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So I'm gone a week and two major coaching deals?

Ron Washington: In. Dave Tippett: Out.

How can that be?

I'll get to Wash later this week, but I'm still trying to figure out new Stars' GM Joe Nieuwendyk's decision to replace the likeable Tippett with the long ago expired Marc Crawford. (He's gone as long as the Cowboys between post-season success.)

Like a lot of casual hockey fans, I saw the Stars thusly: Momentum from the great run to the 2008 Western Conference Finals sabotaged in 2009 by the regrettable signing of Sean Avery and countless injuries to front-line players.

Right?

Nieuwendyk apparently saw it differently.

I was totally on board with ditching the Brett Hull-Les Jackson experiment, but Nieuwendyk's first hire hardly impresses me. And even worse than what he did, was how he did it.

Apparently he wants to send the early message that it's his team now. Okay, fine. But not soliciting input from team leaders like Brenden Morrow and Mike Modano is just assinine. And then, the way I hear it, no players were invited to Crawford's introductory press conference.

Seems to me if Hull would've surveyed the Stars' room before signing Avery he could've saved a painful detour to the Stars' return to relevance. If anything, Nieuwendyk should've learned that lesson.

Now, if the new GM can go out and acquire a No. 1 defenseman - Chris Pronger, anyone? - he'll go a long way toward rebuilding a player-management bridge that no doubt has been damaged the last 12 months.

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