With the dawning of today's sun comes a dawning of a new season.
Okay, that may be a little over dramatic, but I think it properly sums up how most of us feel.
In my mind, opening day is one of the highlights of the season. The disappointments of the past are behind you, and you can focus on the promise of what could happen this year instead. With zero games having been played, I have been let down zero times so far in 2013. It's a nice thought -- and for 13 NHL teams today, it's one that won't last into the following morning. Until then, a fan can, if he so chooses, ignore some of the permeating problems that his team has, and believe that his team will finish in 5th place in the conference. It's a dream that may not last very long, but it doesn't have to go away just yet.
After all, the Dallas Stars did make some improvements during the offseason. The top 6 forwards was a rather weak group, with players like Vernon Fiddler and Adam Burish having to fill in as injuries mounted. At the time, there was no one else to choose from. Now, though, with some big signings, that shouldn't be the case.
"I like our team," Gaglardi said. "We've improved our club from a year ago. We acknowledged our top six wasn't as deep as it needed to be, so most of our moves were focused on improving that. I think we've done that. Obviously, it would be nice to have (unsigned restricted free agent) Jamie (Benn) here, and hopefully he'll be here very soon. In the meantime, I think we have a deeper team and better top six. I expect our club to do better than last year."
The Stars believe that the additions of Jaromir Jagr, Ray Whitney and Derek Roy provide a boost to their top six, and that Jagr and Whitney bring valuable experience. Both players have been in the league a long time and both know how to win.
"We went after established leadership," said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. "When you get guys that have won Cups and played 20 years, and you've got Ray Whitney, who is a real strong personality and a great leader for us, and you add it to the mix here, I think that is what (GM) Joe (Nieuwendyk) wanted to solidify."
There are a number of questions that remain to be answered, though. The defense has two untested rookies, and will probably move up to three should any injuries occur. The power play last year was a franchise worst. The penalty kill lost a number of core players, and holes will have to be filled. Whether or not the Stars can have a successful season now hinges on how well they can handle these issues.
Until any games are played though, I can dream big, and hope that all of these problems have been solved.
Coming up in today's links: All of the Stars news you need to keep you going until gametime, signings and updates from around the league, and where you can go to get free beer.
- The Dallas Stars are doing a bunch of parties and prize giveaways today. The Dallas Stars have their own app, with prizes given out for each game. Also, If you plan on going to the home opener tonight, make a sign, tweet a picture of it to @DallasStars, and bring it to the game. There will also be a tailgate party at the AT&T Plaza beginning 2 hours before the game. Finally, if you can't tell by the links, you really should be following them on twitter. [Twitter/Twitter/Twitter/Twitter]
- With the return of hockey comes the return of Dallas Stars members on the radio. Razor talks with the Musers on The Ticket, and Mike Modano speaks on The Fan [Stars Inside Edge/Stars Inside Edge]
- Here's a few final notes from Mark Stepneski about the last day of training camp. If you want to see more training camp video, he has that posted as well. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Mike Heika takes a look at his top 5 questions for the Stars this season, and whether or not the Stars can overcome them. [Dallas News]
- Here's a look at how the team was built according to the opening night roster. Now, I don't have the stats on me, but I generally believe that championship teams have much fewer FA signings, and many more draft picks playing for them. The Stars should start leaning that direction in just another season or two. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Heika prognosticates what the final line pairings will look like after the first few games. You know, once that Jamie Benn guy signs his new contract. [Dallas News]
- Ralph Strangis knows that more people will be watching the Stars on TV this year than in seasons past. Hard to disagree when only 514 homes in Dallas watched them the last time they were on TV. [Dallas News]
- Around the rest of the West, there were a smattering of signings yesterday. The St. Louis Blues won the Wade Redden race, Alex Edler signed a 6 year extension with the Vancouver Canucks, and The Los Angeles Kings extended their coaching and management staff. [ESPN/ESPN/ESPN]
- The Globe and Mail tries to figure out why exactly it is that Canadians just can't quit hockey. This quote probably sums it up nicely: "People were saying we should boycott, but in Winnipeg you can't boycott, because the next guy over is waiting to take your tickets." [Globe and mail]
- The Ottowa Senators may have won the "make it up to your fans" competition, by handing out free beer at tonight's game. Anyone up for a quick road trip up there? [Puck Daddy]
- Finally, Allan Muir talks about what exactly will make this NHL season so great. While about 90% of it deals with the East Coast, this article is responsible for today's video. I dare you to watch this and not get pumped for tonight's game. I dare you.