12/31/18 – The Fucking Horseshit Dallas Stars: Accountability and the Mustache

 “They’ve been out of the playoffs four or five years, so something does have to change. There has to be some accountability. There has to be accountability to yourself first of all, accountability to your players and accountability to your fans. We need to go from there.”

— Jim Nill, May 3, 2013

Accountability is a funny word that you can’t use lightly. It’s one of those words that you better mean when you use it because the moment you hold yourself to lower standards than you hold the people below you in the power structure you lose all credibility.

That doesn’t imply that mistakes are unacceptable. They’re a necessary part of any process because mistakes lead to teachable moments that help people grow to become better than they were. When a mistake is made, however, if it isn’t owned the problem becomes worse. The Stars front office is stiff arming away the idea that they need to be accountable and possibly irreparably damaging their credibility.

By blaming Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn for the lack of success this season Stars management has shielded the rest of the roster from criticism and taken the focus away from the on ice product they assembled. What their intent was here is irrelevant. They have directly blamed two of the most talented and productive hockey players in the world for a mediocre team season when the roster has 21 other members.

Initially the story seemed to be that Jim Lites was telling the media how he felt about the team. Then it became more obvious that Tom Gaglardi had something to do with this when the Scott Burnside piece came out where Burnside staunchly defended Gaglardi’s right to say whatever he wants about employees. It turns out that Jim Nill and the rest of the front office knew the message was coming too.

Nill was still mostly in the clear here until he issued virtually the same statements as Gaglardi through The Athletic.

“First of all, the hockey message that Jim (gave) was dead-on,” Nill said. “I think that message had to get out there. We’ve all got to be better, from the top, from management to coaches to players, all the way down, we’ve got to be better. So, the message is right. I’ve talked to Jim, I don’t condone the language or the tone. Jim and I have talked. He’s emotional, he wears the star in his heart, and he got emotional and understandably. So I don’t condone that, but the message that was sent from him and management I think was dead-on correct, and I agree with all of that.”

Where did Jim Lites say the team, management, and coaches need to get better? He said Benn and Seguin. This is spin and talking out of both sides of your mouth, Jim. “I don’t agree with the language, but the message was dead-on”. You either agree with the message that Benn and Seguin are at fault, or you think everyone has to be better.

S-P-I-N.

And the spin isn’t even the most galling part about this statement. It’s the idea that Nill can hide behind these words while trying to make both his bosses and the players happy. You can’t try to soften the blow after the fact. Gaglardi and now Nill are both trying to blunt the tip of the spear they threw at Benn and Seguin. It looks a million times worse than simply owning the message.

There can be zero doubt that Nill was involved in orchestrating the message. Shapiro hints at it in the previously linked article. This answer from Nill’s post season interview with Shapiro shows how frequently he is in contact with Gaglardi.

Have you talked about this season with Stars owner Tom Gaglardi?

I’ve talked daily with him. And of course, and well they shouldn’t be, they aren’t happy at all. They’ve invested a lot in this, they’ve given us the tools, we had to, and we didn’t get the job done.

The front office orchestrated this attack on 14 and 91 without a doubt. From all reports Lites has said nothing to the players all year. Why would you have him deliver the message if you weren’t looking for the most spectacular way to have it delivered? If you wanted it delivered calmly and succintly the messenger is Nill or Gaglardi. They got exactly what they hoped to get, but the backlash caught them off guard.

“We’ve had meeting after meeting after meeting. The accountability on the ice is not there. 

Lites threw around the word accountability then singled out “on the ice”. When is the last time someone off of the ice was held accountable other than the coaching staff? The players play to the best of their abilities given the constraints laid down by the coaches. The coaches can only work with the players they are given. The Stars have gone through three coaches in the last five seasons.

Say what you want about Lindy Ruff and Ken Hitchcock, but they’re 3rd and 6th all time in wins. Jim Montgomery is coming off of a highly successful NCAA career that includes a championship pedigree. They must be doing something right.

“I’m telling you, we are gonna run through a GM who does everything he can to make the team better because we aren’t getting results.”

If he and his staff have tried everything they can to make this roster better then that suggests they’re out of ideas and this is the best they can do. If this is the best they can do then perhaps the necessary end for this regime is close. If accountability actually means anything to this organization then it should start at the top. Last I checked neither Benn nor Seguin signed the checks for Martin Hanzal, Marc Methot, Roman Polak, Brett Ritchie, or Devin Shore.

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2 thoughts on “12/31/18 – The Fucking Horseshit Dallas Stars: Accountability and the Mustache

  1. THIS is the article that should be on the Athletic website. Congratulations for 1) showing Burnside for what he is…a petty, butthurt, wee fellow, who is a lackey for Stars management and 2)showing Saint Nill’s involvement in this.
    I’m recalled of the old adage: when you point your finger, you have three pointing back at you.
    #FireLites #FireNill #StarsNeedANewOwner

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