The loss was expected to come last night.
Sure, we all were hoping that the Dallas Stars would find a way to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks, but we knew what the odds were. If the Hawks had come out tired, or played lackadaisically, the Stars would have a chance to sneak a win out o the building. If, however, the Hawks came out playing like their normal selves, it would be nearly impossible for the Stars to keep up. Unfortunately, it was the latter that happened.
Based on skill and talent alone, the Stars are no match for the Hawks. At least not yet.
There is still plenty good to take away from this game, though. It was not a blowout like the 8-1 nightmare in Dallas the last time these teams played. In fact, after Jamie Benn's first goal, they seemed to hold their own fairly well. It wasn't until the Hawks shifted it into a whole other gear that the game began to get away from them.
You can see the promise in this young team. Mike Heika agrees, and talks about what lies ahead for the Stars as a team and organization, simply by looking across the ice at last night's opponent.
Seven years ago, that arena was dead. There were 13,000 fans there (if that), home games were not on television, there was no real hope for improvement.
Heck, the anthem wasn't even that great back then.
And look at it now. The Blackhawks have built one of the great sports experiences in America on some strong drafts, some wily personnel moves, and some great in-arena decisions. The talent is great, the coaching is great, but the buzz is great too. The National Anthem in Chicago is a unique tradition, where the crowd screams and cheers while the Star-Spangled Banner is being sung. The ovation was thunderous on Monday, a statement about this country and how it will respond to the tragedy in Boston.
The cheers for icons like Bobby Hull and Al Secord were impressive, but not as big as they were current heroes Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane or Duncan Keith. And "Chelsea Dagger'' might be the best goal song ever. It is both celebratory and cocky, and it gets played a lot _ five times on Monday.
To be honest, the reaction was perfect. It was a beautiful thing to witness.
It sparked memories of a place that was not so different 15 years ago. When the Stars were winning at Reunion Arena, the building was one of the loudest in the league. When Rock n' Roll Part 2 played, fans knew exactly what to do. There was the StarsClub tent and great personalities and plenty of talk on the radio and stories in the newspaper. There were car flags everywhere.
You miss it, don't you?
I certainly do miss it. And so do many, many other people cheering for Dallas.
At the same time, we can finally see how this team is starting to come together. Instead of a hodge-podge of players that would have a 50% turnover next year, everyone on the team (apart from Eric Nystrom, who is supposedly working on an extension) is either under contract, or an RFA. That means, apart from trades and a couple of FA signings that might push some players back to Austin, this team is already set for next year. That's the first time we have heard that news in several years, and it means that the foundation that GM Joe is building has finally arrived.
If these last six games have taught us anything, it is that the Stars have come a long way from their meandering ways, and have plenty of promise for the future. But they also still have a very long way to go before they become the best.
The playoff race this season is still not over yet. Despite the loss, the Stars are still in control of their own destiny. However, regardless of how this season plays out now, Stars fans can look at what's ahead and be glad.
Coming up in today's links: More thoughts on the game, news and notes from around the NHL, and some chirping on twitter leads to a player turning his goal-scoring drought around?
- First thing's first: Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to those affected in Boston. The act was senseless, and it's frustrating that people choose to do things like that. But we are united in cheering for the people of Boston to recover as best they can. Thanks to those of you who stopped by SCOC last night to show your support. Should they do any other fundraisers from comments or such, we will let you know. Here's a link about the postponement of last night's game. [Puck Daddy]
- *Deep Breaths*
- Onward. Mark Stepneski has his post game write-up including quotes from the players and coach. Bachman sums up this loss best: "It sucks to lose, but we can't worry about it. We've got Vancouver coming up (Thursday) and that's all we can worry about now." [Stars Inside Edge]
- Chiasson was injured last night, and is considered day-to-day right now. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Worley mentioned some of the national media attention that the Stars were receiving yesterday. But in cased you missed it, here's how the Stars have gotten back into the playoff race. [Puck Daddy]
- And here is ESPN Insider's view on how the Stars have turned it around. It is paywalled, though. [ESPN Insider]
- The Oilers fired their GM yesterday. If I had to venture a guess as to why, it would be because they may not get their 4th straight #1 overall pick, and that is a real disappointment. [NHL]
- This is awesome - Apparently, a fan was not happy with Mike Green's lack of goal scoring, and let him know via twitter. Green then went on to score 7 goals in his next 9 games. #youjustgotserved [Puck Daddy]
- ESPN has their power rankings out for the week. [ESPN]
- The Stars got no help last night in the standings above them, as the Wild managed to win against the lowly Flames. [NHL]
- The Stars got no help last night in the standings below them, as the Blue Jackets managed to win against the even lowlier(?) Avalanche. [NHL]
- For your video of the day, Ralph and Razor take a look at last night's game and give sage advice to players and fans alike.