Huddy lands on his feet

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

Charlie Huddy had to make sure he walked over to the proper bench last night at Rexall Place.

After nine seasons as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers, Huddy was back in town as a member of the Dallas Stars staff.

This summer he was a casualty in the Oilers' change of regime, let go along with Craig MacTavish, Billy Moores, Pete Peeters and Brian Ross.

"It was obviously disappointing -- any time you get fired, it's disappointing," Huddy said. "But it's the business, those things happen. You go through it as a player when you get traded and it happens as a coach. When things don't go well, you get let go and you move on."

Things weren't easy for Huddy following the season. After MacTavish was relieved of his duties, he and the rest of the support staff had to wait around to see what direction the club was heading.

Only Kelly Buchberger received a stay of execution.

"I didn't really give it any thought, I knew that there were going to be changes made and it was just a matter of waiting and seeing," Huddy said. "I still had another year left on my deal and it was totally up to Steve (Tambellini) to decide what was going to take place and he made the decision to bring in some new guys, ones that had been around for quite a while.

"I think he just wanted some fresh blood around and that's fine, that's the way the game works."

Huddy wasn't out of work for long. The Stars went through a coaching purge, too, and were looking at heading in a different direction.

"I was fortunate to be able to get the opportunity to come to Dallas," he said. "It's hard when hockey is in your blood, you don't want to be out of it for too long. Some guys need a break, but I wanted to get back into it. I didn't want to sit around. This opportunity came along and it's been good."

Huddy was hired to work behind the bench with head coach Marc Crawford and assistants Andy Moog and Stu Barnes. The group was brought in to replace Dave Tippet and his staff, who were fired when the Stars failed to make the playoffs for the first time in five years.

"I think it's good for Charlie," Crawford said. "Unfortunately he had to leave his home (Edmonton), to get his next opportunity. But at the same time, I think it's also healthy after being in Edmonton for so long. You take all the experience that he had with the Oilers and he's able to share some of that with a lot of people that are getting the information for the first time."

Crawford, himself, had been out of the coaching ranks since his tenure came to a premature end with the Los Angeles Kings in 2008.

He spent last season as an analyst for CBC's Hockey Night in Canada and was a candidate for the vacant Oilers job once MacTavish was fired.

"This is one of the best jobs you can have in the world," Crawford said. "Not that I ever took it for granted, but you do appreciate it so much more when you finally get back.

"The biggest thing is just being involved with a team again and that's the part that I missed the most. We've spent all our lives being involved with a team in one shape or form and when you do get involved with a team again, there is a sense of normality to what's happening."

Crawford interviewed for the position with the Oilers, but was beat out by Pat Quinn and Tom Renney.

"I thought I had a real good opportunity here in Edmonton, but they made a real good choice," Crawford said. "The combination of Pat and Tom is a great idea. They're a quality staff and it's a real good group. You wish them well, but hopefully we do well against them."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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