Have you spied a Dallas Stars logo here and there during commercial breaks of the Stanley Cup Playoffs that you wouldn't have ordinarily seen before? Did you hear the unfamiliar sounds of respect for the franchise as a real player in the West from the mouths of the few talking heads the NHL has during the series with Anaheim?
Michael Russo, Minnesota Wild scribe and well-connected beat writer and reporter for the Star Tribune, says the Stars are at least in the conversation as possible outdoor opponents for the Minnesota Wild next season...
The Wild continues its quest to host a Winter Classic. But there are plans to bring a stadium-series game to Minnesota as soon as next season.
Stars fans have long speculated that the Wild could be the most expedient in for Dallas where outdoor games are concerned. If Russo's right then the newly created and expanded stadium-series could be bringing that to fruition sooner than expected.
Except the Wild want the Blackhawks- And given their current situation it's hard to argue that it isn't a more (much more) attractive match-up for them. The league likes playoff rematches, nationally televised games, and a playoff rematches that are nationally televised games.
Mr. Russo says the Wild themselves are fairly nonplussed at the idea. Wild fans, like our friends at Hockey Wilderness, see the why, and the possible value...
I'm sure the league wants Dallas in this game to provide the Stars with some national exposure. Texas is a huge market- one that supports three NBA Franchises, and that's if you don't count Oklahoma as part of the Stars' territory- that's more receptive to hockey than you might think, as they came out of the lockout regularly finishing in the top half in the league for attendance.
You had better believe that the NHL sees opportunity in that very community, and they could be looking to capitalize on their recent playoff appearance, as Dallas gave the Anaheim Ducks a run for their money in the quarterfinals.
If you are likely to be disappointed if Dallas were to be the Wild's outdoor opponent, you should re-consider. Much like the Wild, Dallas is another up-and-coming team in the deep Central Division.
And what of a game at Cowboy Stadium here in the Metroplex?
"I certainly wouldn't rule it out," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said prior to Game 3 between the Stars and Anaheim Ducks."It's an unbelievable stadium. I think our focus will be on making sure that when we're ready to come that it will be sold out. All of our outdoor games get sold out, and that's a big stadium."
That's the thing. Selling 19,000 is one thing. Selling 90,000 is something else entirely. The novelty is worth quite a bit, but that much to a North Texas base?
There's the weather to consider, but if Jerry Jones can keep making so much money on his unsuccessful franchise he can probably conjure a sheet of ice for a day or two, spared no expense. The real consideration would be timing to maximize interest. The league is interested in keeping these games in late January and early February.
In most parts of the country that's NFL prime time. Fair to say that applies here as well.
"We are in the very early stages of talks and planning, and we expect to make some headway during the Olympic break, but it's still a few years away," Stars president and CEO Jim Lites told media back in January. "Just guessing, I would say 2015-16 at the earliest, and more realistically 2016-17."
The conversation, for now, will have to be encouraging enough. The Stars are entering the conversations that matter for that on-ice endeavors. The summer time, now upon us, is a good time to revel in their involvement in these lesser matters, too.
If they keep winning- If they keep increasing their point totals... All of this ancillary stuff will take care of itself.
Would you fly to Minnesota? Where do the Wild play? Like Bemidji, or something? ;) :)