I know a lot of talk will center around Dave Tippett, and I fully understand that.
In a lot of ways, I agree that Tippett is clearly doing more with what he has in Phoenix than Marc Crawford is doing with what he has in Dallas.
But, I think Crawford has a bigger challenge.
Bottom line, Joe Nieuwendyk fired Dave Tippett and hired Marc Crawford because he believes that Crawford's aggressive system is the kind of hockey he would like to see in Dallas. It is the hockey that teams in Chicago, San Jose, Washington and Pittsburgh are winning with, and it could be the kind of hockey that more teams try to play in the new NHL.
But it's not an easy way to play hockey. In fact, it plays right into the hands of a team like Tippett's. The Stars want to move the puck quickly through the neutral zone and try to out-man the opposition defense. The Coyotes like to sit on those teams that want to move the puck quickly through the neutral zone, steal the puck and go in on the counter-attack.
Now, on Sunday, there was some irony. Keith Yandle snuck down into the right circle and got a great scoring opportunity. That's exactly what the Stars would like Matt Niskanen or Trevor Daley to do more of. So you can argue that Tippett is indeed adapting to the talent he has _ and Yandle is talented.
The Coyotes lead the NHL in goals scored by defensemen at 34, so it's difficult to argue that Crawford's system is somehow squeezing more out of the Stars' talent.
Could Tippett have done this in Dallas, especially if Rick Wilson was still around as associate coach? Would he have had the same energy coaching in the same place for the seventh consecutive season or did he get refreshed by the move? Did the Stars need to change no matter what?
It's hard to say.
Bottom line, this is Joe Nieuwendyk's team and he has to build it in the manner that he feels comfortable.
I do not believe the Stars were in on talks for Dion Phaneuf. I don't think they felt he was a good fit for their team. So we have to wait and see what happens now.
But I will say that Coyotes should serve as inspiration, if nothing else. They are at $40 million and they are 15 games over .500. They are not issuing any excuses, they are finding ways to win.
And that is what pro sports is all about.