I know it’s only been two seasons since the Stars last appeared in the postseason, but there has been a lot that the Stars packed into those two seasons that makes you forget it wasn’t that long ago they made the postseason tournament. (Not to mention everything that happened this year on their way back to the best time of the year.)
There were the coaching changes, and changes to the way the team played, and players acquired, signed, traded, or waived. Compliments on the steadfastness of the fans and criticisms of the “late arriving” crowd due to empty seats at puck drop. There were front office gaffes and questions about missed opportunities to improve the roster and the unexpected rise of Dallas as a potential landing spot for two of the biggest players moved this past summer. And, of course, the awarding of Dallas as host of the Winter Classic, the league’s marquee event each season.
Through it all, the highest of highs and lowest of lows, you were there.
As the first round kicks off on Wednesday, I want you all to take a moment to bask in the fact that this team, that looked like it was on track to finish in 9th place (the most mediocre of finishes without playoffs and without a good chance of a top lottery draft pick) earlier this season, has made it to the postseason. Ignore the “what ifs” that everyone is going to ultimately ask about this season and enjoy the postseason life for as long as it lasts.
At times, these games in the first round will be simultaneously excruciatingly long (when the team is losing) and won’t go fast enough (when the team is holding a one goal lead). Other times that game will go so fast (when they’re winning by more than a goal) that you’ll blink and feel you missed it. Regardless of the pace, take a minute to make sure you’re soaking it all in.
There will be plenty of time to dissect the game after it is played, and plenty of time to analyze what could have been better or where the team could be luckier or how that uncalled penalty obviously influenced the outcome of the game (news flash: it probably didn’t actually change the way the game was going to go) between games in the series.
But during the game play — revel in the postseason hockey. Take in the heightened emotions and the harder hits and the skilled moves and the energy that both teams are bringing to the table. Because all too soon, it could come to an end, and we’ll be shockingly thrust into the abyss that is the hockey offseason.
Make every last minute of every game left count. Be loud, wear green, and go Stars.