FRISCO -- Dallas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan usually takes a break after the season, but not this year. He’s not used to missing the playoffs.
Gulutzan’s teams made it both seasons he coached in the AHL and five of six years when he was in the ECHL. So, after missing the postseason tournament in his first season as an NHL head coach, Gulutzan and his staff will stay busy preparing for next season.
“Usually I’ve taken a little bit of a break, but this year we won’t. We’ve got to dig in to a few things. We’re asking the players to be better in certain areas and us coaches have to be better. We have to be held to the same standard,” Gulutzan said. “Chances are we won’t work on Fridays, but Monday through Thursday and at nights watching other teams play – we’re going to go through video here until we are ready to go.”
The Stars coach said he probably won’t watch too much of the first round of the playoffs. The emotions are still raw after not getting into postseason play. But he’ll have plenty of video of his team to watch.
Gulutzan spent all day Wednesday holding exit interviews with his players. Talks he said were productive.
“From an interview standpoint they were good and enlightening. They probably ran a little bit longer than everybody wanted, but you’ve got to tidy up loose ends and look for anything that can move you forward,” he said. “I thought we had some good honest dialogue with lots of players and lots of positive stuff that came out of a finish that we really didn’t want. We got a lot of positive stuff and I think everybody is going to be better for it next year.”
Gulutzan is optimistic about things moving forward. He believes the team made strides this season, despite missing the playoffs. And with owner Tom Gaglardi now at the helm and GM Joe Nieuwendyk having more flexibility to add pieces, Gulutzan believes the Stars are ready to take another step forward next season.
“If you look at the young guys we brought up, our D, our goaltending , the way some guys had career years, like Jamie Benn and some of the players we brought in a year ago, if we can build off that a little bit,” Gulutzan said. “Every year you are trying to make your team a little bit better, we did so this year even though we maybe didn’t show it in the standings. We certainly did make some strides with the personnel we brought in. We’ve got to continue to develop from within and maybe bring a couple guys in and put ourselves to be position to be first in the division with one game to go.”