.
Turco will then play the entire game Saturday at home against the Blues (No word on how they will handle the exhibition in Cedar Park).
The practice this morning didn't feature much line work or pairs on defense, but the bodies scheduled to travel to Florida are:
Karlis Skrastins, Trevor Daley, Matt Niskanen, Mark Fistric, Ivan Vishnevskiy, Maxime Fortunas.
Mike Ribeiro, Steve Ott, Jamie Benn, Fabian Brunnstrom, Krys Barch, Toby Petersen, Ray Sawada, Mathieu Beaudoin, Francis Wathier, Luke Gazdic, Tom Wandell.
Mix and match and see if you can come up with the best line combinations.
Talked to Mike Modano afterward. He was walking fairly briskly and looked resplendent in what appeared to be a two-button athletic cut suit in a light gray (that's for the Sean Avery fans out there).
He said he felt a tweak in the hip this morning, skated on it in the pregame warmup and didn't feel good, so he pulled himself out. He was not scheduled to play Wednesday and said he probably won't be ready for Thursday. He said day to day and Saturday is a possibility.
Jamie Benn looked very good in the third period. They moved him up to the Mike Ribeiro line and he finished with six shots on goal and a power play goal. He clearly was better than Fabian Brunnstrom on that line, but the entire team had more urgency in the third period. We'll see how this battle works out.
Here's Brenden Morrow on Benn:
``The games I've seen, he's been one of our best players, if not our best. Every situation that our team has put him in, he's excelled at. He looks like he's going to be a good one. Wherever he plays, he seems to be effective. It's going to be a tough decision.''
As for the game, it was spotty, but Marc Crawford said it was a learning experience:
``I think we are getting there. Our expectation certainly wasn't that we were going to be letter perfect for the game or preseason. There were a lot of good things tonight. I thought in the third period, we got to a pace of the game where we want to play. There is more to do there, especially in convincing our offensive forwards that they are going to be so much better served if they keep their shift time at a level where we can use them on a continual basis. Those long shifts draw so much out of you that it takes a little bit longer for you to get back. We did a lot of good things in the third period; we generated a lot of chances. We made one big mistake on an ill-advised pinch, but apart from that, when you are down a couple of goals and trying to get back into the game, we did a lot of things we want to do; establishing a good net presence, getting net traffic, getting our shots through and hunting down rebounds.''
``We are going to correct the things we can and go back and reinforce the system's strong points of play, but we are also going to demonstrate some patience as well. It's going to take a constant reinforcement to get it.''
Morrow added that the team clearly understands the challenge.
"There's going to be mistakes made. I don't think any of us are real concerned with our effort out there. It was just kind of sloppy plays and being in the wrong places _ just some bad habits. We'd love to win every game and clean everything up, but there's going to be a little bit of a learning curve here."
Morrow had an interesting game. He had no shots on goal, six hits, four giveaways and took two penalties.
"I haven't felt anything in my knee,'' the captain said of his return from knee surgery. ``It's more of a hands and timing issue that's been my problem since camp started. Just getting quick plays, and the timing, those are things I need to get adjusted and focus on going forward.''