The Stars' earlier-than-wished-for summer is only one game away. Now is a good time to take a breath, prepare for the end of the season, and maybe go for a walk after dinner since the game won't be on. That's good, that's fine. It's been a frustrating year, and no matter how many good memories I'll take from this season, it will be nice to have a break from the ups and downs and ultimate disappointment that has racked my hockey soul this year.
So rather than preach about how things aren't as bad as they seem, I think it's time to take another angle. Things have been rough for years now, and even the one playoff appearance ended in heartache, as most early playoff endings tend to do. This is not the best part of being a fan, these last few years. So, on that note, let's hear what Razor has to say:
The Stars will miss the playoffs for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. That represents a treadmill of disappointment and mediocrity that began in 2009 and has produced a futile, every other year turnover in the team's hockey department.
When you're in the throws of this it seems that you're the only ones enduring such frustration and longing, but you're not. There are others of your kind. I think it's valuable to take a little reality check.
So the Stars have missed in 6 of 7; the longest such stretch in franchise history. If you've followed this team as forensically as I have during the void you too would see that the club appears to be on the cusp of making a major next step, a step toward being a consistent playoff team, and more importantly; a squad that challenges for the Cup.
Don't believe me?
"Victory Green colored glasses, Razor"
Peruse these examples of the franchises many assume were championship quality always (some, right out of the NHL womb), but who actually had to endure (or are enduring) some major pain and disappointment before ultimately achieving the prize:
Missed the playoffs in 8 of 9 seasons when they were a smidgen less than their "Mighty" monicker...then they lost in the Cup Final...missed the playoffs again...lost in the W Conference Final...Won the Stanley Cup.
Missed the playoffs in 9 of 10 seasons and played in front of only a smattering of fans at the UC...lost in W Conference Final...won the Stanley Cup...won another Cup three years later.
The list goes on, and there are a couple other names there that people often forget. Anyway, check it out.
This still isn't what we want to hear, right? Hockey is almost gone for a while, and bitterness is just begging to be indulged, craning its sharp, stupid fingers at the many, many years that have gone by without a Stars season that lives up to Dallas standards. This has been the roughest stretch in Dallas Stars history, and it's important not to brush that off. After sitting with that thought for a while, though, it might also be healthy to look at the other franchises have been there, too. These things happen, and there is usually a pretty good indication when the corner is about to be turned. This year proved that the corner was another step or two away, but there's no denying that the Stars are sitting in pretty solid shape to get there long before another seven years goes by.
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I'll have some thoughts on the game later today, but here are some clickity-clacks to hold you for now. Oh, and also this:
As of NOW, top 5 scorers the last 2 seasons: 1.Crosby 187 2.Jamie Benn 162 3.Tyler Seguin 161 4.Alex Ovechkin 159 5.Claude Giroux 158 #Stars— Travis Currie (@travcurrie) April 9, 2015
And here we all thought Tyler Seguin would be the one challenging for a trophy this year. Please relish this recap. [Stars]
Erik Cole has been shut down for the season with a spinal contusion. This is tough news for Cole, and the Stars are doubly disappointed since they now have no chance at getting back their third round pick from the Mattiases trade. [WXYZ]
Jim Nill sees his GM assignment for Canada this summer as a big opportunity. Mike Heika has the scoopity doopity. That is not a real ice cream flavor yet! [DMN]
The AHL doesn't hold any budding superstars at the moment for Dallas, but things are still very bright. [Along the Boards]
This is a pretty good round up of the potential backup goalies available next year, in case you think that is a huge problem that needs to be fixed RIGHT THE WHAT-WHAT NOW. [Two Bearded Ladies]
Kevin Shattenkirk waxes poetic about the elite defensemen in the NHL. Also, it's worth pointing out that this website isn't totally what it purports to be. The players usually aren't actually writing the articles, but instead just giving an interview which is then written up by an uncredited staff writer. I enjoy the pieces, and they do give a cool perspective, but it's just something to keep in mind. [Players' Tribune]
Radim Vrbata is making the Canucks' power play better on and off the ice. Makes you wonder which Stars players gave input that led to the 2nd-half turnaround for the man advantage this year? [SportsNet]
Braden Holtby is a Bruins killer, and his shutout against Boston last night means a furious finish among Ottawa, Boston and Pittsburgh in the season's final three days. I want the Senators in the playoffs so much. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]
Pat Verbeek will be part of Jim Nill's IIHF coaching staff at the Worlds. [Hockey Canada]
And lastly, here is a look at your final release of the NHL Central Scouting rankings for the draft. SALIVATE, EVERYONE. [NHL]