As part of our look back at the season that was, the DBD staff has put together a Top 10 list of the most defining moments of the season, moments that have an impact beyond the scope of just one season. Since most of these happened off the ice and built upon many of the previous moments, they are listed in chronological order.
Before we get deep into this post, let me respond to the comments I can already hear being written.
"But you guys already covered this game in Taylor's game-related countdown! Heck, it was posted yesterday!"
True. She covered the game. But Saturday, March 8, was about much more than the epic comeback against the Minnesota Wild or even the ceremony that retired Mike Modano's jersey itself. It was another coming-out party for the organization as a whole, which put its best foot forward on a national stage in a big way.
That Saturday was bound to be a complicated event even in the planning stages, when event planners sat down to figure out if they could convince people to be in their seats a full 90 minutes before scheduled puck drop. Then they took that idea and turned it up to 11, inviting the crowd to arrive a full 90 minutes before that for a "green carpet" arrival event.
Then the day arrived, and it was a dreary one, cold and drizzly and windy. The Stars were hoping people would stand outside for an hour or more in that? It was a setup for a disappointment.
But it wasn't.
Several thousand fans crowded the plaza at the American Airlines Center to watch the entrance of various pieces of Stars and North Stars history, then the 1999 team members and finally the Stanley Cup. They crowded inside and picked up their giveaways, their hockey cards and coupons for replica banners. They formed long lines for Modano specific merchandise.
And when 6 p.m. hit and the ceremony went live on television, the sold-out and already packed crowd roared.
From the start to the end of the day, it was the perfect showcase for the Stars. A national audience got to see a packed house in Dallas after far too long. The crowd got what it wanted - another chance to applaud both Modano and the 1999 team. The Stars got a chance to show their present players just how much they could be adored by this town if they are able to do great things.
Beyond that, Tom Gaglardi's ownership helped bring Modano back into the fold in the front office as well as on the Stars community front, where he works with the Little Rookies program.
It was a first-class event from start to finish that allowed the Stars to show off what a top-flight organization they aspire to be now that they have an owner at the helm again. They promised a night to remember, the most anticipated regular-season game in ages, and they delivered with full marks.
Things had gone relatively well to that point in the season. The off-season moves were working out well for the most part. The team was in position to make the playoffs, though with a tough road ahead in March. And even the contract impasse between Ralph Strangis and the organization seemed to be winding to an end.
And then the Stars delivered on what was meant to be the emotional high point of the regular season, both on the ice and off. It was yet another sign that the franchise's fortunes had finally, finally turned.