Dallas Stars Daily Links: How a British Soccer Fan Fell in Love with the Stars

Read about how hockey is kind of like soccer for insane people, and discover why Gavin Cleaver can't get enough hockey after the playoffs last year. Links abound concerning the Oilers' problems, the McDavid race, and a special duet for Ralph and Razor.

The playoffs were eventually disappointing last year, but their mere existence in Dallas was also a huge relief. To return to the biggest stage bringing hope and glory back to the fanbase is something in which to take pride.

And in case you have never been around any hockey media until this exact moment (I'm so, so sorry) playoff hockey also has a way of making people stop and fall in love with the game. Take a certain British fellow by the name of Gavin Cleaver, for example:

Not coincidentally, I have fallen madly in love with the Dallas Stars. I was on the fence about hockey being my favorite American sport until last season's NHL playoffs, in which the Stars and Ducks played some of the most intense sport I have ever seen in my life, capped off by a full-on brawl in front of 20,000 people as streamers and confetti rained down from the ceiling. I could barely believe what I was seeing. This, I thought, is the true pinnacle of sport. "PUNCH HIM IN THE [guess what word] MOUTH!" an otherwise normal-seeming woman next to me yelled. I was home. [Dallas Observer]

I actually kind of want to just pull quotes from all over that article, but it's always worth stopping to remember that playoff hockey is special. Even "special" in a different way than we might normally think of it, in fact.

In retrospect, I'm not sure why such a strange sport didn't immediately appeal to me. Think about it. Football: one ball, get ball into zone. Baseball: hit ball, run in diamond. Basketball: get ball through hoop. Ice hockey, get small circular piece of rubber across frictionless playing surface and past a human boulder into a goal the size of a postage stamp. Hockey is the outlier here, and for such a weird setup to catch on in America, it must be undeniably the most awesome thing imaginable. I should have realized this, because I am as hooked as it is possible to be. [Dallas Observer]

Oh, just go read the whole piece already. It's delightful, it's occasionally incisive, and it reminds us of just how fortunate we are to have at least 76 more games to enjoy this year. If Stars playoff hockey can convert cynical British soccer fans, I'm not sure there's much of anything it cannot do. Perhaps assembling furniture without instructions.

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Wednesday links means a hidden hyperlink! .

There is an aphorism that I heard just the other day: You know you're about to start a losing streak when you're winning games you should lose, and you know you're about to start winning a lot when you're losing games you should win. The Stars won last night because their goaltending was good and Vancouver's goaltending forgot to tend, and that is my in-depth analysis. Here's the Stars' recap from the game last night that they won. [Stars]

If you like techno/trance/club/something music interspersed with Ralph and Razor sound bites, then, well, there is this. [Twitter]

Mike Heika answered questions from a lot of people Tuesday who want Kari Lehtonen to be shamed or yelled at or something. Hey, here's an idea: let's try getting a really solid defense and see what happens. [DMN]

Curtis McKenzie has known Jim Nill since McKenzie was 16 years old, in case you didn't know. Here's a cool piece about C-Mac and and his shot in the show this season by Sean Shapiro. Apologies to C-Mac if he doesn't go by that moniker. [Wrong Side of the Red Line]

Mike Ribeiro says that Dave Tippett stuck with him during his tough year in Arizona last season, despite the GM being somewhat less supportive. [Pro Hockey Talk]

Katie Strang profiles the polar opposites from birth that are J. Toews and P. Kane. [ESPN]

Corey Crawford is out with an upper-body injury that sounds muscular or something. Not a conkie though. [CBS Sports]

Oliver Ekman-Larsson is potentially facing a Shea Weber situation when it comes to Norris Trophy voting, says Josh Cooper. [Puck Daddy]

A great article in search of hope for the Oilers this year. It includes this gem: "Team owner John McMullen hired a new team president out of the college hockey ranks and assigned him the task of finding a new general manager. Unable to settle on a candidate, the president just gave himself the job instead, even though he had absolutely no NHL experience. That president was, of course, Lou Lamoriello, who still holds the job to this day." [Grantland]

Mike Babcock is said to be looking for a five-year deal to stay in Detroit. You'd have to think they'll give it to him if it's really just a matter of money, right? [The Score]

Thomas Hickey suffered a cut to his face from a skate blade last night. How can we solve this dangerous issue, everyone? [Pro Hockey Talk]

My stupid prediction about the Pens re-signing Fleury appears to be coming true, according to their GM's silly banter. Rob Rossi will have more on Wednesday, per [Twitter]

Jordin Tootoo is releasing a book that talks about his struggles with substance abuse. [Puck Daddy]

Here is a video of David Ortiz interrupting a Jake Peavy World Series press conference because, oh yeah, he's David Ortiz. MLB.com's super-stupid video thing won't correctly embed for some reason, so here's the link. [MLB.com]

And here is a video that will embed: Mike Ribeiro reminding Arizona that he does have the ability to score goals, albeit ones shot sort of accidentally on Devan Dubnyk: