From time to time The Dallas Morning News runs quotes from their TV sports showcase Sports Day On Air. Thursday night Gerry Fraley and Barry Horn were discussing what the Dallas Stars should do at the draft this Sunday. The two quotes are below, but the source link is here.
On what the Dallas Stars will do in the NHL Draft:
Fraley: "They’ve got to package those picks. Just get a player with a name. This isn’t draft related, but Tampa Bay bought out Vinny Lecavalier today, and he’s a cool dude. You have to be a cool dude with that name. Just get a name. Quit putting these faceless guys out there. They’re about to lose this town completely if they don’t something. Five straight years without the playoffs, a faceless, anonymous team, coaches who didn’t want the job."
Horn: "I don’t know what they’ll do. But here is what they need to do. They need to put together a package, I don’t care who’s in the package if it’s two picks and a player, there is a guy out there they need. This team needs star power. This team needs to regain relevancy. I think the homegrown Seth Jones from Plano, Texas needs to be their pick."
There is a lot going on here, but the main message is that the Stars need to package anything they can to get a "name" because they are a faceless, anonymous team who hasn't made the playoffs in five years. They are slipping into irrelevancy.
Fraley even suggests signing Vincent Lecavalier. He didn't suggest that because he is a talented offensive player, but instead because he is a "cool dude" and "you have to be a cool dude with a name like that". I have no doubt that the Stars would be happy to sign Lecavalier, but unfortunately Lecavalier has a choice in the matter. Also, his coolness doesn't matter.
Horn upped the ante by adding that he doesn't care who is in the package to acquire the unnamed player because "there is a guy out there they need". He then went on to say that the Stars needed to draft Seth Jones, a player who likely will not peak for almost a decade, to be this new face of the franchise.
Because, you know, the best way to develop a young defenseman is to throw the pressure of being the face of a franchise in the town in which you were born on to the player on top of the other expectations that come with being a high draft pick.
These points could all categorically be questioned. We could spend 1500 words showing why each point is senseless, misguided, or baseless.
We could talk about how silly it is to give away two first round picks for an older player at this stage of the winning curve. We could talk about the value of maintaining a cost structure conducive to holding on to your own developed talent long term. Hell, we could spend time showing why the Stars homegrown talent (Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson, Brenden Dillon among others) is worth holding on to.
While presenting the case that they are worth holding on to we would inevitably come to the conclusion that this isn't a faceless team. This is still a borderline playoff team that is realistically only a few pieces away from contention. The reality is that those pieces which they need are difficult to acquire. Waving the magic wand and shipping off both first round picks isn't going to fix the issues. A complete disregard for first round picks got their roster into this situation in the first place, and free agents do unfortunately get to choose where they play.
The point of this isn't to challenge the arguments they make one by one, but to ask one question. If the Stars are losing this city, how low do they need to go before they actually do lose the city? They survived bankruptcy. They've missed the playoffs five years in a row. They just survived a lockout. How bad would things have had to get before they lost the city?
Despite that series of events The Dallas Morning News still sees that it is necessary to cover the Stars with numerous general columnists with a cursory at best knowledge of the sport instead of focusing specifically on one or two columnists who can put out quality content. The quantity over quality approach waters down your content, and on the internet it takes very little effort to find quality content.
Google Dallas Stars news.
Some junk pops up, but you get a couple legitimate sources for news.One of those sources is Defending Big D which obviously has a much stronger focus on the Stars. Defending Big D is one of the more trafficked blogs on the SBN network, which is weird for a blog covering a team that is losing relevancy.
The reality is that the Stars aren't losing relevancy, but the pageviews for Stars stories with the Morning News probably suggest that no one cares about the Stars. Another interpretation of that data is that the watered down coverage anchored by uninformed opinions pushes readers away to a site like Defending Big D where readers know they can get the information they want. That includes Mike Heika stories that they can find linked in our daily links posts.
The reality is that claiming that the Stars are becoming irrelevant is a crutch that projects how the writers feel about the team.This comes through when they present uninformed opinions suggesting that they package an entire draft to trade for a "name" to get the attention of the masses. It's obviously lazy and shows how little legitimate interest most writers in this city have for hockey.
Are the Stars irrelevant compared to the Dallas Cowboys? Obviously. Compared to the Texas Rangers? Absolutely. Are they on the verge of slipping back into receivership unless they sign Mike Modano to a ten year contract? I doubt it.