I remember the glory days of Stars hockey. Or at least what has been the best days of the Stars so far in their history. The constant playoff runs in the mid-to-late 90s and then two seasons of getting to the finals and one cup brought home. While some of my favorite Stars were always Mike Modano and the frightening Derian Hatcher, there was another player that I enjoyed watching and wanted to see spend tons of time in Dallas. But Jamie Langenbrunner was traded just two years after the cup win and it was at the start of what has been a rough 8-9 seasons overall. The Stars have seen the playoffs a few times since, but have had little success. Jamie on the other hand stepped up and became a key player for the New Jersey Devils for some years and won a championship with them.
Now some years later I finally get to see Langenbrunner return, not just to the Stars but also to his home state of Minnesota. Tonight marks the first game back for Jamie against the Minnesota Wild and there could not be a better place for it to happen. Minnesota is where Jamie is originally from and also where it all started. Langenbrunner was part of 1993 draft as the franchise moved from Minnesota to Dallas that summer. While he never became a stud scorer or point per game guy, Langs developed into a solid top six forward who was versatile. He plays powerplays and penalty kills, has a good right-handed shot, and can play both wings pretty much the same. He has captained a team and been a 60 point guy during three of the last four seasons. But things totally collapsed in NJ and the veteran was asked if he would waive his NTC, to which he did for a chance to come back home. Home to Minnesota, but back home to the Dallas Stars. And I’m definitely glad he did.
Along with seeing Jamie back, Stars fans can look forward to seeing Andrew Raycroft in the crease tonight. Raycroft helps give Lehtonen more of a break and he could use it after the barrage of pucks he has seen recently. But the Stars are still on a winning streak on the road, and hope to stretch it out to seven tonight. Raycroft has been possibly the most impressive backup this season, especially since many blew him off and thought the Stars signing of him was nothing to even care about. It could be a chippy game with the Wild playing defensively and physical. But the Stars can respond to that and have looked great on the road. Time to make it seven in a row Dallas.