Buckle up, kids, we’ve got 23 days until the puck drops on Big D’s 2017/2018 season. That means it’s time to take the ole Hot Take Mobile out of the garage and run it around the neighborhood. You know, to make sure all the misplaced optimism, unfounded criticisms, and rampant hysteria are where I left them at the end of last season. This is an especially critical task for fans of the Two-Time Defending Offseason Champion Dallas Stars.
Thankfully, the Stars’ Bros-in-Chief were kind enough to do a tandem interview with ESPN. It was a fun, fluffy piece (propers to Daily Links), where the pair tackled tough questions about last season, this offseason, and the year to come. For the most part, the answers were pleasant enough, however, several sections sent my slumbering superfan scurrying either towards optimism (Go Stars!) or panic (No, Stars!). I figured I’d go ahead and share my emotional journey.
Seguin: I did lose focus and had to still find a way to compete. It was miserable, something you never want to go through. I mean, [I didn't] even like hockey.
Go Stars! You want your most dynamic player to hate losing. To loathe it. As a fan, hearing Tyler Seguin talk about the lousy end of a lousy season is encouraging. This is the guy that’s going to buy into new Coach Ken Hitchcock’s ideas on accountability and three-zone hockey. This is how leaders elevate the rest of the lineup. Mike Modano did the same thing, once upon a time, and it brought Dallas a Cup.
No, Stars! Oh man, Tyler Seguin hates playing for the Stars and isn’t going to sign his extension!
Benn: [Stars GM Jim Nill] called me right afterward and explained why he made the deal. It's a business, there's no hard feelings. Just because it's your brother, you can't have a grudge against your GM.
Go Stars! More maturity from Stars’ leadership. Benn’s job is to keep the team together, moving towards a common objective, and to serve as bridge between the players and coaches. His response shows a polite distance between himself and management, and also an acknowledgement that it’s GM Jim Nill’s job to improve the roster. At this point, why should Stars fans expect anything other than class and professionalism from a Benn?
No, Stars! This is like my wife telling me it’s “totally fine” that I promised to do the dishes and then did not do the dishes.
Benn: It was like 10:15 in the morning and Jagr just rolled in and put on his gitch [underwear], went to his stall, sat on the floor and fell asleep for about 45 minutes. Me and Brenden Morrow were taking photos.
No, Stars! Two people taking pictures of a third person asleep on the floor is pretty weird.
Go Stars! Yup, 100% weird.
Seguin: At least one more. [Winning a Cup] is a lot harder than people think. Start with one… It's a grind. I'd be really happy with one more.
No, Stars! Seguin plans on retiring after the Dallas Stars win the Cup this season. Such an abrupt departure would undoubtedly torpedo any chance of a repeat. Knowing Seguin has one foot out the door, should Nill consider a trade?
Go Stars! The twin departures of Patrick Sharp and Antti Niemi leave Seguin as the only prominent Dallas Star with his name on the Stanley Cup. For all of their promise, this is a team short on been there / done that. Seguin is now 25, and has played 508 NHL regular season games with another 49 in the playoffs. That’s veteran territory. The Stars can only benefit from Seguin’s experiences, and his apparent willingness to lead is a major positive.
Benn on Seguin: He is a leader and could be a better one and have more impact in the room. He's got a big personality; we've all seen that through social media and his charitable work.
No, Stars! Could be a better leader? He’s calling him out! Can the team survive a nasty feud between its two marquee players?
Seguin on Benn: He's been my ultimate captain so far in my career. Don't tell him that, though. We're close in age; it's a little weird.
Go Stars! Benn + Seguin = Super Best Friends!