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DALLAS (AP) - Brett Hull and Les Jackson are out as co-general managers of the Dallas Stars, and in their place is another former star player, Joe Nieuwendyk.

The surprising change was announced Sunday. Nieuwendyk had been the special assistant to the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"These moves are all about helping this club take the proverbial 'next step,"' team owner Tom Hicks said in a statement. "Joe is a leader and has been a winner in everything he has done. He is ready for this opportunity and has a bright future as an NHL general manager. We want that future to be with the Dallas Stars."

Nieuwendyk and Hull were teammates on the Stars teams that won the Stanley Cup in 1999 and returned to the finals in 2000. In fact, Nieuwendyk won the Conn Smythe Award as postseason MVP in '99, but it was Hull who scored the series-winning goal. The Stars even signed Hull in '99 to juice up an offense that was lacking in the '98 postseason because Nieuwendyk was out with an injury.

Nieuwendyk, who played seven years with the Stars, had 564 goals and 562 assists for 1,126 points in his 20-year career. He also appeared in 158 career playoff games, recording 116 points on 66 goals and 50 assists.

He won the Stanley Cup for three different teams in three different decades: Calgary in 1989, Dallas, and New Jersey in 2003.

"I am ready for this opportunity," said Nieuwendyk, who retired from playing in 2006. "The Dallas Stars have built a winning tradition over the years and I want to help continue that legacy."

Hull and Jackson spent the past 1½ seasons in their unique joint venture running the front office. The Stars reached the Western Conference finals months after they took over, but didn't even make the playoffs this past season. Injuries were mostly to blame, but there also were serious dressing-room issues at the start of the season that can be traced to the most memorable move of the Hull-Jackson duo: the signing of Sean Avery.

They are remaining on the payroll in "positions that focus on their respective strengths," according to a news release.

Hull will serve as executive vice president and alternate governor, while Jackson will return to his longtime role as director of scouting and player development.

"Brett and Les have done a great job as co-general managers, but after analyzing the situation, it is in the team's best interest to return them to roles that fit their respective strengths," Hicks said. "Brett will assist the club in several business areas and serve as an adviser to me and (team president) Jeff Cogen, while Les will go back to what he does best — overseeing our scouting department."

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This should be very fun to watch. Im guessing either absolutly owned or. an alright season next year on eor the other
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