The Dallas Stars are in the playoffs.
You didn’t really expect any other ending for this Dallas Stars season, did you? After starting off with a pretty “meh” October, the Stars:
- won nine of the next 10 games;
- had a COVID outbreak right after Christmas;
- played arguably their best game of the year, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0 in a thrilling playoff-style game;
- set themselves up to be firmly in the first Wild Card position before a winless swing through Western Canada;
- blew a three goal lead to the Arizona Coyotes and hung on for dear life to get the point needed to qualify for the playoffs in game 81;
- scored the game winning goal on an EBUG at home to finish off the regular season; AND THEN!
- saw the Nashville Predators blow a four goal lead to secure the first Wild Card spot in game 82 of the season.
There really was no other way a season that had so many ups and downs was going to finish.
The crazy thing is, there’s mixed reaction to Dallas making the playoffs and avoiding the Colorado Avalanche in the first round, something many fan bases would likely consider fortuitous.
Some fans will argue that they would have rather the team not qualified at all. They want change: behind the bench, on the ice, wherever that change may come from for what they see as a flawed roster whose talents haven’t been deployed the way they feel would maximize results throughout the season.
Others are just happy to be here.
Here’s the thing, though. This is what the players and staff live and sacrifice for. Not celebrating the fact that they survived a grueling, 82 game season with enough points to make the postseason is a bit of a slap in the face for the work the organization put in to get to this point.
“Very exciting time,” Tyler Seguin said before the team flew to Calgary on Sunday. “This is what we play for. This is what all offseason last year for everybody has been for. All the grueling this year, all the crazy travel days, good periods of hockey, bad periods of hockey, all that’s gone in the trash now. We’ve made it and now anything can happen.”
There will be time to discuss how the team is constructed, what changes need to be made, where the coaching staff will go next season, the future direction of the team, and what the salary cap will allow the team to do to make improvements.
But right now, it’s time to take a step back and enjoy the postseason. There are 16 other fan bases that would love to have a chance to have a playoff game played in front of a full crowd this year. Dallas Stars fans will get to enjoy that at least twice (Saturday for Game 3, Monday for Game 4).
And as Seguin said, anything can happen in the playoffs. We’ve seen that story before, too.