Quotable: Joe Nieuwendyk talks about his dismissal, his tenure as GM and the future

Here are some quotes from Joe Nieuwendyk, who officially was dismissed as Dallas Stars general manager on Sunday. He met with a small group of media in Frisco Sunday afternoon.

On when he found out and his thoughts

“I found out prior to the game. Tom called me and let me know in case the media found out, which they did because my phone started blowing up during the game, during the first period. I was disappointed in some ways the way it all unfolded. I understand sometimes things get out, you don’t always know how or why. It made last night a little difficult trying to get through the game.

“I guess the statement I want to make is that I am very thankful for being part of this organization for 11 years, 7 as a player and 4 as a general manager. I am very proud of what we accomplished. I know at the end of the day we get measured by getting to the playoffs and challenging for Stanley Cups, but I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress in four years.”

“I am especially proud of this group that has taken the ice this last three-and-a-half weeks and I told them that after the game last night. It’s the most proud of a group that I have been in the four years I’ve been here. They were kind of a group that was left for dead, no one gave them a chance and a group of veterans stepped up and grabbed this team and young players played their hearts out. I couldn’t be more proud of how they reacted to the last three-and-a-half weeks. They left everything they had out on the ice and they made me proud.

“The coaches had a big part in that. Glen (Gulutzan) and his staff did a great job. I feel good about this group of players and moving forward. I have nothing but high regard for everybody involved.”

On if he is leaving the door open to stay with the organization

“I think it is important for me to take a little time now and enjoy some time off and then decide on what I want to do next.”

If the team is where he envisioned it being right now and is that a proud accomplishment

“It is. It’s difficult year-to-year to be a team. This is clearly a team in every sense of the word. There is some work that has to be done. There is another horse or two that has to emerge, but there is a great group of players there. I think our coaches would tell you, too, that it was enjoyable to coach this team and how hard they worked and how hard they played for each other.”

On rebuilding the prospect pool and if he is happy with what he accomplished there

“Very much so. I said from day one that it was important to retool the stockpile of players, and that’s the way you have to do it these days, you have to have that pipeline. We certainly have that pipeline now. You never know when those kids are ready. We didn’t know about Cody Eakin or Brenden Dillon or where those kids were at, but they are certainly NHL players and a number of them are NHL players now.”

On if he’ll follow the Texas Stars during the Calder Cup Playoffs

“Yeah, I have a spot in my heart for those guys. I think Willie (Desjardins, Texas coach) has done a terrific job and I plan to go down there and watch them. It will be fun to watch them play.”

On what’s next

“I think I need a little time to enjoy my kids. It’s a big commitment and one I took seriously and put a lot of time and effort into it and have no regrets. Mr. Hicks gave me an opportunity to come back to Dallas, to an organization that I have a big spot in my heart for and I’ve enjoyed it. But now I think it’s time my three kids get to see their dad a little bit more and certainly enjoy the summer. We’ll go from there.”

On what he learned as GM

“I don’t know what I’ve learned. I think I am proud of the fact that my morals and my values were unwavering through it all. I believe in doing the right thing and treating people with respect and at the end of the day I think I had the respect of my players and my coworkers, who I can’t say enough about as well. They made it enjoyable and we made a good team together. I think that was most important to me – I did this job with respect and I wanted the players to always feel that I was treating them the same way.”

On the financial challenges at times during his tenure

“They were challenges, but I never really complained or used it as an excuse. I’ve always felt if you give a team a purpose, try to get them to play together and care about one another it’s amazing what you can accomplish. I really believe we had players that feel that way. I know moving forward they need a few more horses, some of them will develop internally. Jamie Oleksiak is going to be a player. It’s on the right track and I feel strongly about that. The development of some of these young players has been impressive.”

On if he feels the team underachieved

“I don’t share that view. Like I said, year-to-year you don’t know how things are going to pan out. In a shortened season, certainly with the changes we made with (Jaromir) Jagr and (Derek) Roy coming in, I am never going to use it as excuses, with some of the injuries and things like that, contract situations, but this team got better and better and it certainly turned into a team that I was very proud of after the trade deadline. It’s a difficult league. It’s a difficult conference. We ended up being the bridesmaids again and it was that way every four years. We have to get over the hump, but I was proud of the progress that was made.”

If he sensed this change coming

“I think so. I think it is important now for Tom to select the people that he wants involved in the hockey department. Tom could have let me go when he bought the hockey team, but he didn’t. He gave me an opportunity and I am thankful for that. I think it is important for him to move forward with his guy and it probably is important for me to take a little time off and spend it with my family.”

On if he’ll look back and analyze the moves he made

“No, I really wouldn’t. Everything was done with a purpose and with a team effort and a thought in mind. I have no regrets. We had quality individuals. I am proud of our players. I am proud of a lot of people that I worked with, a lot of the scouts that have put in time and effort. I really feel this team is on the right track.”

2 Responses to “Quotable: Joe Nieuwendyk talks about his dismissal, his tenure as GM and the future”

  1. Just a class guy all the way around.

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