I have arrived, finally, here in Dallas after making the more than six-hour trek up I-45 from Houston. I don't think I can remember ever making a more treacherous drive, as I faced not just icy conditions that slowed traffic to a crawl but the moronic drivers that decided to take to the highways and ignore any sort of sense that is required when driving on ice.
Seriously, I'm amazed at just how bad people can be when there's ice on the road. How do you lose control and drive off the road when it's completely straight?
I made the trip for a couple of reasons, mainly so that I could be there in Addison tomorrow for the Defending Big D watching party. So, after risking my life out on the highway this evening I"m hoping to see a good turnout tomorrow at Buffalo Wild Wings. Of course, I don't want anyone risking their life just for the party so don't make the trip out if you're worried about the drive.
[Shameless plug: Still time to RSVP!! Information on the party can be found here.]
Until then, I wanted to address a couple of things that have come up since I posted my article this afternoon. Some personal thoughts on being a fan, a blogger and a hockey writer coming up after the jump...
Watching the game last night I certainly became emotional, as I felt a sense of anger overcoming me while watching the Stars' performance throughout the game. I knew then there was a few things I would want to say, but wanted to wait a good while before putting words to paper (screen?) to allow my emotions to calm down and not get in the way of what I wanted to write.
I posted an article this afternoon that talked about the current state of the Stars after their last five games, in which they've lost four out of five by a combined score of 24 to 6. I stated that the Stars are on the brink of a disaster, facing a collapse that would see them not only fall away from the top of the division standings but could possibly lose them a playoff spot as well.
There are many, via comments, email and Twitter, that are claiming that I am "overreacting" and that I am panicking while the Stars are just facing a down time in the season. The logic is that sense the Stars still have a lead in the Pacific and have played so well for most the season, there's no reason to worry about the Stars right now since they'll pull out of it and everything will be just fine.
I'm not overreacting. I'm not panicking and I'm not personally worried about the Stars missing the playoffs. The article I wrote was not intended to be regarded as such, and was nothing more than a reaction to what I've seen from this team over the past two weeks.
See, the Stars are not just losing. This isn't about their "luck" regressing to the mean and finally losing some games they might have won earlier in the season. This isn't about the Stars just playing some good teams, while dealing with some injuries and not being able to keep up. If this were the case, then the Stars would be losing these games by one or two goals and wouldn't be getting a couple breaks while suffering from some frustrating losses. If the Stars were playing up to their standard, they might not be winning all these games but I would wager they would at least have been competitive.
This isn't about losses or their record in the past five games.
This is about the manner in which the Stars are approaching these game. This is about how they are reacting to adversity within games themselves, how they are acting with each other as teammates and responding within games and from game to game as things slowly spiral out of control.
A few days ago I wrote an article talking about how the Stars weren't necessarily facing utter disaster after another painful loss to the Canucks, and were perhaps in fact just victims of playing a really, really great team twice in one week. That was before the game in Boston, when suddenly the out of control nature of the Stars AT THIS VERY MOMENT is more serious than we ever thought.
This is my concern and this was the basis of my post; that the Dallas Stars are not exactly in the midst of a disaster nor should we panic, but that if they don't figure things out in a hurry we'll be watching them slide down the standings.
See, that's the reality of the situation. I don't care about how they played in November, December or even January. That has no bearing on what is going on right now, in this very moment on the ice. What matters is that the Stars are playing their absolute worst hockey in nearly three years, that the injuries are mounting and that the Stars still have some very tough opponents coming up all while trying to halt a very disturbing trend in their play.
Is it negative? Right now it is. We've seen this before, but what is most frustrating is how we all thought the Stars were over all this and now we're watching them fall off the cliff of success and plummet towards mediocrity. It's not just one thing, it's the entire team looking lost and completely at a loss of confidence and maturity on the ice. This is what is concerning, and this is what is happening right now.
I can understand the sentiments and the reaction I've received from the article. As a fan, I fight to maintain my optimism at any given cost, no matter what. The past two seasons, I refused to give up unless the Stars were absolutely and mathematically eliminated from post-season play. Hell, I'm the one that coined the now-famous phrase "THERE'S STILL TIME!!"
But as a hockey writer and a blogger that exclusively covers this team, I approach writing about the Stars and hockey from as objective a view as I can. I like to think that it's my duty as a writer on this blog, to maintain as much of a level-headed approach as I can. This means that when things are going great and everything is just awesome, I want to approach my articles with a dose of reality. It also means that when things are going poorly, I don't allow my negative emotions about the outcomes of the game affect my objective view of what is happening on the ice.
Whatever is happening, however, I will never -- not once -- approach my writing with false positive or false negativity.
The article today was certainly negative -- but only because of what has happened with this team the past two weeks. The outcomes of the games have been negative, and last night was actually embarrassing in a number of ways.
Just because I'm a Stars fan does not mean that I won't remain objective when it comes to the team I follow. Right now, things are not good with the Stars and that is the approach I will take. I am not saying that we should panic, but I am saying we should be concerned.
The Dallas Stars are in trouble right now and are going to be facing the second-best team in the NHL all the while trying to stop the ship from sinking. It's frustrating to see this happening now, just when things were going so well, but once again -- that's reality.