A few weeks ago, Stars fans were reveling in the team's five game winning streak and eyeing the season finale against the Red Wings as the biggest regular season contest in the last five years.
Instead, the Stars lost 5 out of their next 6, picking up only three points along the way to render this home finale meaningless in the standings, just as three of the previous four home finales were.
The lone exception, in case you're wondering, was the 4-2 home finale win in 2011 against Colorado that kept the Stars' improbable playoff hopes alive going into the final three hours of the season in Minnesota when...well, you know.
But I digress.
Point is, this has become an all too familiar sight for Stars fans as the seasons have wound down. And even though many in and around the organization still saw this as a transitional year where the possibility of missing the playoffs was fairly high, it was still labeled a disappointment by the team's owner, Tom Gaglardi.
Now, nothing official has been confirmed by the club as of yet. But last night, Darren Dreger of TSN reported on Twitter that the Stars would fire Joe Nieuwendyk and replace him with the assistant general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, Jim Nill. Shortly thereafter, other outlets picked up the reports.
Mike Heika spent the better part of last night trying to get confirmation from any of his sources within the club, but was not able to, FWIW.
Still, don't be surprised if something official doesn't come down as early as today or tomorrow.
Coming up on today's links: The Western Conference playoff picture is fully set in a somewhat controversial fashion while the East still has several seeds up in the air ahead of today's Bruins-Senators makeup game from April 15th.
- Ansar Khan gives us a brief biographical background on the man who could be replacing Joe Nieuwendyk as general manager. [MLive]
- Just like the parent club, the Texas Stars were also shutout last night. In this case, Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Milwaukee Admirals. [Hundred Degree Hockey]
- The last time the Detroit Red Wings missed the playoffs, Bush 41 was President and "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips was the number one song in America according to Billboard. I'm sorry. [Wikipedia]
- The Minnesota Wild nabbed the last remaining playoff spot (after Detroit clinched the other) in somewhat controversial fashion last night...putting it mildly [Adrian Dater/Denver Post]
- But since they're in (and facing long odds against my first hockey love, the Blackhawks), they might as well use some of Patrick Kane's words as bulletin board material (do they even still have those in locker rooms?) [Chris Kuc/Chicago Tribune]
- Roberto Luongo started last night's meaningless finale for the Canucks (which probably explains why he started), likely the last time he'll ever don a Canucks jersey. After the game, he got undressed, showered, got dressed, and left Rogers Arena in 12 minutes. Which is 2 minutes for every goal he surrendered last night. [Brad Ziemer/Vancouver Sun]
- At any rate, Vancouver will face the San Jose Sharks for the 2nd time in three playoff seasons since St. Louis clinched the 4th seed with their win over Chicago. Here's how the Sharks are previewing this upcoming series. [David Pollack/San Jose Mercury News]
- Los Angeles clinched the 5th seed by virtue of their win over the Sharks last night. As a reward, they open against the team they swept in the 2nd round en route to their first Cup. [Helene Elliott/Los Angeles Times]
- Southern California's other hockey team also faces a familiar foe in the Detroit Red Wings in the first round [Lisa Dillman/Los Angeles Times]
And today's video of the day is that controversial call that appeared to be called a goal on the ice before being called a no-goal...which Toronto upheld as a no-goal.