Mark Stepneski says that the events of yesterday could prove to be a double-gut punch for the Stars. First, the result meant another lost opportunity to gain points in what's now shaping up to be a race for only the 8th seed with Vancouver, Columbus, and Edmonton going on late season runs.
But on top of that, you had Brad Richards returning early from his broken wrist suffered just over a month ago...and then breaking his left hand.
That’s a huge blow. Not just because once he got up to speed he’s a top player but because I think it’s something that will probably hit the team on an emotional level too. His return is something the team was something they were hanging their hat on as they looked ahead towards the stretch and possibly getting into the playoffs. Now, his return has turned out to be short-lived. That’s an emotional blow.
- Mike Heika states that time is short for the Stars to recover from this 0-3 road trip. That having been said...
They can look back at this road trip as where the lost that playoff spot.
They can look back to the six-game home losing streak. They can look back to a horrible start at the beginning of the season.
Or they can look at this next stretch and make it a positive discussion.
If I'm betting, I'm betting against them. But it's their season and they get to finish it.
There will be plenty of time for the obituary later.
And finally, there may be a bit of a wrinkle thrown into the Stars plans to buy and move an AHL team down to Austin to serve as their AHL affiliate next season as Heika notes.
It has been assumed for some time that the Stars were going to buy the dormant Edmonton Roadrunners and move them to the Austin area when they start up the Texas Stars as their AHL affiliate next season .
But now word comes out of Edmonton that the Oilers might still need the Roadrunners. Edmonton has an agreement with Springfield, but that's not working out so well, according to the Edmonton Journal. As such, the Oilers are looking at reactivating the Roadrunners and moving them to...Oklahoma City.
Dan Barnes of The Edmonton Journal penned a piece on Friday detailing this wrinkle from Edmonton's side, where the relationship between Springfield's owner and the Oilers has been amicable. The problem is economics.
Better or not, next year promises to be the last one in a business relationship that has yet to produce a winning team or profits for Falcons' president and general manager Bruce Landon, who has been in the hockey business in Springfield, Mass., for 32 years and made money when times and teams were good.
"The losing record has had an effect on our bottom line," Landon said of the team's horrendous 20-37-7-4 log. "We've had a very tough year. The wheels fell off in December and it was a downward spiral. The relationship with Edmonton has been fine, but being 29th in a 29-team (league) doesn't sit well with me or my partners. The Oilers have tried. It hasn't been a lack of effort. Sometimes it just doesn't work."
I used to live in the Oklahoma City metro area when the CHL was reborn in 1992-93 after a nine year hiatus. The return of hockey was such a success from a popularity standpoint that when the NHL looked into expansion over a decade ago, Oklahoma City was considered one of the finalists before settling on Nashville in 1998.
In 1999, the Kansas City Blades of the IHL threatened to move into OKC, forcing the city council to decide whether or not to keep the Blazers. They ultimately decided to keep the flagship CHL franchise and two years later, the IHL folded due to economic reasons.
It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out to say the least.