What was shaping up to be an interesting Friday already became even more exciting this morning. As the New York Rangers rolled into town for a rare visit with the focus of many being the return of the hated Sean Avery, the Stars announced this morning that Jamie Langenbrunner is coming back to the Stars after making a trade.
After much speculation and chatting on twitter and through the text circles Thursday night, there was a mixed reception by some Stars fans at the idea of Langenbrunner coming back. But I think the big hold up for most was the Stars moving anything serious. In the end, the Stars did win out in the quick bidding for Jamie and got him for only a conditional 3rd round pick. That is a smart move for the Stars and by GM Joe Nieuwendyk. While Jamie is getting older now, he has a big history throughout his career of being a great playoff performer and also has been a captain for the New Jersey Devils and the Team USA group that won silver at the 2010 Olympics. And it one thing Joe kept saying is that it sends a message. It tells the players here now and the players of the next couple years that the Stars are going to try and contend. It sends a message to some important free agent to be that despite the budget and ownership situation that Dallas is trying to compete and will do everything they can. Shot, maybe winning a round or two in the playoffs could help draw interest from prospective ownership. I personally like the addition and I am glad to see Langenbrunnner back in Dallas. He is set to be a free agent this summer, but it sounds like it things go well the Stars are interested in signing him and he could possibly play a couple more years and end his career where it started.
As for the Stars game earlier with the Rangers and Avery, all did not go as the Stars hoped. The game went well early for the Stars as they scored first and the goal came off of the fourth line. But after that the game was close the whole way through and special teams were the story. The Rangers tied it up at one as they got a short-handed goal that Kari Lehtonen probably should have stopped. The Stars got a powerplay goal from Ribs to take a lead heading into the third, but in the final frame the Stars could not extend or even keep the lead. A powerplay goal for New York sent the game into extra time and eventually the Rangers won it in the shootout to win the game 3-2. With a lot of hate aimed at Sean Avery leading up to the game, he was pretty quiet in the game and other then going a -1 in the +/- column, he barely played tonight and was a non-factor either way. While many hate him, myself included, he proved to be nothing and I would have been happy if the Stars had gone out and picked up the two points tonight.
Now Dallas hits the road to play at Minnesota on Sunday, and Langenbrunner should be in the lineup since he will practice with the team Saturday. And it could not come soon enough, as the Stars just continue to struggle at home for the last few weeks and now have some injury issues. Adding some overall offense, grit, and depth to this team should be great.