Stars will lean on Bob Gainey for experience, wisdom

DALLAS -- Ten years after leaving the Dallas Stars organization, Bob Gainey returned Wednesday and was formally introduced as the team’s new Senior Advisor to the Hockey Department.

“It's a good time for me because I have followed the trail of the changes and the progress in the NHL from the administrative view over the past 20 years,” Gainey said during a press conference at American Airlines Center. “We’ve had a number of changes to the CBA, there’s been expansion and big changes a few years ago on how the game is played on the ice with rule changes. I've been able to live and adapt through all of that and take certain parts out of each of them that can apply today.”

The 58-year-old Gainey, who was acting in a similar capacity with the Montreal Canadiens until a couple months ago, said he will be a “consultant without boundaries.” He will offer input on various issues throughout the organization, on both the hockey side and the business side.

“I’ve had many experiences in pro hockey over a long period of time in the NHL,” Gainey said. “My goal would be to use some of those experiences, some of those valuable lessons learned to assist Tom Gaglardi in his ownership position, to assist Jim Lites in his position as president and CEO and to assist Joe Nieuwendyk in his operation of the hockey department in any way possible to bring the Dallas Stars in a better competitive light, better financial light and to rejoin in the sports community in Dallas as an important player.”

Gainey, who won five Stanley Cups as a player with Montreal, was the head coach of the Stars from 1990 to 1996 and general manager from 1992 to 2002. He was the architect of the Stars’ 1999 Stanley Cup championship team. He was GM in Montreal from 2003 to 2010, making the playoffs four of five years and finishing with the best record in the Eastern Conference in 2007-08.

“Bob Gainey is a winner,” said Lites. “We want to win the Stanley Cup. That's our goal, and that’s all we’re thinking about. Having a person of Bob's stature will help us get there.”

As far as Gainey’s exact responsibilities and how everything will work, that is still a work in progress.

“As we move ahead we’ll continue to define the description of things,” said Nieuwendyk. “Using Bob as a resource, so much history, so much experience, wisdom and insight, I will be able to benefit a lot from those things. We’ll define things as we move along. From my perspective, it’s a tremendous opportunity. I am really looking forward to communicating with Bob on a number of levels with team related issues.”

And it will take some time for Gainey to re-familiarize himself with the organization. He’ll spend time learning the players so he can offer input on that side of things.

“An outside set of eyes can bring a different view. Somebody that is overvalued, I might have a different view of that or somebody that is undervalued, I could have a different view of that,” Gainey said. “I am going to need to see training camp, some of the season and some of the games in Austin to be able to apply my opinion and my analysis to the players that are in the system.”

The hiring of Gainey is another step in the process as the Stars try to move forward Gaglardi, who said turning around a team that has missed the playoffs four years in a row will take time, but that adding someone of Gainey’s caliber on the management side of things is a big boost.

“We want to get better and we need to get better obviously and that's a process, unfortunately,” Gaglardi said. “I wish there were quicker ways to get there, but the only way to do this the right way is with young players and through the draft and developing players. That's what I've learned in my stint as an owner in another league (Western Hockey League) and I don’t think it’s any different in this league. Free agency is one route to get better, but it's wrought with pitfalls. You have to be very smart, and at some level lucky, to benefit that way. And obviously there are trades.

“The best way I know how to get better is to have great management, so it’s exciting for me to have a man of Bob’s experience, status and wisdom express a desire to join our organization. It was a no-brainer for us.”