For those of you still paying attention to other sports in the DFW area, last night should have been a back-breaker and season ending loss for any Cowboys fans. Of course Texas and the Dallas area are football heavy fanbases. High school football is like a religion to some, college football is what everyone is watching and going to on Saturdays, and on Sunday it is about napping and the Dallas Cowboys if they are playing. So watching a season like the Boys are having right now is unacceptable and turning some fans away or just not making them desire to give their interest to it. The Texas Rangers have had more interest and popularity so far this fall with their best season ever and magical run to the World Series. Now the season is over and they are working on taking the next step, as they will try to make another run next year and hopefully win it this time.
So the Rangers are in the offseason and the Cowboys are unwatchable. I mean unwatchable! I have been a die-hard Boys fan since I was a little guy running around in elementary school with my Aikman jersey on, and I still follow and support the team all the time. But I was only able to watch about one quarter combined last night, and felt like punching someone just about anytime I did watch part of it. So where should sports fans turn now?
How about your own Dallas Stars! I have been a huge Stars and hockey fan for years, but for others it could be the time to start paying attention to the Stars. I know many fans of the hockey or casual fans around Dallas and Texas that just pay attention when this team is doing good, but now may be the time to jump on the wagon. It’s the offseason for the Rangers, and might as well be the offeason for the Cowboys. So who can you go see for some good sports and go out to have a good time? Where could you take your kids to have a good time? Or maybe go with a couple of guys to see some scoring, some fists flying around, and enjoy a beer at one of the finest arenas to watch sports? To a Dallas Stars game!
Okay, well why now? They have had a couple of bad years and are dealing with ownership issues and a weakened fanbase right? Sure those things are true. But if you have seen any of the Stars games over the last season couple of seasons and the start of this season so far then you might be able to see that this team is different. Sure there is no longer Mike Modano or some of the big names that people were used to hear about for the last decade or more. But there are a couple of amazing offensive centers that can create at any second in Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro. The captain that goes by Morrow looks like he is finally back after a couple of seasons of injuries and recoveries. That old stiff Turco is no longer in the net and there is a young and athletic Lehtonen putting on a show almost every night with great saves and amazing movement in net. They are finally stepping up and playing as a unit, at least more then they have the last couple of years.
Then there is the youth movement that continues to impress and will get you excited for the future of the team as some of these guys continue to grow and learn. Loui Eriksson is a legitimate top scorer and offensive threat, and he has so much chemistry with Richards that the two can do circles around defenses. Loui has been the finisher to Brad’s creativity, but he has also developed an overall game over the last season and a quarter. The 25 year-old already has 200 career points, and has 16 points so far this season to go with a +12 that puts him at the top of the league. James Neal has become the other winger for that top line, and has done so convincingly. He is only 23 and in his first two seasons he scored 51 goals. So far this season he has 12 points in 13 games and looks like he is improving his passing and overall game, as he has been more then just a goal scorer so far this season. He is promising young power forward that can skate, check, and of course score. Jamie Benn is now the X-factor, guy who’s roof could be higher then the top of Reunion Tower. The former 5th round pick busted into the NHL with a 41 point season in his rookie season, and is looking even better in his sophomore campaign so far. Already 7 points in 10 games, he is getting more time with some of the better players and his getting time on the powerplay. He is physical, very smart on the ice, and has already shown that he can play left wing or center in his time up with Dallas. Neal may be the next Morrow type of player or better, but Benn may be a young top-line center in the making. Think Richards or Jumbo Joe in San Jose. That could be Benn in just 2-3 years. Then there are other young guys like Wandell, Larsen, Gagnon, and Glennie that are either pushing onto the roster now or will be within the next year or two.
This is a new Dallas Stars team. Forget defense and slowing down the game like the Stars of the past. Think speed, offense to spare, and some guys that are scrappy and entertaining to watch. Come watch Steve Ott or Adam Burish get under the skin of the Stars opponents and mix it up. Come watch Stephane Robidas, Nicklas Grossman, or Mark Fistric throw their bodies around in the defensive end and give their all every night. If you come, don’t watch Matt Niskanen unless he is on the bench. It is time to come watch, to see what these Stars are made of. I am not saying we are championship contenders or even in the top 5-6 teams in the league. But they are competitive and athletic, and have started off in a way that looks like a playoff team, not the team of the last two seasons.