In the name of "hurried journalism", I had a nice chat with first-year Dallas Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan late Friday afternoon, just a few hours before the team dropped a 3-1 game in Pittsburgh.
The Stars are now 11-4-0, and play Saturday night in Detroit against the Red Wings.
Big Mac Blog: You couldn't have expected a start like this?
Glen Gulutzan: No. I think these are the runs that you expect in late November or December. We got off to this start because (goalie) Kari Lehtonen was just spectacular in the first five or six games. Then our depth at forwards started coming through and now we have a line that is really caught fire.
Big Mac Blog: I have heard you say this team has 'bought' in to what you want; why do you think a team with such dramatic roster turnover has done this with a first-year head coach?
Glen Gulutzan: I don't know the reason for it. I don't think it's me. It's the players that we brought in; there really is a lot of character. I think it's the perfect storm. New younger players, seven of them, that want to make an impression. There is no better way to do that than on the ice. The older guys who have been here this is a little new so it's exciting. I really think, though, that this is a team with good characters of people who really want to win.
Big Mac Blog: Do you sense that this hockey market feels to see more of this type of success before they committ and really get behind this team?
Glen Gulutzan: I think it’s true for the NHL. We had 95 points last year so our market is wondering the same thing - is this sustainable and is this thing for real? We are a competitive team, and a hard working bunch and we're fun. We are not going to be a team that rolls over. Once the people in this market realize it can get back to the way it was 10 years ago I do think they'll come out and support us.
Big Mac Blog: Every good team dips; are you curious to see how this team handles that when it happens?
Glen Gulutzan: Well, I haven't told the players that. There are always dips; every Stanley Cup champion has a dip. It's not something we talk about openly, but it's something that our coaching staff and myself have been monitoring. You have to do as much as you can to prevent that dip from being big.
Big Mac Blog: After the first game of the season you said you didn't think center Jamie Benn could be a 100-point player; do you still feel that way?
Glen Gulutzan: Well, I might have changed my mind because you never know with this kid. The reason I said he won't be a 100-point guy is because he's so concerned with two-way hockey. I would bet that if you asked him if he would rather score 102 points and be a minus-6 or score 86 points and a be a plus-24 I'd bet every dollar he'll say 86 and the 24.
Big Mac Blog: Are we talking about a guy who is going to be on Team Canada for the Russian Winter Olympics?
Glen Gulutzan: Yes. He's 22 and he's so tough, and he plays both ways. I know people want team to go out and get big names, but he's that guy. We have one of those guys right here.
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