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Saturday, May 28, 2011
Stars coaching candidate: Kirk Muller

By Mark Stepneski

The first in a series on possible candidates for the head coaching job of the Dallas Stars looks at Kirk Muller.

Currently

Assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens.

The résumé

*Played 19 seasons in the NHL with New Jersey, Montreal, Toronto, NY Islanders, Florida and Dallas, registering 959 points (357 goals, 602 assists) in 1,349 games. Had 69 points, including 33 goals in 127 NHL playoff games.

*Won Stanley Cup (Montreal, 1993)

*Captain of the New Jersey Devils (1987-91) and Montreal Canadiens (1994-95)

*2nd overall pick (New Jersey) in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.

*Head coach of the Queen’s University Golden Gaels in Kingston, Ontario in 2005-06. Posted an 8-13-1-2 record.

*Assistant coach for Team Canada at 2005 Lotto Cup.

*Assistant coach for Team Canada at 2006 Under-18 World Championship.

*Assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens since 2006.

Positives

With 19 years of playing experience in the NHL, he knows the NHL game and he knows what it takes to win.  As an assistant coach he's shown to be a good communicator with an ability to motivate players. Got high marks for his ability to make in-game adjustments as an assistant in Montreal. The 45-year-old Muller would bring a younger, fresher face to the mix for the Stars, who are moving on after two years under veteran coach Marc Crawford. Muller's the kind of guy who could grow with the Stars as they move forward under new ownership.

Negatives

Limited head coaching experience, serving just one year as the bench boss at Queen's University in Ontario. Has been excellent as an assistant at the NHL level, but not known if he can crack the whip when necessary or how he’d handle tough times when he’s the one responsible for bottom line decisions.

Other suitors

Considered one of the rising stars in the coaching ranks, so he could be on the list of any team looking for a new bench boss.

Quotable

“He’s good at connecting with guys, trying to get the most out of guys. . . . Every coach talks about the system, but he’s good at relaying how the system can work for each individual player.” – Montreal defenseman Hal Gill (Toronto Star, February 2011)