The Dallas Stars will wrap-up the nightmare that history books will call "2016-2017" tonight.
Then Sunday might be quiet. Monday and Tuesday will bring the exit interviews. The ceremonial "cleaning" of the lockers.
Well, who knows? After all, when the Dallas Stars make news no one ever reports that it might be coming.
Before the faithful (but angry) horde gets its blood, however, there must be 60 more minutes. And just the 60 will do, thank you. What the injury ninja might do with the extra five as a closing act is something best left to morbid and disturbed imaginations such as yours truly's.
Dissappointment has been a bit of a hallmark for what is fast approaching a decade- Though home finales have delivered their moments between Mike Modano's swan song and Jamie Benn's last minute heroics to earn himeself some hardware and lighten some hearts in the building. Or the rumor of Jim Nill rippling through the building as the season's clock wound down in April 2013.
Chances of magic tonight seem a bit light.
The Colorado Avalanche and the Dallas Stars once did epic, titanic battle in the spring. Pillars of the West, a triumvirate of strength along with the hated Red Wings- Both will soon begin a "Hangover"-like sifting through the rubble of their train-wrecked seasons in a search for answers.
Colorado even more-so than Dallas.
It's hard to fathom 47 points. 22-55-3. There isn't a team in the East that has 40 losses. The Avs have 55. After a 9-9-0 start, even. With $72 million in payroll in a $73 million capped league.
No matter what happens tonight it will be the worst record in the league since the the Atlanta Thrashers (14-57-7-4) dropped a total of 39 points in their expansion year.
That's bad. What will happen to Joe Sakic, some wonder...
The Stars did not fall quite so far. Whether they wrap up the season with 77 points or 79, they've far out-paced their worst season as a franchise in 1995-1996. 66 points were all that team mustered on a record of 26-42-14. The interesting part about that forgotten, all-time worst season, was that it was followed immediately by seasons of 104, 109, and 114 points culminating in the best day of your life or mine.
Of course, in that situation the guy who had the bad season on his coaching resume stuck around and oversaw the meteoric rise to the Western Conference's top.
This time- Well, it won't be long until we have more insight into that subject matter.
Jim Nill told the Stars' post-game show after the debacle against the Predators Tuesday night "We're all disappointed. Don't worry. If they (the fans) think those players in the dressing room are sitting around the campfire, they are not having any fun right now. It's been a disappointing season for them, for the ownership, for the management, and for the coaches. It's been a tough, tough year. I've been in this business a long time, and this has been one of the biggest grinds I've seen. You name it, whatever could happen has happened this year. That's just the way it is."
That's just the way it is- Which you could apply to any number of frequent happenings this year. Injuries perhaps? Justin Dowling and Brett Ritchie both went down Tuesday so Denis Gurianov and Mark McNeill (recently acquired from the Blackhawks) have been re-called, and will sport numbers 34 and 38, respectively.
We expect Kari Lehtonen to start, but it would be more fitting if both netminders saw action again, wouldn't it? Colorado will start Jeremy Smith against the Stars and Calvin Pickard against the Blues on Sunday to wrap-up their year.
Let's watch the future again, shall we? Gobs of youth on display means not much in the way of "which one of these guys is playing his last as a Star?" candidates, though expansion draft protection theories run rampant.
The fun of the summer is nearly upon us. That new beginning will come, as they say, from this crappy beginning's end.
That's what's great about sports- no matter who sticks around, there's always next season.
From Stars PR:
Forward Gemel Smith notched an assist (0-1=1) against Nashville on Thursday night and now has points in career-best three consecutive games (1-2=3). His previous career-long occurred earlier this season from Nov. 5 - 6, 2016 when he notched points in two consecutive games (2-1=3) for his first career NHL point streak. Smith was recalled from the Texas Stars (AHL) on March 31 and at the time of his recall, shared fourth on Texas with 11 goals and was tied for fifth on the team with 30 points (11-19=30) in 50 AHL games this season. He also paced the club with three shorthanded goals and shared fourth with three power play goals. Smith made his NHL debut this season on Oct. 22, 2016 against the Columbus Blue Jackets and recorded has six points (3-3=6) with 21 penalty minutes in 16 games. The native of Toronto, Ont. was originally selected in the fourth round (104th overall) by Dallas in the 2012 NHL Draft.
CELLY FOR ELIE
Rookie Remi Elie recorded an assist (0-1=1) on Thursday night against the Predators and now has assists in two of his last four games (0-2=2). In 17 NHL games this season, the forward has notched seven points (1-6=7) with eight penalty minutes. Additionally, he has logged 30 hits, 11 blocked shots and 11 takeaways. The forward posted the first multi-point game of his NHL career with two assists (0-2=2) vs. the Sharks at American Airlines Center on March 24. Elie also tied a game-high and set a new career-best with a +3 plus/minus rating. He registered his first career NHL point streak (1-1=2) from March 8 - 12, recording his first career NHL goal (1-0=1) on March 12 against San Jose. On March 8 vs. Ottawa, he notched his first career NHL point (0-1=1), assisting on Tyler Seguin's goal in the second period. He made his NHL debut on March 4 against the Florida Panthers, logging 15:29 TOI with one hit and one faceoff win (1-for-1, 100%). Elie was recalled from the Texas Stars (AHL) on March 3, and was tied for sixth on Texas with 25 points (8-17=25) in 50 games played this season at the time of his call-up. In two professional seasons with Texas, he has registered 42 points (14-28=42) in 114 regular-season games. The native of Cornwall, Ont. was originally selected by Dallas in the second round (40th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.