DALLAS – Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow did his homework on Glen Gulutzan, who was formally introduced as the team’s new head coach at a press conference Monday morning at American Airlines Center.
When Gulutzan’s named surfaced as a leading candidate for the Dallas job, Morrow called around to guys he knew who have played for the Stars’ new bench boss. What he heard were glowing reviews.
“They've all said, 'This is the guy you want leading your team,'” Morrow said.
Morrow was one of two Stars players at Monday’s press conference. Forward Toby Petersen was the other. He also had heard positive things about Gulutzan, who comes to Dallas after two years as the coach of the team’s minor league affiliate, the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.
"In talking to other players who had played for him, even before he was up for the job, all the others said what a great teacher he is," said Petersen. "How calm he is and how patient he is. I think those are great attributes that will definitely come in to play at this level."
Petersen got to experience Gulutzan’s coaching ability at the AHL level last season, playing one game with the Texas Stars while on a conditioning assignment. It was a 3-2 loss at Lake Erie.
"I noticed he was patient, a calming presence behind the bench," Petersen said. "Obviously through the course of that game there was a lot going on, tough calls and things like that, and I could just tell he was used to dealing with that stuff. You do that over the course of the season that can be a very helpful thing for a team because you are going to go through a lot of ups and downs during a long schedule."
The game has evolved over the years and so have the players. They are younger and how coaches relate to those players has evolved as well.
“The learning has changed. There’s a lot more video,” said Morrow. “Young guys just want to see everything on video. They don’t want to be yelled at and screamed at anymore. I think a guy like Gully, who is kind of new and fresh, and has played the game and is not too far from it, I think they get that.”
Gulutzan takes the Dallas job with no NHL experience as either a coach or as a player. Morrow doesn’t see that as a problem since Gulutzan played the game professionally in the minors and in Europe.
“He played the game and I don’t think it matters what level you played it. As long as you played it you can relate to the pressures of it and there are pressures at every level,” Morrow said. "I think from just hearing him speak I think he is going to get the attention of the players. … Players that have played for him have respected him. I've talked to a few guys. I don't know Gully well. I've talked to him during training camp. The guys that played with him in the past thought he was a pretty special coach, and they really enjoyed playing for him. You want to win for a guy like that."
“You can’t win without your leaders and we’ve got really good leaders here. Any success that I’ve had as a coach over the last nine years is because of the people around me. If you are surrounded by good character you are going to be OK. It’s certainly good to get to know the guys, but what gets me excited is that I know there is a lot of character in that locker room.”
Dallas Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan