Stargazing: Stars fans hope to benefit from sale of Texas Rangers

Stargazing is a daily assortment of Dallas Stars news, as well as a look at what's happening around the Pacific division and the rest of the NHL. Stargazing will run on Mondays and Thursdays, becoming a daily feature once the preseason begins.

Thursday on Stargazing, Tom Hicks is in the news again, though this time the news is a little more favorable. Also, we talk all things TV as DirecTV and Versus square off, and the Stars release their broadcast schedule. In a world where we now have the NHL network, Versus doing a wonderful job (at least during the playoffs), and Ralph and Razor nearly 80 times a year, you'd think it would be hard to find something to complain about, but I still get the job done. All that and more on Stargazing...

Stars News and Notes:

This may not look like Dallas Stars news on the surface, but I think we all know that it is the most important news there is for the future of the Stars franchise. As we've detailed here previously, if the Hicks Sports Group financial situation doesn't change, the Stars are in for some lean years. Thankfully, he has some good interest in the sale of his baseball team...

Texas billionaire and sports tycoon Tom Hicks has received six initial offers for his Texas Rangers baseball team as he works to satisfy creditors who have declared his sports group in default, two sources familiar with the process said on Wednesday.

Other indications of interest could be submitted as the deadline is not until September 8, said one of the sources, who asked not to be named because the process is still under way.

Bids of around $550 million are likely for the team, sports bankers and baseball officials previously said.

The sale will not close before the baseball season ends in October, said the second source, who also asked not to be identified.

It may not be much in the way of real progress, but it struck me as a good start. There are folks out there that want to purchase that team.

While I've spent a fair amount of time fretting over the financial situation, I would never consider the Stars (would be) problems to be in the same ballpark as the Phoenix Coyotes, and yet we're starting to see them mentioned in the same breath:

And wouldn't it be nice if the Coyotes were the NHL's only team with ownership issues? Sadly, they are not. Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks says his financial concerns won't affect the franchise, but there are rumours he could go bankrupt if he is unable to sell some of his other holdings.

Is that really how the rest of the league views the Stars?

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The players are here in Dallas. They are together. They are working out. Andrew's Stars Page tells us that Craig Ludwig was working them out the other day:

Went out to Frisco, where a lot of lot players were on the ice and ex-Star Craig Ludwig was running them through some drills. Among the players out there today:

Mike Ribeiro, Brad Richards, Loui Eriksson, Steve Ott, Trevor Daley, Matt Niskanen, James Neal, Brian Sutherby, Toby Petersen, Jeff Woywitka, Andrew Hutchinson, Ivan Vishnevskiy and Trevor Ludwig. Marty Turco was out there briefly. Among the players working out off the ice while I was there were Stephane Robidas (still waiting for his gear), Fabian Brunnstrom and Alex Auld.

That, my friends, is exciting.

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I've been kind of wondering what exactly the NHL thinks about this whole Versus (vs) Directv thing. It seems the league is keeping quiet about it, though si.com had a little piece on it last week before Directv dropped them:

When asked Tuesday if the league was concerned enough to involve itself in the process, NHL spokesman Frank Brown simply pointed to the calender.

"Today is August 25. The next NHL telecast scheduled for VERSUS is Oct. 1," he said.

That was a week ago. I wonder how they feel about that now. I think the two sides will get something done (Versus will back down) but isn't this just another slap in the face to the league, even if it is rather indirect? Here's the NHL, that gets only negative publicity for the most part...they get dropped by ESPN during the lockout, they sign with "Outdoor Life Network"/Versus, which now might not be available on the most popular television service amongst sports fans, DirecTV? In some small way, this is an expression of the fact that no one cares about the NHL. (Well, I do, you do too)

Do any of you have DirecTV? Are you writing letters? Do you even care? Or do you just think it will get worked out?

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Meanwhile, in Dallas, we're presented with a teeny tiny TV situation of our own. As of right now, two Stars games look like they might not be televised. While I expect that to get worked out (one of those games could be Modano's last), it's not what gets me going the most about the television schedule:

All local home game telecasts and selected road games will once again this season be produced in high-definition and carried on FOX Sports Southwest-HD and My 27-HD. A composite HD schedule will be announced later.  

VERSUS will televise five Stars contests: Wednesday, Nov. 25 vs. St. Louis; Tuesday, Dec. 29 vs. Chicago; Monday, Jan. 18 vs. Minnesota; Tuesday, Feb. 2 vs. Minnesota; and Monday, Mar. 8 at Washington.

Forgive the personal rant here, but really? It's true I don't understand the other side of the business. I don't know what they need to do to get HD broadcasts on the road. I don't know the equipment involved, or the additional cost. I don't know anything about it. The only thing I know is that it will be 2010 and I'll be watching professional sports in standard definition. That, pardon the vernacular, sucks.

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Matt Niskanen says don't mess with Ott when it comes to the music:

How do you prepare for games? Do you have certain foods you always eat or listen to the same music?

Niskanen:
"I don’t really have much control over the music, that’s Otter’s role. I usually have chicken and pasta for lunch every day. I have my routine to warm up before the game."

 

Around the NHL:

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