DALLAS As Jim Nill takes over as the new general manager for the Dallas Stars, he admits he's a bit on edge.

"It s the type of nervous you get when you're playing in a playoff game, Nill said. It's a great nervous. You're excited about it and you look forward to the challenge.

His challenge is to build a winning hockey team in Dallas, something he's already help orchestrate in Detroit.

If you're a football team, let's say an NFL team, and you were looking to replace your general manager, you would probably really like to talk to the New England Patriots about who their No. 2 has been for all these years, says Stars play by play announcer Ralph Strangis. That's essentially what the Stars have done here.

Nill spent 19 years in Detroit, 15 as the team s assistant general manager. During that time they won four Stanley Cups and never missed the playoffs. The Stars are hoping he can bring that same consistency to Dallas.

Mike Modano, who spent the last season of his 21 year career in Detroit, knows the new GM well.

I was excited, Modano said. I was excited for the team, this organization and this city. I think you've got one of the top hockey guys in the game and we've got him here so it's a real feather in the cap here.

Owner Tom Gaglardi hired Nill knowing that in professional sports, being an owner and a general manager usually doesn t mix.

A GM and an owner, no I m not qualified to be a general manager, Gaglardi says. The good ones have been at it a long, long time. If you talk to Jim Nill, he's been 20 years training for this day.

Nill has a five year contract and says he won't address the future of head coach Glen Gulutzan until after several weeks of meetings.

I think it s a very strong message to the team, to their fans, that Mr. Gaglardi and the ownership group, the administration group, are serious about bringing the Stars back into the focus of NHL teams who are participating to win the championship, says former Stars head coach and general manager Bob Gainey.
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