Nieuwendyk, 46, was named Stars GM in 2009 and oversaw a stretch in which Dallas has failed to make the playoffs in four straight seasons.
He also pulled the trigger on several big trades, none larger than the deal that sent James Neal and Matt Niskanen to Pittsburgh in exchange for Alex Goligoski.
Neal has gone on to become one of the NHL’s elite wingers and scored a career-high 40 goals last year.
Nieuwendyk also traded longtime Star Brenden Morrow, and was largely responsible for not offering franchise legend Mike Modano a contract extension after the 2009-10 season (Modano went on to play the final year of his career in Detroit).
In Nill, the Stars get a veteran front office man who has worked alongside Wings GM Ken Holland since the mid-90s. He was part of four Stanley Cup winners in Detroit and has been mentioned as a candidate for a number of vacant GM jobs over the last few years.
Ansar Khan of MLive.com notes that Nill was offered the Montreal Canadaiens’ GM job last summer, but turned it down for family reasons.
Dreger also notes there’s been no decision made about head coach Glen Gulutzan’s future with the club.
In an odd twist, Dallas and Detroit are squaring off tonight in a huge game for the Wings’ playoff fate. If Detroit gets at least one point, it clinches a postseason berth.
Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.
OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.
It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.
Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.
In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.
It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.
The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?
“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”
Blame it on injuries if you want, or emphasize the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall hot finish to the season. Either way, Chicago scorched the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-1, a contest that felt more or less over by the time the first period ended 4-0 in the Blackhawks’ favor.
The Blackhawks scored by committee on Wednesday, with Artemi Panarin (goal, assist) and Patrick Kane (two assists) being the headliners. Meanwhile, former Penguin Marian Hossa has quietly climbed to 25 goals on the season.
Meanwhile, the Penguins limped through this one and have now lost four consecutive games.
With this result, the Blackhawks look like close to a lock to win the Central Division title. Meanwhile, the Metro crown is virtually unthinkable for Pittsburgh, and the Penguins might also need to accept the likelihood that they may not enjoy home-ice advantage in the first round.
They’d probably accept that more easily if they can get healthier and get back on track. Wednesday was a little worrisome in those regards.