That means the stakes have never been higher, especially for head coach Rick Bowness and general manager Jim Nill:
If Bowness can lead the Stars to meet those expectations, it will be one of the great feel-good stories of the 2022 sports calendar... If this season is a failure, Bowness will probably be able to catch on as an assistant somewhere but a job at the top will be hard to come by.
If Bowness fails, general manager Jim Nill’s seat will be burning as well.... Unless things go absurdly south, it’s hard to see Nill pulling the plug on Bowness midseason. That means if Bowness does depart... would Nill get to hire a fifth head coach and then operate the franchise in a contract year as a general manager?
Then there’s the players to consider, specifically the expiring UFAs. Dallas was only able to make it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020 because of players like Joe Pavelski and Alexander Radulov — could this be the last year one if not both are in victory green?
The aging process is undefeated but Pavelski is doing a masterful job at holding it off. Aside from his injury last season, Radulov has also been very productive. Perhaps in one, or both, of those situations, the Stars decide they don’t want to pay the asking price or that they’d rather bow out one year too soon rather than two years too late.
You can read more about what’s on the line this season from Saad Yousuf here.
Here’s the latest injury updates for the season opener tonight against the New York Rangers:
And, of course, morning skate lines:
Stars during morning skate in New York:— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) October 14, 2021
Around the League
We have #MDK division games again!
- The Winnipeg Jets started their season on a sour note, falling 4-1 to the Anaheim Ducks. [Anaheim Calling]
- Meanwhile the Colorado Avalanche kicked things off right with a 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. [Mile High Hockey]
Elsewhere, Alex Ovechkin took sole possession of fifth place on the NHL Career Goals leaderboard:
Big news for the New York Islanders, who locked up Ryan Pulock for eight more years at just $6.25M AAV:
Ryan Pulock, reportedly signed to an 8x$6.2M extension by NYI, is a high-end top pairing two-way defenceman who's the primary puck-mover on one of the league's best pairings. #Isles pic.twitter.com/bsqupTDbuV— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) October 14, 2021
Speaking of which, Greg Wyshynski makes his full division predictions, as well as joining me on the “Islanders for the Stanley Cup” bandwagon:”
Why the @NYIslanders will win the 2022 Stanley Cup.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) October 14, 2021
In this week's column, I spoke with Ken Daneyko about Lou Lamoriello building championship teams. Plus, explaining my full NHL standings predictions for the season. (Sorry, Flyers, Stars and Flames...)https://t.co/AWmienJ7UX
Finally, Jaromir Jagr may not be in the NHL anymore, but he’s still dazzling as much as ever: