In a surprise move on Tuesday morning, the Dallas Stars fired coach Jim Montgomery. He had been the coach since the start of last season, going 60-43-10 during his tenure, including a trip to the second round of the 2019 playoffs.
There has been a lot of upheaval in the hockey world over the last month, which all started with the firing of Mike Babcock and subsequent allegations of racist comments by former Flames coach Bill Peters. Today's firing was on the heels of commissioner Gary Bettman outlining the league’s plan to deal with this issue, and that teams would be punished for not bringing matters of abuse to the league. Naturally, the assumption was that Montgomery’s had fallen under this mandate, but that is not the case, according to Stars GM Jim Nill:
Jim Nill said will not discuss the incident out of respect for those involved. Did say it had nothing to do with the recent points from the NHL BOG meeting. Also said no other employees involved. There was no criminal investigation involved
— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) December 10, 2019
What this actually is all about, at this point, is unclear. What is clear is the hold-up likely has to do with some ongoing investigation and that they’re not allowed to talk further on details. We can just wait until it’s all released. We don’t have to speculate on the cause.
As for fantasy, this could be a problem. The Stars had really slowed down their pace last year from season’s prior, and that carried into the first few weeks of this season. However, since the 1-7-1 start to the season, the team leads the league in expected goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 (from Natural Stat Trick), and a low shooting percentage kept them from stout point totals. Does the introduction of Rick Bowness – now the interim coach – change what had been going so well? If it does, maybe there isn’t a rebound coming for our Stars fantasy options. Or maybe they play to an even higher pace, as they did earlier in the Benneguin’s era. We just don’t know.
My assumption is that Bowness will just keep things status quo as, again, they have been playing exceptionally well for nearly two months now. This probably won’t have a huge effect on our fantasy options aside from natural positive regression.