Glen Gulutzan

New Stars coach credits team’s character for hot start

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Hands up if you’d heard the name Glen Gulutzan a month ago.

Check that. Hands up if you’d heard the name Glen Gulutzan before you read that sentence.

Gulutzan, if your hand is down, is the new head coach of the Dallas Stars. He was hired in June to replace Marc Crawford.

The Star-Telegram’s Mac Engel spoke with the first-year bench boss about the team’s 11-3-0 start that has it sitting first overall in the NHL.

Gulutzan is quick to give all the credit to the players.

“I don’t think it’s me,” he said. “It’s the players that we brought in; there really is a lot of character. I think it’s the perfect storm. New younger players, seven of them, that want to make an impression. There is no better way to do that than on the ice. The older guys who have been here, this is a little new so it’s exciting. I really think, though, that this is a team with good characters of people who really want to win.”

Gulutzan also has high praise for Jamie Benn, the big winger who leads the Stars with 18 points in 14 games.

“He’s 22 and he’s so tough, and he plays both ways,” said Gulutzan. “I know people want the team to go out and get big names, but he’s that guy. We have one of those guys right here.”

The Stars continue their four-game trip in Pittsburgh tonight. They’ve already beaten Carolina and Washington. Tomorrow they’re in Detroit to play the Red Wings.

Tough trip. But so far, so good.

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.

Bruins put Morrow on IR, bring up Cross

Brady Skjei, Joe Morrow
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Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.

With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:

Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.

Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.

Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.

The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?