Pascal Vincent

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Opinion: Pascal Vincent Should Be The Next Dallas Stars Head Coach

By Gavin Spittle (aka The Hockey Hawk)

April 24, 2018 - 8:27 am
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The Dallas Stars need a rock star. Or, at least, a rock-star-in-waiting.

That’s why their next head coach should be Pascal Vincent.

The about-to-be-named Stars coach will be the fifth in the last 10 seasons. His job will be to take us away from having to dwell on the disappointing end to this past season and the pain that is our watching of these NHL Playoffs.

GM Jim Nill has formed a long list of candidates for the vacancy and I hope that Vincent is at the top of the list. He checks all my boxes of what I want to lead our Stars.

Vincent is just 47 but boasts a wealth of experience. He was just named AHL Coach of the Year with the Manitoba Moose, yet this is not “just an AHL coach.’’ Vincent was promoted to run Manitoba to work with prospects and gain head coaching experience. He was an assistant coach under Paul Maurice and Winnipeg from 2011-2016. That same Winnipeg team is 8-1 against the Stars in the last two years. Who would know better how to attack Winnipeg than a coach who has spent the last seven years in that organization?

Not only did Vincent win Coach of the Year, top prospect Sami Niku won best Defenseman and Mason Appleton outstanding rookie in the AHL. Paul Maurice has also heralded Vincent and his staff of doing a great job developing NHL-ready players, some of whom were a big factor with the Jets this year, like Kyle Connor, who will cause nightmares for Stars fans for years to come. Others who made the jump and contributed ainclude forward Marko Dano and D-man Jack Roslovic. In other words, Winnipeg is stacked with prospects and many of them are paying off big-time.  There are also stories like goalie Michael Hutchinson. He played three years with the Jets and got sent down — not easy for a veteran to take. He's regained his focus to the tune of a 2.08 Goals Against Average, good for third in the AHL. 

I spoke with two sources in hockey that have dealt directly with Pascal Vincent. They both agreed that Moose players have really responded to his coaching and while the depth of prospects are rich, the speed with which they are NHL-ready is impressive.  The words "likable" and "good guy"were mentioned. One used the word "demanding" while the other told me that he's a “no-nonsense, right-to-the-point kind of coach."

These all seem to be the common theme when talking about Vincent. 
 
Coaching young players? Pascal Vincent checks that box.

For 12 seasons, he was a head coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He was named Coach of the Year in the QMJHL in 2007-2008. He compiled 429 wins working with youngsters like Marc Andre Fleury.

After a recent win 3-2 comeback victory over Grand Rapids in the Calder Cup Playoffs, Vincent was asked if he and the team will enjoy the come-from-behind victory.

"We will enjoy it, for sure we will," he replied. “We will enjoy it for about seven minutes, and then we'll think about tomorrow." 

I love the personality. But more importantly, I love the message it sends to his team.

Success at the Junior Level. Success in the AHL plus a great run as an assistant with Winnipeg. Vincent has thrived at every level. He is ready to take the reigns as the coach of an NHL franchise. If it’s not the Dallas Stars, it will be another NHL franchise soon. He’s had some terrific talent to work with over the years but what great coach hasn’t? Isn’t that something that we are looking for?  Someone who can mold a lot of Stars talent into a Stanley Cup contender?

The native of Quebec City certainly doesn’t sound like he’s from Texas but I guarantee North Texas will embrace him with open arms if he turns this ship around for the loyal Stars fan base.

Maybe you haven’t heard his name atop some candidate wish-lists. I’m here to say you should.

All my boxes are checked. I hope that he’s on Jim Nill’s short list. Because Pascal Vincent is just waiting for a chance … to be a rock star.

*Gavin Spittle is the Program Director of 105.3 The Fan, VP of Spoken Word programming for Entercom Dallas.