Slumping Stars free up cap space, move assistant coach off bench

On this edition of 32 Thoughts, Jeff Marek joined Ron MacLean to discuss Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini on road trip to watch the team, how surgery went for Jack Eichel, the Stars freeing up cap space, and more.

The Dallas Stars have held a players-only meeting, made roster moves – and even a coaching move – while searching for answers as their early-season struggles continue.

“It’s tough in Dallas right now, and this is another challenging week,” said Jeff Marek of the 4-6-2 Stars on the 32 Thoughts segment on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday. “The thing about the Dallas Stars, they’re the only team in the NHL that doesn’t have a regulation win. All their points have come from either the shootout or overtime.”

Moves were made in the off-season to take the Stars further into the playoffs, raising expectations.

“They brought in Ryan Suter to play defence, and the owner expects playoffs,” Marek said. “They lost to Nashville on Wednesday, had a players-only meeting, and after the game as well, Rick Bowness delivered a very short, very terse, 29-second press conference where he said, ‘We know what’s wrong with this team and we’re going to fix it.’

“Now John Stevens, for the first time since he joined the Dallas Stars as assistant coach, is not on the bench. He’s been sent to coach upstairs. A couple of days ago, (GM) Jim Nill waived Blake Comeau and Tanner Kero, and sent Thomas Harley back to AHL Texas, so they freed up some cap space.”

HNIC host Ron McLean asked Marek what his sense was of the events.

“I can’t help but wonder if it’s a conflict with someone there or whether it’s Rick Bowness and Jim Nill saying, ‘We need to shake things up here on this bench, we haven’t done anything with personnel, maybe the first move in redefining this team is to do something with one of the assistant coaches,'” Marek said.

The Stars, the second-oldest team in the NHL behind the Islanders, are getting underwhelming seasons from high-paid stars Tyler Seguin (four goals, three assists in 12 games), Alexander Radulov (one goal, five assists in 12 games) and captain Jamie Benn (two goals, three assists in 12 games).


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