Q&A with Tom Gaglardi

Here’s a brief question and answer with Stars owner Tom Gaglardi on the team’s season.

Thoughts on the season

“You have ups and downs and right now it is a down. I think to properly comment on it you need to take some time because the highs are too high and the lows are too low. Seven or ten days ago, we were really proud of what the guys had done in terms of we were the second hottest team in the league since the All-Star break. We put ourselves from kind of out of it into being in it, and feeling like we’re pretty certain we’re going to be in the playoffs. Then a stretch of games where we lost our mojo, kind of forgot how to win. For the most part, even with the rough ending, most of the guys worked pretty hard and tried hard, but the X-factor wasn’t there as far as figuring out how to win games. A lot of that could be the power play, I don’t know. It’s disappointing. I think we’re as good or better than teams that are in the playoffs, so it is a tough pill to swallow.”

On making decisions moving forward

“I’ve been owner half a season, so this is a new experience. I’ve been involved in the mini-NHL in terms of the Western Hockey League; you just can’t make big decisions right now. Everybody is disappointed. To properly reflect on it the best thing I can do is go away and find a beach for a couple of weeks. We can all do that and then make proper, pragmatic and sound decisions on where we’re going.

“The rhetoric hasn’t changed. We have a pretty good idea of where we’re at as far as the competition, and we know we need to get better. This is a short-term setback for us. It would have been nice to get some guys some experience in the playoffs and that’s the most disappointing thing, but that doesn’t change where we were a month, two weeks ago or anything. We’ve got to get better and we’ll continue to do that.”

Do you expect to be active in free agency?


On what he sees as the team’s needs

“I don’t see a position that we don’t need to get better at. We need more scoring depth, clearly. Secondary scoring wasn’t there when we needed it. Our top line carried us there for a while, but once it stopped we weren’t able to muster up enough offense.

I think we’ve got to look at our power play, finished last in the league and broke a record for fewest goals as a franchise on the power play. That’s a real concern. A lot of the power play starts at the backend.

“I love our goalie. We’ve got good depth there with the kid that came up, (Richard) Bachman. I think he did a marvelous job this year. There’s also Jack Campbell in Texas, so we’re in solid shape there and these guys are all on contract, so we don’t have to worry about that position.

“But I think we have to look at everything – our scoring lines, our power play and our defense. We want to get better. I don’t think it is any one thing. We’ve got to be a deeper team. I don’t think anything has changed. We were saying that at the deadline, we’ve been saying that ever since I’ve been here.”

On the attendance over the final part of the season

“I think what we accomplished attendance-wise was beyond my expectations for sure. That’s why it’s a sad day. In any hockey organization the worst day of the season is when you realize you are not in the postseason. That’s what we are going through since (Thursday night) and to some extent after the San Jose game (on Tuesday). That was really our opportunity. It’s really a sad week.

But the leadership group upstairs – the nice thing is you walk in and Jim Lites and the guys are pumped and jacked because you can feel the momentum about changing the organization overall. Attendance is part of that, and we have a lot of great things happening. That’s what happens when you put together a great team of people, because management is everything. Management is underrated, it is everything. With good management will come success both on and off the ice. We’ll be doing that. But it feels good attendance-wise. It’s a nice surprise.

And in terms of the playoffs, the nature of the Western Conference is that we can say that our fans didn’t see playoff hockey this year, but the last 20 games we’re playoff hockey. Anyone who was at the San Jose game Tuesday night can’t say that wasn’t a playoff environment. The last 20 games have been like that. There’s no more gravity for a playoff game than what we faced the last several games and we got the fan base emotionally attached for a desperate attempt at the playoffs. We fell short, but at least we we’re in it. I guess this season we have one somewhat meaningless home game, and that’s not the end of the world. It is what it is and we’ll move on.”