This past weekend, NBC's Pro Hockey Talk focused much of the day's coverage to the Dallas Stars as they examine each team one by one leading up to the start of the season. One of the topics of concern was the Stars' relevance in the Dallas marketplace and how the franchise can get back to the levels seen in the heyday of the late 1990's and early 2000's.
James O'Brien says that the acquisition of Tyler Seguin signals the arrival of a player the team can truly use to help sell more tickets, that the franchise re-branding could have possibly helped to "turn some heads" over the summer. There's no doubt that the Stars are facing a tough road ahead to rebuild what has been lost the past five years, but this isn't something the team hasn't done before.
The Stars came to Dallas with a competitive and physical team who were okay in the regular season but managed something very important that first year -- they made the postseason. The next year was a lockout-shortened season that ended in a complete dismantling by the Red Wings in the first round, followed by 42 losses and a sixth-place finish in the Central Division in 1996.
It's true that the success of that first team was instrumental in helping market the team in Dallas, but the Stars weren't built overnight. That's why I have to take issue with my good friend James on this point:
Much like the Avalanche in Colorado, the Stars came to Dallas with as close to a ready-made contending team as you'll see in relocated sports franchises.
That helped the Stars hit the ground running fairly quickly (though not as drastically as the instant-success Avs), but the franchise also skipped ahead of the growing pains experienced in markets such as Nashville and Columbus. The Stars even lucked into the fact that they were booming in a lousy era for most Dallas professional sports teams, something they cannot count on with regularity.
The Cup-winning Dallas Stars were built mostly after 1996 or so, with several key moves made to build around the core of young players that had weathered those first few rough years in Dallas. The Stars found relevance and success in the Dallas market not just because of what happened on the ice but thanks to a concerted marketing effort that brilliantly built the sport's popularity in a very short time.
The one key element, however, is one we both agree on: the success of the team in the Dallas marketplace was due mostly to the success of the team overall. Dallas loves a winner and nothing else, and the Stars found their success at a time when no one else in the area could win.
It was the perfect storm that hit at the right time for the Stars and now the team must find that magic formula once more. The easiest method? Just win.
Joe Yerdon takes a look at the changes Jim Nill made to the center depth of the Stars. [PHT]
He also takes an in-depth look at Tyler Seguin. [PHT]
Here's a short piece on Alex Chiasson and his chances for a breakout year this next season. [Rant Sports]
I did a Q&A with NBC Sports up in Chicago about the Dallas Stars and the changes made this season. [NBC Chicago]
Mike Heika has a profile of Cody Eakin. [DMN]
Tom Riper of Forbes thinks it's all a great conspiracy and the Islanders might not be moving to Brooklyn after all. [Forbes]
The Flyers want their fans to come watch paint dry. No, seriously. [Facebook]
Here's a POV video of a sweet goal at a Michigan practice.