DALLAS – The Dallas Stars have fired head coach Dave Tippett.
A source told The Canadian Press that the Stars gave Tippett his walking papers Wednesday after six seasons. Over that span, Tippett had amassed a 271-156-28-37 record and twice led Dallas to Pacific Division titles.
His dismissal comes after the NHL club hired former Stars’ player Joe Nieuwendyk as its general manager earlier this month.
Tippett was an assistant coach for Canada at the IIHF World Hockey Championship last month. Ironically, Nieuwendyk was an assistant GM to Doug Armstrong on that squad.
Dallas finished 12th this season in the Western Conference with a 36-35-11 record (83 points) and missed the playoffs for the first time under Tippett. Last season, the Stars had a 45-30-7 mark and finished the year with 97 points.
Also this season, the Stars had to deal with the distraction created by derogatory comments made by forward Sean Avery about a former girlfriend, actress Elisha Cutbert.
Avery was suspended for six games by the NHL on Dec. 5 and agreed to undergo counselling.
The Stars placed Avery on waivers in February and he was ultimately claimed by the New York Rangers.
Stars captain Brenden Morrow (ACL) played in only 18 games, veteran defenceman Sergei Zubov (hip) missed all but seven games, and Brad Richards was out for most of the final two months with hand and wrist injuries.
Prior to joining the Stars, Tippett spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings.
Tippett, of Moosomin, Sask., played 11 seasons in the NHL as a forward with the Hartford Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals.
He accumulated 93 goals and 169 assists in 721 career games.
In 1999, he led the Houston Aeros to the Turner Cup title while serving as the IHL club’s head coach and GM.
Tippett was hired May 21, 2002, by the Stars and made the post-season in his first five seasons, winning two division titles.
Dallas lost to eventual Stanley Cup winners Detroit in the conference finals in 2008 and came into the season with high aspirations.
However, the Stars missed the playoffs for the third time since moving to Dallas in 1993 and for the first time since hiring Tippett.
Owner Tom Hicks decided to shake up his front office last month.
He reassigned co-general managers Brett Hull and Les Jackson within the organization and hired Nieuwendyk, the Conn Smythe Award in ’99.