Sports seasons come and go every single year. Hockey Itself lasts over eight months for some teams, but that is not enough for us. The Stars haven't played hockey in three months, and they won't for another three, and it feels like a million lifetimes have passed in the time it has taken for a couple of RFAs to sign appropriate deals. (Oh, and I think there was a trade or something recently, too.)
It is perhaps loathsome of us to complain about the lack of professional sports entertainment when hockey is around so much more often than not. It is perhaps even more loathsome of us to ignore that observation while we continue to utter maledictions at the endlessness of the offseason, but as a great philosopher once said, "Que Sera, Sera."
Last summer, we looked at the Stars prospective third line and came up with a few songs that embodied each player's season to some extent. That was in August, but we had a much more eventful summer to tide us over (until Friday evening arrived), and I can't wait any longer, so it's time to get back at it again with three new players:
@RobertTiffin 3, 6, 32— Tyler B (@brelyt) July 9, 2015
So there you have it. As a matter of fact, one theme comes to mind which pretty well encompasses last season for all three players, but we're sticking to songs with lyrics here, so let's get started.
For years, the Stars had been waiting for the next young defenseman to come up and lead the team. Fans had seen everyone from Dan Jancevski to Mark Fistric, Nicklas Grossmannn, Matt Niskanen, Ivan Vishneskiy and Phillip Larsen waltz into town with promise, only to depart unceremoniously at best.
Then John Klingberg was promoted to the big club. Badly bereft of right-handed defensemen, Klingberg's handedness was surprisingly far down the list when it came to reasons for being elated at his arrival. This time...this time, things were different. Much as fans tried to caution themselves that they had been burned by early promise before, it was tough not to get enamored with this wonderful young Swede and his impish grin.
She's not the same that's all you can say.
When I've heard enough, I tell myself
That we've learned our lesson, but I,
Don't wanna walk away from Emaline.
And how could they? How could anyone walk away from a player who seemed so sure, so smooth, and so calm despite entering one of the most chaotic periods of the most chaotic season the Stars had been through in some time?
It only took me one look to understand Emaline,
sometime I don't know what she's saying.
It was clear after just one look: this kid was something special, and opposing forwards started to figure that out, too. This kid could confuse the overzealous wingers with the best of them. So after being everything fans could have hoped for--the best rookie defenseman in the NHL by all measurements except the writers' opinions--the Stars were faced with the tough decision about how to approach RFA negotiations with their sterling new defender.
Don't let me walk away from Emaline
For stupid reasons
Now I'm talking 'bout money
When money talks
I hate to listen
But lately it's been screaming in my ear
Scream Klingberg's rookie season did, and Jim Nill had no choice but to listen. Before April was over, the revelatory young blueliner had signed on to remain a Dallas Star for seven more years while making less than Andrews Greene or MacDonald. No, the Stars would not be walking away from Klingberg any time soon, and only one look is more than enough to tell you why.
I thought I'd write, I thought I'd let you know
In the year since you've been gone I've finally let you go
And I hope you find some time to drop a note
Trevor Daley was coming off a season in which he achieved a career high in scoring while sporting one of the alternate captaincies. Nonetheless, the Stars ended up moving him when the right deal came along. He will be greatly missed as both a wonderful personality and a dedicated and passionate player, and it would be just lovely if he found his way back to the Stars in the right role someday down the road.
But if you won't, then you won't
And I will consider you gone
However, Trevor Daley also had an extremely rough time last year when it came to a defenseman's first responsibility--that is, to defend--and with eight defensemen stuck in Dallas, something had to give. If Daley, at 31, wasn't going to reveal a secret defensive sauce that he had heretofore kept hidden, then it was time for the Stars to make a tough decision, and that's just what Jim Nill did. As of Friday evening, Trevor Daley was gone.
Fresh off one of his best seasons ever, Kari Lehtonen came into camp looking ready to lead the Stars back to the playoffs. After playing a much-needed 65 games in 13-14 despite suffering a concussion, Kari was poised to make the remaining four years of his contract look like a prescient move by Nieuwendyk. But from the first goal he surrendered onwards, Kari didn't quite look like himself.
I feel like a quote out of context
With holding the rest
So I can be for you what you want to see
I got the gestures and sounds
Got the timing down
It's uncanny, yeah
You'd think it was me
It wasn't that Kari was never good. In fact, he had some very good stretches during the year. The problem was that the Kari Lehtonen of years prior--the one who convinced GMJN to sign him to a five-year extension the September before he reached free agency--was absent far more often than not. Some people started to wonder if the year was a fluke, or if perhaps Kari was beginning to feel the effects of high-event games on a goalie over 30.
And I swore I was listening
But I started drifting
Around the part about me
Acting my age
Nonetheless, the Stars stuck with Kari, not having much of alternative until Enroth's eventual arrival. Everyone knew Kari needed to be better, but as the season wore on and the defense improved, the team had no choice but to send Lehtonen back out there and ask for him to do his thing.
And now if it's all the same
I've people to entertain
I [rob guys] one handed
Do some magic tricks and
The best imitation of myself
So this year, the Stars executed their backup backup plan. Surely Lehtonen is fired up to prove that the Niemi signing was an unnecessary insurance policy, but will it translate to Kari being Kari, or will the Stars once again only see a pale imitation of the Lehtonen that carried them for so long?
And if my mind's somewhere else
You won't be able to tell
I do the best imitation of myself
If things get back to normal for Kari and the Stars, here's the only imitation of himself I'd like to see Kari doing this year: