The rollercoaster has finally come to a halt as you are instructed to unbuckle your belt and exit to the left. You were terrified at some points of the ride, but had your breath taking away with excitement at others. You were hesitant to get on the ride and had no idea if it would be safe.
But, when the rollercoaster ride was over, you looked back on the experience in awe. You could not wait for the next time you would be able to ride it again.
To the fans, this is exactly what the 2013-2014 Dallas Stars season was.
Stars fans were required to keep their safety belt on at all times throughout the season. The sadness of lows such as the 1-8-1 record in early January, made the highs of qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in five years, more satisfying.
You were terrified on many occasions this season. The time when Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley both went down with serious leg injuries, or when Kari Lehtonen had his skull cranked against the crossbar by Minnesota Wild’s Erik Haula.
In the midst of all this terror, there were flashes of hockey that took your breath away. That time when Tyler Seguin scored 4 goals against Calgary, or the time when the team rallied behind a fallen teammate (Rich Peverley), and played their most complete game of the season in a 4-2 win over St.Louis. All these terrors were equaled by many triumphs of greatness in the 2013-2014 season.
The ups and downs of the roller coaster ride tested your ability to believe on a night to night basis. Too the many of true Stars fans out there, what a hell of a ride that was eh?
As we lick our wounds from the game 6 loss and look forward to next season, here are a couple of questions that have been asked of the Dallas Stars moving forward.
Bradley from Toronto, Ontario writes:
Who should the fans direct their praise to for all the ups? Who should they criticise for all the downs?
An NHL season is a very long journey. In 82 games, spanning about seven months, there is time for all players and coaches to receive praise and criticism. For the praise aspect of your question, I think everyone involved in the organization deserves some.
Owner Tom Gagliardi looks like a genius for bringing in general manager Jim Nill. Nill proceeded to bring in Stars leading scorer Tyler Seguin, as well as valuable depth forwards Rich Peverley and Shawn Horcoff.
Lindy Ruff deserves a ton of credit for instilling a system that was bought into by every player on the team. Ruff did an excellent job motivating the team and pushing the right buttons to get them into the playoffs.
Assistant coaches James Patrick and Curt Fraser also did an excellent job at improving the defense corps as well as special teams.
The players were the ones who went out and performed, so they deserve a ton of credit.
Head trainer Dave Zeis and his team also deserve quite a bit of praise. Not only did they work tirelessly to keep the players out on the ice, their role in the preservation of Rich Peverley’s life was unbelievable. The ability for Dave to have his team on point was crucial for the circumstances of the situation.
To all the players, coaches, trainers, officials, and staff involved with the Stars this season, thank you!
It is very hard for me to assign criticism to anyone on the Dallas Stars this season. Every player helped the team in some way. Fans like to beat up on defenceman Sergei Gonchar, but the criticism he receives is sometimes too harsh. His mentoring role with young Val Nichuskin is going to be felt around the Stars organization for a very long time. When Nichuskin starts putting pucks in the back of the net on a nightly basis, Stars fans may then understand the true value of Sergei Gonchar this season.
The Stars exceeded all expectations this season. For that reason, no one should receive much blame for how the season ended.
Paulina from Phoenix, Arizona writes:
What do you see the Stars doing with pending UFA’s Fiddler, Whitney, and Thomas?
I believe there is a very strong possibility none of those players will be back in Dallas next season. Fiddler had some trouble earlier in the season and reportedly asked for a trade. Whitney looked very sluggish and overworked during parts of the season. Thomas’s aggressive goaltending style was something that gave the Stars many problems whenever he was in net. With these players potentially moving on, it opens the door for prospects in Cedar Park. Travis Morin won the MVP award in the AHL this season, and could push for Fiddler or Whitney’s spot with the big club. Tim Thomas will likely be replaced with highly-touted goaltending prospect Jack Campbel,l if he can stay healthy. Depending on how the playoffs go for the Texas Stars this season, the players I mentioned above could all have full time jobs in Dallas next season.
Taylor from Detroit, Michigan writes:
Who do you see the Dallas Stars targeting in the off-season?
In my opinion, I see the Stars aggressively targeting a second line centre in the off-season. I love the way Paul Stastny plays the game and I think he would be a great No.2 behind Seguin. Stastny is currently having a career-defining playoff run, so his availability in free agency may be contingent on the Colorado Avalanche’s ability to spend big and re-sign him. If I had to bet, I would put my money on Colorado retaining Stastny. If that was to happen, I think the Stars would have to look for their improvement through a trade instead.
*Cody Eakin had a great season and great playoffs, but I see him as a perfect third line centre. Someone with a little more offensive ability is what they need out of the two hole behind Seguin*
**Many people believe the Dallas Stars biggest flaw is their defencemen. I strongly believe Jim Nill will be patient with searching for a true No.1 defenceman. After the type of season that Goligoski had, I think there should be some renewed faith in him. Or atleast patience?**
Thanks for the great questions this week fans! Make sure to check back next week for another Mailbag post. Remember to like FSBlackoutDallas on Facebook and follow @BlackoutDallas on Twitter for more!