The Dallas Stars lost 7-2 to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night in the Xcel Energy Center. Utterly embarrassing. What was more embarrassing? The Dallas Stars lost to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night in the Xcel Energy Center while Riley Tufte watched in the stands with his entire group of family and friends.
Why is that more embarrassing? He was a healthy scratch.
Tufte was called up from the Texas Stars just a few games ago. Tufte continuously grinded away in the AHL as a former first-round draft pick for the Stars and finally got the call he worked his entire life for. Tufte, a Minnesota native, made his way to the NHL and had the opportunity of a lifetime to skate in his home state (and in front of countless friends and family) for the first time at the NHL level. That was until the crypt keeper head coach decided he wasn’t the right fit for the lineup a mere hour before puck drop.
Stars head coach Rick Bowness decided that Tufte would be a healthy scratch and while business is business, Bones decided this after Tufte dumped a load of cash on tickets for his friends and family to attend the game.
I get it. I’ve talked about it before. Hockey is a business first, sport second. That’s fine, but for just a moment take the business aspect out of the equation. The Dallas Stars are not playing to expectation and fans are already bailing. Tickets for a Stars game are being given away on social media or dumped and just flat out not being used. The Stars fan base has been begging for good news. Something or someone to cheer for. Tufte along with Jake Oettinger was just that. Seeing the young guns being brought up or brought back to the NHL had given Stars fans that bright spot in a gloomy start to the NHL campaign.
I’ve done my best to try and remain positive about this team and particularly the coaching staff. Mainly Bowness. After Thursday night’s handling of Tufte, it’s time to take a step forward and join the masses. Bones’ time in Dallas as the head coach needs to be over sooner rather than later. That is how I feel. Plain and simple. It’s a sad state of affairs in Stars fandom as the same coach I would have run through a brick wall for in the “We’re Not Going Home” documentary is now the target of blame for the current failure of a hockey team.
I am not bound by the clutches of having to sugar coat anything about this team. Mental blocks or not, this team flat-out stinks right now.
NHL veteran Blake Comeau being placed and clearing waivers felt like a sign of change to come with the Stars franchise. Then the choice to bring up Riley Tufte along with bringing back Jacob Peterson felt even more like a change was coming. Oh and that win at home against the Philadelphia Flyers? Assistant coach John Stevens was not on the bench for that, rather up in the stands. All signs pointing to change. Then Bones yanks the rug out from under Tufte in an embarrassing way and things seemingly feel the same here in D-Town.
It rolls downhill. You know exactly what “It” is. The issue with this team starts at the top. Jim Nill should be right next to Bones on the hot seat as the product he has assembled has no return policy. It’s a tough look to be in this position but the fans are disgruntled and want more. After an embarrassing night in Minnesota and an absolutely baffling decision, change needs to happen. It needs to happen now.