Dallas is currently facing one of the strangest occurrences known to the tough southern mentality. Snow. It has forced a normally bustling society into a dystopian-like panic, much like the Dallas Stars fans. The Central Division sweethearts that found themselves two games away from winning the Stanley Cup in the previous season came out of the gates guns blazing. (After a short delay due to Covid protocol.) In just a four game span, the Stars looked like an elite offensive juggernaut. Just as we expected them to be. (We didn’t, but I digress.)
Since then, the shooting Stars have fallen drastically from grace. After the 4-0 launch to the 2021 NHL campaign, the Stars have managed to scrape by with a 1-3-4. Night and day from our initial sampling of the victory green. (Or Tron-like neon green, which some fans are still boo-hooing about as if that would change the teams decision to wear the blackout kits. Get over it.) What’s been the issue? Why the sudden shift? Well, quite simply put, that’s Dallas Stars hockey.
If we rewind to the beginning of last season you will find a fan base on the edge of absolute anarchy. The Stars could not score if their salaries depended on it, and they couldn’t win a game even if you pulled the controller plug from the opposing teams players. It was full on panic. Anarchy in the highest regard. Then November happened. The Stars were a monster. Picking off NHL franchises one by one. The season had been saved. Oh, and I guess they didn’t win a single game in their last six tries heading into the bubble. That’s neither here nor there when you are the runner-up in the fight for the Cup.
I know what you are going to say, “But Fink, they can’t win in regulation! How will they survive?”
Easy. Beat the teams you are supposed to beat and survive against the top of your division. That first week of glory was against Nashville and Detroit. Easily two of the poorest teams in the Central. Chicago, as much as it pains me to say, is not going to go through a rebuild without a fight. Patrick Kane won’t be going away, baring an absolutely shocking trade, and the Columbus Blue Jackets now have noted mutant faced Stars killer Patrik Laine. (Seriously, his teeth look like they are fighting each other. It’s nightmarish. I’ve seen kids cry from his photo.)
The Florida Panthers have made a firm statement that they will be in the mix for one of the four playoff spots. Tampa Bay is surprising no one with their tenacious start and the Hurricanes defensive lockdown has made them a force to be reckoned with. (As we have found out in the three games we have played them so far. All of which the Stars have fallen.)
Listen, the overtime games aren’t good for any of us. Stars fans stress levels have been at their peak four times so far in this fresh season. That being said, points are points. Even with the OT losses, the Stars have still been able to muster up four points in those tilts. They aren’t flashy and they aren’t a win, but down the stretch those four points can mean the difference between playoffs or an early exit, “See ya at the golf course.”
While I’m not completely in panic mode, it’s not enjoyable to watch the Stars flop aimlessly about like a fish. There comes a time where the number of games left on the schedule starts to dwindle and the level of panic grows rapidly. For now, that level is still low. Rookie goalie Jake Oettinger is making the future look brighter and brighter, as well as youngsters like Ty Dellandrea and Jason Robertson. Tyler Seguin and Ben Bishop continue to rehab their injuries, and will return to act as late season acquisitions. Stephen Johns cap relief from LTIR could serve as a cushion to eat a contract for a trade when and if the time comes.
All reasons for the panic levels to mellow. As for the impending blizzard, buckle up buttercups. Time for the south to get a little dusting.