It feels really good to be a Stars fan today, eh?
In fact, Friday was just a great day all around to be a Stars fan, from the start of the day with the announcement of the Ralph and Razor contract extensions to the middle with the announcement that Tyler Seguin was voted by his teammates as the nominee for a humanitarian award and definitely the end with Rich Peverley greeting his teammates after the Stars broke their five-year drought without a playoff bid.
It's enough to make even the most scarred, cynical sports-fan heart grow at least three sizes this day.
Enjoy the feeling for at least the next 24 hours. The Stars might need to focus on that final, now gloriously meaningless game with the Phoenix Coyotes as a matter of course, but this is a feeling the fanbase hasn't had since Dave Tippett was behind the bench. Some time to appreciate the accomplishment is called for.
You guys. This has really happened. The X on the standings page makes it all official. [NHL.com]
Not one, not two but three of the game recaps focused on Trevor Daley, the winner of the celebratory cowboy hat and last remaining connection to the Stars previous playoff team. And that's probably the right call. While Tyler Seguin was a shooting machine and Jamie Benn continued to show exactly how he's risen to the challenge of the captaincy, Daley had the game-winning goal and a great secondary assist on the insurance and 20 fresh stitches in his face from an errant puck earlier in the week. [DallasNews.com/SI.com/NHL.com]
Justin Bourne wrote on Twitter earlier this year that the Stars were quite tough to dislike, and I get the sense that some of the folks at Puck Daddy feel that way too. This is a very nice tribute to all the things that were fitting about how the Stars got into the playoffs, from Seguin being one of the alpha males on the ice to Lindy Ruff getting a win over his former goalie. [Puck Daddy]
It has been quite a while since the Stars played more than the requisite 82 games in a season. Take a look at some key facts about the team the last time it happened. [DallasNews.com]
The opponent for that glorious first-round series won't be determined until either tonight or Sunday, as the Anaheim Ducks have the inside track but could still potentially be caught by the Colorado Avalanche if things break right. The Avs could have wrapped up the Central on Friday with the Blues loss, but they were manhandled by the San Jose Sharks. [Denver Post]
And in off-ice news, Seguin was announced as the team's nominee for the King Clancy Memorial Award, which is awarded to a player who "who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community." The players pick the nominee from each team, which makes this an even nicer nod for Seguin, who has put in a lot of time with his Seguin's Stars foundation as well as other Stars foundation events. [DallasStars.com]
What, you mean there were hockey things that didn't have to do with the Stars on Friday? Huh.
Johnny Gaudreau couldn't help get Boston College past the upset-minded Union in the Frozen Four, but his fabulous individual season was awarded Friday with the Hobey Baker for the NCAA's best player. [Boston Globe]
I told y'all on Friday morning that Mike Rupp was getting suspended for his illegal check to the head of T.J. Oshie, and he was indeed given the first suspension of the post-Shanahan era with a four-game rest, which includes first three playoff games. [Puck Daddy]
And finally, former Stars playoff nemesis Ryan Smyth announced his retirement after 19 NHL seasons, the majority of them with the Edmonton Oilers. I wasn't always a fan of the man when he was playing the Stars, but he was a hard-nosed guy who wrung out every inch of talent possible, and I respect the heck out of his career. [CBC]