I know it's early. But six games into the season (4 on the road) the Dallas Stars are showing they have the offensive talent and goaltending to easily make the playoffs this year. I have seen too many games on NHL Center Ice according to my wife. And comparing the talent around the league, the Stars are close to the top on offense and goaltending. Barring any major injuries, the blue line need only play average for this team to stay near the top of the Western Conference. And early season observations are showing a steadily improving Niskanen (never thought I would admit that), a steady Robidas, and a vastly improving Grossman. So there is a good chance our blue line will play well enough to allow our offensive firepower and incredible goaltending to keep us on the right track.
I kinda chuckled at the pre-season predictions by the experts on this site. No offense guys. I love your writing and dedication to us Stars fans. But I was rather surprised that only one of you gave the Stars a better than average chance of making the playoffs (Art was it?). This team was stacked with young offensive talent (Neal, Louis, Robidas, Richards, and Benn) - not to mention Morrow and Ott as excellent supporting players on offense. The team added a very talented netminder. And while they had an admittedly struggling blue line, the young talent would only get better this year. So I wondered, how can these guys be so reluctant to pick them as likely playoff bound? Maybe its the nature of the new blog-o-sphere. You can't be considered a "legitimate journalist" unless you are the eternal fatalist - always nitpicking at this bad stat or the other and missing the forest for the trees. Or maybe it was the fear of being considered a cheerleader? Or just the fear of raising the expectations only to be let down?
Oh I know. I can already hear the same negative nellies responding to this by saying "It's a long season and it's only 6 games." And you're right. But if the Stars had started 1-5, I guarantee the same people would already be writing the Stars obituary for this season and blaming the lack of the sale of the team for their demise. I submit that 6 games, four of which were on the road against quality opponents, are a good sample to NOW make your prognostications. And if your opinion is still the same as it was before the season, I'm really sad for you. What a dirty set of lenses you must look through. Sure, could I be looking through rose colored glasses and drinking too much koolaid? I admit that is possible. But I don't just watch hockey. I study it. And I submit to you that the Stars' top two lines have some of the best chemistry I have seen this season. And when you add a Jamie Been third line that played as well as they did last night against Florida, oh my. The sky's the limit for this team.
So, to you experts out there who work hard every day to bring us good articles and interesting factoids to make our morning toast go down easier, be happy you were wrong. Cheer up. There will be down times this season. But when this team is healthy, they can play with anybody. See ya in the playoffs. Don't worry....be happy.