Where will the Dallas Stars end up this season? Is it a rebuilding year? Another stop-gap while the younger prospects get up to speed? Is it a group that can compete for a playoff spot?
Predictions for the team's finish seem to be all over the map. Yesterday on The Ticket sports radio legend Norm Hitzges once again affirmed his belief that anything less than playoffs for this team would be a "disaster".
A more level assessment comes our way from Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News:
The division is a load. Pencil in Chicago, St. Louis and probably Minnesota for the first three spots. The Stars will be fighting with Nashville and Winnipeg for the fourth spot. Claiming the fourth spot would give them a shot at a wild card. I think they can get there. There aren't many coaches in the NHL better than Lindy Ruff and I also like the goaltender. That's where it all starts in hockey. [Dallas Morning News]
That's a little more realistic. Many preseason predictions and rankings will soon be pouring in and the Stars will likely rate from 14th to 8th in the conference in the views of most. Without even having seen such a new group together with their new coach who could really say?
Mark Stepneski has a good preview for the Traverse City Prospects Tournament, which begins later today. There will be no television, radio or internet coverage. Again. In the year 2013. [Stars Inside Edge]
The Predators had, perhaps, the most amusing turn yesterday as the organization sent an email to season ticket holders that ended with the words "GO PERDS!". Dirk at On the Forecheck quickly jumped on the newly formed meme and offered new t-shirts declaring their new battle cry. [On the Forecheck]
Sean Avery will never be content to stay out of the public eye or be ruffling feathers, so now he's perpetrating a ruse that he has, ahem, switched teams and is engaged to a guy who is apparently famous, though probably not to anyone who reads this blog. [Puck Daddy]
Those of us who burrow into the NHL's play-by-play on a nightly basis seeking justification and exposition on what our eyeballs are telling us know that the league's giveaway and takeaway stats are among the more useless in all of sports. So to see it focused upon here [SportingCharts.com ?] and then used in analysis on the Stars' defense here [iSportsweb?] is... well, it's the stuff of the off-season, for sure.
Blogger Q&A between Blackhawk and Stars fans at "Blackhawk Up" [Blackhawk Up]
The list of televised preseason games on NHL Network contains upwards of 20 different teams, but not the Stars. We understand the economics of why. It doesn't make it stink any less for people who want to be excited about watching hockey again. [SB Nation NHL]
The rumor mill was working overtime yesterday as one of the game's most combustive personalities, Brian Burke, is reported to be negotiating with the Calgary Flames to become their new attention getter hockey operations overseer, or CEO. Or something. [The Globe]