It has been brought up quite a bit recently. By local blogs, some known names that cover the Dallas Stars, and even some fans now. Could a shortened season and lockout actually benefit the Stars this season? Could missing a month or two of the season benefit the team? While there can be good points brought up that at least point to areas where it could help, there is something that should remembered: games and camps missed are never good. Just ask franchises that suffered after the last time the NHL went through a lockout. Ask the fans. Ask the players that question.
Sure the veterans could gain something from it in a way. Maybe Brenden Morrow gets a little bit more time to prepare and he would have less of a grind overall to go through. Playing 50-60 games might be a good thing for Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr. It could be good. Less of a grind, less wear on the body over the season. It would even possibly create an opportunity for Derek Roy to start the season with the team instead of in physical therapy and the press box. Even look at Kari Lehtonen. He has posted two strong seasons in a row but shown the wear and fatigue late in each season as the Stars tried to ride him completely for the final stretch in both years. Playing 35-40 games over a 50 game season could possibly give him a big chance to again be the Stars’ MVP but this time be able to take the abuse down the stretch. They could also possibly avoid another late season collapse. Especially with how they have started seasons hot in recent seasons but faltered late, playing 40-60 games could give them a chance to start hot again and just let it carry them to a postseason berth.
But bring this up to players? Ask people really on the inside, and the idea wouldn’t be as popular. None of the veterans want to possibly spend one of their final seasons playing half a year. To eat up part of a season or possibly more just because it might benefit them to rest a few more weeks in the fall. It could benefit some of the youth to spend another year as top-dogs in the AHL with the Texas Stars. For Brenden Dillon, Scott Glennie, Richard Bachman, and Alex Chiasson to spend a season playing top minutes in the AHL with a strong club because all of the young kids would be in Austin. But money again should be on that those kids want a chance to prove what they can do and try to earn a roster spot.
But the scary thing for fans of the franchise and even personnel tied to the team is the business side of what a lockout could do. The Stars posted their worst attended game last season since the move to Dallas. It was noticeable that many nights the arena seemed half-full, or at times even worse. They already were one of the franchises that took a hit after the last lockout. In a market where there are many casual fans and fans that don’t know the ins-and-outs of the CBA and process, fans were simply upset that games were not being played. And with the team at that time in a period where the glory days were fading away, a missed season was a big punch to the gut. Attendance has slowly decreased every season since then and the fact that the team has not won the division since the season after the lockout adds to the issue.
A missed season, dwindling success, and then falling into financial disarray and bankruptcy. Sounds like a great list of events since a lockout. Sure every team has veterans that could use a lighter schedule. Many teams could get hot and make a run in a 50 game season, and who know who could win divisions and even go on a run for a title. But it isn’t like a lockout is something the Stars or any one team can just end whenever they feel they want to start playing again. A lockout isn’t something that can be controlled. Lost jobs and paychecks from arena workers to members of the staff to players. Another chance for the busy Dallas-Ft. Worth market to forget about the Stars and their new ownership. Say what you will. Argue the points. But I for one won’t sign up for it, and I for one don’t agree with the idea.