We've been figuring to get this news for a little bit, and now it's official: Stu Barnes officially retires after a 16-year NHL career, and he also signs a two-year deal to become an assistant coach for the Dallas Stars. That will take him through the 2009-10 season. He will do a little of what Ulf Dahlen was doing the past few seasons, but will obviously be more in the learning process at the start.
Also, assistant coaches Mark Lamb and Rick Wilson have signed two-year deals, so they are now signed through 2010-11 along with head coach Dave Tippett.
I was hoping this is what Barnes would do regarding his post-retirement. I just talked to Barnes, and he said coming back as a Stars player "wasn't going to work out." The team did re-sign Toby Petersen earlier this summer, so it seems the passing of the baton was under way. But Barnes' health situation was another big factor; he struggled with this last concussion, and was still feeling effects just after the season ended. He said he's felt good the past few months, but admits he hasn't been pushing himself like he would as a player, so who knows what he would've felt like during his normal season preparations.
Nevertheless, he wanted to stay with the Stars. He and his family love it here (they all live here in season, and the kids just started school a few days ago), and he said his kids were thrilled when he told them of the coaching opportunity. All in all, Barnes is very excited about his chance.
"It just didn't look like it was going to work out (to stay as a player). For me, it wasn't a big thing, because I was leaning toward retirement anyway. You base your decision on where you want to be in life, and for me, it was time to move on and do something different. Now I have an opportunity to learn from a different angle."