Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Man Behind the Music at American Airlines Center

While you can't please everyone when it comes to music at a hockey game, Michael Gruber is trying to do more than just make people happy. Also, Devan Dubnyk isn't bad, actually.

A few months back, we asked our readers for their suggestions and comments regarding the in-arena presentation of Dallas Stars hockey. There were interesting debates, vicious assaults against and on behalf of organ music, and lots of opinions about heavy metal.

Well, as we told you then, the person who would be hearing those suggestions was one Michael Gruber, or "Grubes" as he is better known. And before you launch into a vitriolic spiel about how he hasn't played that one Cake song you begged for, I would recommend that you read the good profile on Mr. Gruber over at the Dallas Observer. It goes into good detail about what his job entails and how he makes a lot of the decisions an arena DJ must make:

Grubes has aspired to change the way the Stars approach music. He has done this with a series of initiatives to try to keep the music fresh while making it fit the game of hockey and, more importantly, the Dallas Stars' personality. This is no easy task. First, he phased out a great deal of organ music of the Stars' repertoire. Grubes explains that while organ music works for teams like those in the Original Six (Rangers, Bruins, Blackhawks, Red Wings, Maple Leafs and Canadiens), the Stars have only been around for 20 years. Their history is not tied to "old time hockey" as much as their history is their own. For Grubes, it is his mission to make the music scream "Dallas Stars hockey."


His third initiative was to incorporate video game music (the genre is commonly known as "chiptune") and movie scores into his repertoire. The result has been met with acclaim. Grubes recalls a recent game where he played music from the Legend of Zelda and a fan tweeted at him asking if that's what he was playing. Grubes refers to use of songs like this as "easter eggs" and is pleased when fans catch it. For fights, he opts to use music from the Nintendo classic Mike Tyson's Punch Out in lieu of the more common Beastie Boys' "Fight For Your Right To Party". [Dallas Observer]

The piece also goes into how Gruber got the position in the first place, and it has a good little mention on his role in bringing the well-known Pantera song back into the forefront as the Stars' goal song. Give it a read.

As for the music, I'll go ahead and react to the above: I like organ music. If you don't, go listen to the Interstellar soundtrack and get back to me about how I was right to like it. Organ music with hockey is nostalgic--probably because of NHL '94 in my case--and I tend to think it embodies the "true" feel of hockey. So I get a little sad when I look around at sporting venues and see it disappearing from ice rinks in favor of what's "hep" and "neato" for all you kids and your eye-foam gadgets. I am 28.

After I react that way, though, Grubes' logic here is reassuring. It's not that he or The Man hates the organ like some kind of iconoclastic villain and thinks all music needs to be loud, throwaway and timely; the musical tide-shifting is much more an outgrowth of the Grubes & Co. philosophy of how the game ought to be experienced by the majority of their fans. They need to give the Dallas Stars brand an identity, especially in a town that has so many other teams vying for attention. I get that, even if I might quibble over the methodology at times.

I am probably not going to experience the game the way a lot of other attendees do, and that's okay. Hearing some of the logic behind the choices that clash with my preference really helps me to accept the differences instead of getting too annoyed by them, as is my tendency more often than not. Plus, chiptunes are sort of amazing. Call it an obsession, but they make me smile.

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The Stars beat the Oilers last night, and you can read about how and why they did it here. Well, you probably know the why. [Stars]

The minutes were also much more evenly distributed on defense last night, as Ruff made good on his promise to get the young third pairing some more minutes. It's amazing how playing Edmonton makes coaches feel comfortable doing things like that. [War on Ice]

Ales Hemsky knows that going back to Rexall Place later this year will be a pretty big deal for him. [DMN]

Speaking of Hemsky, Sean McIndoe has labeled him as the Worst Offseason Acquisition at the quarter mark of the season. I get it, but still, it just feels like Hemsky has been good, apart from his documented and observed gameplay being solid. I am still happy about his contract, no matter what anyone s- "HAY MAYBE TAKE OF UR VICTOR GREEN SHADES ROBDERT!" [Grantland]

The Mooterus is still drawing the retrospective ire of the hockey community, so that's something. But wow, I forgot about those red Buffalo sweaters. Five regrettable jerseys from about 15 years ago. [The Hockey Writers]

Mike Heika answered chat-type questions in his Tuesday repartee. Someone needs to start coming up with better screen names for the questions, though. How about "Belfour Play" or something, I am just saying. Actually maybe don't do that, because then Mike Heika will have to bear all of those terrible names. He works hard. [DMN]

Devan Dubnyk was sporting a 5-0-1 record with a .926 save percentage prior to the Coyotes' game against Colorado Tuesday. It's pretty safe to say that his performance as a backup so far is exactly what the Stars were hoping to be able to get out of their own big fella, Anders Lindback. That has not exactly happened, as you might have noticed. [AZ Central]

Are the Sharks a playoff team? Oh, yes, of course they are. Now, what they do when they're in the playoffs, well, let me get my Joking clothes and meet you back here in five minutes. I've got a lot of good lines for this one. [The Hockey Writers]

This isn't specifically directed at the Stars or anything, but I'll indulge another grumpy part of myself and say that I agree with this sentiment: stop banging the glass like you're Dudley Dursley at the reptile house. [The Hockey News]

TSN looks at the analytics all-stars 25% of the way through the season. No Stars, but there are some surprises there (unless you've been following the numbers closely, in which case you may not be all that surprised). [TSN]

Donald Brashear, Noted Enforcer, is heading to Sweden's MODO, former home of a certain Hall of Fame golfer who also played hockey in Colorado for a l'il while. [Puck Daddy]

Finally, Puck Daddy also had a piece about the New York Islanders' dominance in the shootout this year. John Tavares is here to provide you with a video-taped example of it.