By most accounts, the 2010-2011 Dallas Stars season was a massive improvement over their last two campaigns. They led the conference in December, they led the division for 80+ days, they had winning streaks of six games and unbeaten streaks of seven. They found a goaltender capable of anchoring their season, they found new heroes in Benn and Golikoski. It was quite a year for the young Dallas Stars. Mostly it was just a lot more FUN.
...Except that they're going to miss the playoffs for the third year in a row in a market that may not be able to withstand that kind of withdrawal into uncertainty and irrelevance. With baseball season starting the same weekend as the proverbial Stars' excrement hit the fan, (the) hockey gods only know what's in store for this uncertain Dallas franchise when play resumes five months from now.
Some will cling to hope, and we'd like to be there with them this morning. If the Stars, at 87 points, were able to beat the Ducks in regulation there's always a chance that they (at 93 points) could lose out and that Dallas could overtake them with an unforeseen onslaught of winning hockey, but that's unlikely. At this point the Stars have to hope that Chicago or Anaheim lose out to make it, and that an abrupt reversal of fortune is in the works on ice for the good guys. The likelihood of such happenings is up for (a pretty one-sided) debate when Dallas has dropped six in a row and eight of their last nine games.
Dallas has scored two total goals in their last 215 minutes of hockey. Participating in that stretch have been Loui Eriksson, Brad Richards, Mike Ribeiro, Brenden Morrow, Steve Ott, Stephane Robidas, Alex Goligoski, Jamie Benn, and many others. It's a talented roster that is simply just not getting the job done under pressure.
Ralph and Razor were asked in the post-game show to detail what's happened over the course of the last two months and the discussion quickly devolved into words like "specialness" and "timeliness," which is to say that the success early in the season, in hindsight, might be just as big of a mystery as the February and March failures. They seem to have lost that "it" factor they had early in the year. It's quantified in the invisible graph that follows and is sponsored by unicorns.
We'll present a more traditional game preview later today and the standard recap and fare that normally follow, but for now we'd be interested in your thoughts on the season as a whole on a day that appears to be concluding it, though we certainly hope not. Go Stars.