Comparing yourself to those around you may not get you far in life, but sometimes it can be just what the hockey doctor ordered.
You remember how, growing up, you always heard that comparison was the killer of real happiness?
Your parents tried to convince you not to want what the kids around you had, or not to get upset because Billy who sits in the next row over got a 97 on his science project when you got a 94. And yours was cooler, to boot.
Even an adult, you’re probably still, on a different level, trying to get over the whole, whose stuff is bigger/better/faster/shinier/more expensive thing.
I think we can all agree that it’s kind of a general rule that, to be happy, you have to do you and not focus on what everyone else around you is doing. Right?
Right. Well, that is the deal, mostly. As with so many other wonderful life lessons your mother probably taught you, hockey doesn’t count. At this stage in the game, it’s good to focus on the Dallas Stars and pick apart what they need to do to make a deep playoff run and not rip out all our souls (again). However, once you’ve done that a few times and need a pick-me-up, why not look at what everyone else is doing wrong, too?
For a good chunk of this season, one of the most dangerous opponents the Dallas Stars had to face was the Blackhawks. Either trailing the Stars closely in points or overtaking them, the Blackhawks hit an undeniable hot streak that have kept Stars fans irritated and on their toes (and what about all those annoying bandwagon fans? But, I digress.)
As one of the Stars’ biggest threats, the Blackhawks deserve a little analysis of their own. And it seems that the last time the Hawks came to town, they caught that contagious rough skid the Stars were trying to shake off.
The Blackhawks sustained a 3-2 overtime loss to St. Louis and then crumbled again in Dallas two nights later to wrap up a road trip and simply haven’t won since. After a blowout 5-0 loss to the Kings and a 3-2 loss to the Flyers, the Hawks are losing the wind under their wings, riding a 4 game losing streak. With primarily costly losses to Western conference opponents, at that.
On top of that, starting goalie Corey Crawford is day to day with an upper body injury and won’t be on the Blackhawks’ latest road trip, making Scott Darling the shoo-in starter and putting the extra pressure on AHL call-up Michael Leighton. And with the Blackhawk’s penalty kill also seeing some tough times, we could continue to see them drop in the standings.
As for the team that had been closely nipping at the Blackhawks’ heels and is now nipping at Dallas’, well, the Blues could be seeing some issues, too. Although they overcame the Stars in a 5-4 overtime decision on March 12, like the Blackhawks, they haven’t seen much success after their trip to the AAC, either.
Both games that the Blues have played since were leaky-net losses: a 7-4 blowout against the Flames and a 6-4 loss to the Oilers. What we are seeing could potential be St. Louis facing the drama that comes with making their way to the top. After the Stars’ win last night against the Lightning, the Blues are now no longer tied with them for first place in the West, but are still knocking on that door.
The Stars themselves have had a mixture of results since facing these two teams, starting with their 5-2 win at home against Chicago, followed up by their overtime loss to the Blues. While they’re riding a one game winning streak after their loss to the Kings and following 4-3 comeback win over the Lightning (PS, Stephen Johns, congrats on that first NHL goal!), the Stars will need to keep playing with bright eyes and bushy tails if they want to keep the lead in the West.
Either way, the Stars are looking good for a playoff spot, and how far they can carry themselves will depend on how they continue to do against Western conference opponents at the end of their season.
Still, it’s nice to take a break, have a look around, and see that maybe your neighbors are having their own ups and downs, too: one of the few times that comparison serves quite possibly not to kill your happiness, but supplement it. Just don’t tell your mother I said so.