That would be a pretty good encapsulation of the point I'm going to make here, or at least link to. We know everyone was saying great things about the Stars last year, and we know how the hope built upon those vanished dreams fell down too fast and too painfully to easily forget. Right, yeah. I'm not trying to be naïve here; I look nothing like Hayley Mills, even when she had short hair. I get that cynicism is a far safer approach as a fan, and hey, it's way too early to start making projections for next year.
With that said, here is an excerpt from an article making predictions about next year way too early:
Like the screeching sound of a Pantera guitar riff, the Stars will roar into the 2016 playoffs. Dallas needs to make maybe one addition on defense, but ultimately is solid at forward and goal.
Dallas has its own version of Anaheim’s Corey Perry and in and . The rest should just fall into place around those pieces.
To finish out the season, Dallas went 7-3-0 in their last 10 games and 14-6-0 in their last 20. [emphasis mine]
"A lot of times you look around this league, two guys will have a different winger there, but the constant is they stay together," coach Lindy Ruff said about Benn and Seguin. "Two guys have elite talent, different elite talent for me, Benn is more physical in-tight talent where Tyler has elite speed and an elite shot. Maybe even an elite one-timer, where Jamie probably doesn’t have that part of it, but he has the in-tight grit stuff where he can dominate a game."
If Seguin didn’t miss time with a knee injury, there’s a chance they both could have finished 1-2 in scoring. Benn won the Art Ross.
Also, John Klingberg’s emergence (40 points in 65 games, playing 21:50 per-night) has leveled out the D to some degree, but Dallas probably needs one more solid defenseman to become a true contender.
Yeah, okay, sit down. I see the five hundred or so hands that shot into the air with a "question" upon reading the words "solid" and "goal," but here's the thing: we just watched a season where Devan Dubnyk and Andrew Hammond led their teams back from about forty clicks down the Styx to make their way into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Goaltending is just so, so weird. Will we see that sort of a performance from Kari next year? No, probably not, because we likely will never see that sort of performance from anyone for a long, long time. Recent events should be weighted a bit more than Kari's entire career, of course, but his overall play (and spurts of quality netminding in the second half) give me a modicum of confidence that the Stars won't be foiled quite as easily in 2015 when it comes to the last man back. And you can bet Jim Nill will have a better safety net in net than he had to start year. As always, my informing you of the ability to bet on something is in no way a suggestion that you do so. Gambling is often a terrible idea!
The forwards really should produce another top-five goal-scoring season again barring any major systemic alterations or catastrophic injuries. The Stars possess the puck and the Stars score. They might not be the absolute best at it again (Tampa was okay, too), but they should still be elite.
Defense, of course, promises us only two things: a full season of John Klingberg, and a slightly-to-extremely different ensemble on that end of the bench with him. I see little point in making predictions until we see what the Stars are icing behind their blue line come next September.
If nothing else, you can take consolation from the Stars' 92 points. The eighth seeds had 98 and 99 points this year; Andrew Hammond and Devan Dubnyk practically put up a negative GAA after January (well, Hammond actually starting leaking a bit more, but the wins kept coming), and they still only barely managed to secure wild card spots. The early stumbles that sunk the Stars this year will not be repeated on Jim Nill's watch, in one way or another. The leashes will be short, and the contingency plans will be more extensive. That's one prediction I'm fine with.
* * * * *
What did you do on your first day after the regular season? I drank horsetail tea and tobogganed down a staircase, really.
Jamie Benn still won the Art Ross Trophy, and it's still worth reading about. [Hockey Writers]
Pop Quiz Time, this is a new feature that I will be running because I am a quizmaster, actually. Here is the quiz: Is Jamie Benn amazing? Answer: [WFAA]
Here is the other quiz: who led the Stars in scoring during the 2006-2007 season with a mere 59 points? Cool list of all the past team leaders here. [Stars]
Here are some season grades for the Stars. It's nothing you don't already know, but hey, grades are grades. [Hockey Writers]
Patrick Kane is sounding probable for game one vs. Nashville per CSN's Pat Boyle. [Twitter]
Dave Tippett doesn't see himself manning an M1 Abrams again any time soon. [Fox Sports Arizona]
For these next two links, there is a specific soundtrack that you need. I'll take the liberty of embedding it here--there is a naughty word or two, though, so don't blast it on your phone speakers in the bathroom stall at work.
Ted Nolan and his coaching staff have been, you know, by Tim Murray. This is the least surprising firing of yesterday, with the possible exception of [see next link below]. [CBC]
Toronto basically fired everyone. GM Dave Nonis, interim head coach Pete Horachek, his staff, their director of scouting, many of his scouts...it was a figurative bloodbath yesterday. [Yahoo]
Will Toronto go for Mike Babcok? Or will Buffalo fling dollar bills in the air like they just don't care? [Twitter]
Or perhaps the Leafs shall go for Mike Futa or Paul Fenton. Whoever might they be, you ask? Well, click this link and stuff some new knowledge into the old brain hole. [THN]
Was missing the playoffs the best thing for Boston? Uh, I don't think so, no. That is not the best thing. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]
Finally, Jaromir Jagr has been officially re-signed by Florida. I love this in all the worst and best ways. I dunno what that means, but, well, Jagr. Jaromir Jagr. [Puck Daddy]