If there is one great thing that has already come from the Dallas Stars trade for Jamie Langenbrunner, it's that for the first time since last April the Stars are finally in the spotlight in Dallas. The media is paying attention -- at least for today -- and the national media has now been forced to take notice of the Stars and their standing in the NHL. Langenbrunner wasn't traded to a team that's in the basement of the Western Conference; he's back with the team he started with and he's expected to provide depth on a supposedly playoff-bound team.
What's more is that the fans are now in a frenzy. We haven't seen this amount of activity on Defending Big D since...well... ever. The casual fan, the one who might have been a fan ten years ago and lost interest over time, is now sitting with a smile at the thought of Jamie Langenbrunner once again playing for the Stars. On top of the hopeful boost he gives to the team on the ice, it's impossible to ignore what's happening around the team now.
Which is where the concern comes in.
The Dallas Stars -- without Langenbrunner -- are hosting the New York Rangers tonight at American Airlines Center. The Stars have rebounded a bit from their mini-slump last week but are still looking to get back on track after losing four straight at the AAC. The Rangers won't be easy; they're a young, physical team that is one of the best in the NHL when it comes to playing on the road.
I doubt the players have been distracted much by the news of the trade, especially since it doesn't impact anyone on the ice just yet. There's no doubting, however, that there is going to be an extra buzz about the AAC tonight and I can guarantee you that the players are going to be asked about the addition of Langenbrunner before and during the game.
The players are going to have to do their best to push that to the side and focus on the task at hand; continuing their great season and beating a tough opponent at home. The Stars have done very well against the East this season and there's no reason that should not continue tonight. Dallas has built a small cushion in the Pacific Division but have played more games than most teams in the conference; every single point is important. Considering some struggles against the Pacific this yeas, it's these teams from the East the Stars must take advantage of.
Rejoice in the return of Langenbrunner. Be thankful the Stars have the ability to make such a move. Lest we forget, however, there is still a matter of beating down Sean Avery and the New York Rangers tonight.