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Dallas Stars Daily Links: A Decade of Doubt Spawns Questions About Playoff Power

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The Stars wrestle with the devil they know as they prepare to take on the Devils at home. Plus, rating the 2016 World Cup of Hockey jerseys, and Jaromir Jagr is (tied for) third.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

After the past month, the Dallas Stars still can take back the top spot in the Western Conference with a victory tonight against the New Jersey Devils.

But it's going to take belief to prevail in the playoffs, which may be one commodity running short in the fan base after a decade of near-misses and early exits.

While you might celebrate the team's 38-20-7 record, Doubt will tell you the Stars are under .500 since Jan. 1.

While you might boast possession numbers that say your team is second best in the NHL at spending time in the offensive zone, Doubt will point out it also ranks 26th in save percentage.

While you might talk about a 10-year plan and two superstars - Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin - who will lead for years to come, Doubt will ask if there's a chance seven of the current players aren't on the roster next season.

As painful as it can be, the Stars do have the opportunity to take a good look at where they are and who they need to be, Heika adds.

The Stars have their issues. They are certainly not the completion of Jim Nill's vision quite yet. But that, as a neighboring sports teams likes to say, is part of "the process."

And Doubt plays a big role in that process. You don't get to be good unless you have an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. And, maybe, you don't get to be good just because you jumped to the top of the standings for a three-month span to start the season.

There's more at Heika's place. [SportsDayDFW]

Speaking of tonight's game, Brett Ritchie has been called up from Cedar Park while Patrick Sharp is injured and Patrick Eaves is suffering from illness.

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Elsewhere in Heika, Mike talks about how a team's best players set the tone, for better or otherwise. [SportsDayDFW]

And Mark Stepneski shares yesterday's practice update ahead of tonight's game against the Devils.

Benneguin share their reactions to making the Team Canada preliminary roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

The Stars' Tom Holy (bless) held the camera so JaBenn and Ty-Lord could do their post-World Cup selection interviews poolside. (<-- Note the subtle reminder that if you played hockey here, you'd be doing this by now.) [Sportsnet]

And the latest installment of "The Franchise" recaps the story so far of Jamie as Stars captain.

Last night, at the war:

Another day, another Jaromir Jagr milestone. No. 68 collected his 1,850th NHL point against the Avs last night and now is tied with Gordie Howe for third place all-time.

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price, still recovering from a late November injury, says he's "confident" he'll play again this season. [CBC]

Matt Larkin chooses his top 10 prospects who are not yet full-time NHL'ers. [The Hockey News]

And Scott Cullen picks his NHL third-quarter awards leaders, featuring JaBenn and John Klingberg. [TSN]

Icethetics rates the 2016 World Cup of Hockey jerseys and takes a look at the logo design process.

The Detroit Red Wings' Johan Franzen has been sidelined with concussion issues and is using his downtime to give Roberto Luongo a run for his money in the secret-social-media-genius sweepstakes. [Puck Daddy]

Dartmouth alumnus and Allsvensken Leaguer Adam Estoclet writes vividly about the concussion that has put both his career and his life on hold in "The Darkness." [The Players' Tribune]

The Texas Stars got work done on Wednesday night, as Curtis McKenzie brought two goals to help the team defeat the Iowa Wild in Cedar Park.

Finally: Bricklayer, canoe instructor, golf-course gardener, ice cream man...find out what some big NHL stars did as their first jobs in the NHL's latest episode of "Puck Personalities." Enjoy.