After appearing on national TV just one time during the 2018-19 regular season, the Dallas Stars will receive a boost in national coverage for the 2019-20 campaign. It only further opens the door to what could lie ahead in the coming year.
The Dallas Stars took the national TV stage just one time during the 2018-19 regular season, and it turned out to be a game that many Stars fans likely forgot about.
On Oct. 19, the Stars welcomed the Minnesota Wild to the American Airlines Center for a Friday night contest in the early part of the season. It was the Stars’ seventh game of the year and gave a 3-3-0 team its first crack at a Central division opponent.
The game was an uneventful one, to say the least. Neither team scored in the first 40 minutes of the contest, though the Stars put a combined 30 shots on net (including 24 in the second) through the first two periods. The game sank into a bit of a lull as the second intermission approached, with neither goalie budging.
Less than one minute into the final frame, Jason Spezza scored on a deflection in front of the Minnesota net after an offensive zone face-off. Dallas took a 1-0 lead and looked to be in control of a tight, defensive-centered bout. But after the Wild tacked on two goals in a span of 3:17 and added an empty-net goal with one minute remaining, the Stars found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-1 decision.
Just like that, the Dallas Stars fell below .500 for the first time in the 2018-19 and began what eventually turned into a nearly four month struggle for consistency. The disappointing part? They did it in their only time on the national stage.
As we know now, the Stars picked up plenty of national TV time in April and May as they navigated a two-round, 13-game push through the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. And while that time in the spotlight was entirely earned and not given, the lack of regular season air time was justified in a sense.
The fact of the matter is that the Dallas Stars had missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons and three of the previous four going into the 2018-19 campaign. With a rookie head coach and relatively quiet offseason from a team in a southern, non-traditional market, there wasn’t significant intrigue from a national standpoint.
In the 2019-20 season, though, that intrigue will be much higher.
On Tuesday morning, the NHL released the national broadcast schedule for the 2019-20 regular season. From big events like the Winter Classic and Stadium Series contests to smaller, more regular events like Wednesday Night Rivalry games, the schedule includes 109 games that will air on either NBC or NBCSN during the season.
The Dallas Stars will take part in six of those national broadcasts.
— Josh Clark (@Josh_Clark02) August 6, 2019
That puts them 15th on the NHL list in terms of frequency on national TV. The Philadelphia Flyers (20), Pittsburgh Penguins (16), St. Louis Blues (15), and Chicago Blackhawks (14) lead the pack in appearances on the big stage, while the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks, and Winnipeg Jets all sit near the bottom with only one appearance. The Ottawa Senators round out the list with no scheduled regular season appearances on national TV.
But for the Dallas Stars, their 2019-20 national TV debut will be on Tuesday, Nov. 26 when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. The game will be broadcast on NBCSN and will be the Stars’ first meeting with Chicago in the 2018-19 season.
Following that, the Stars will welcome the Nashville Predators to the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day for the 2020 Winter Classic. It’s the first outdoor game in franchise history for both teams and should add another influential chapter in what is becoming one of the more exciting Central division rivalries. The game will air on NBC and kicks off at noon.
To round things out, Dallas will play two January games on NBCSN against the Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning, will take on the Boston Bruins on NBSCN near the end of February, and will make one last NBCSN appearance in their 80th game of the regular season when they face the Anaheim Ducks on the road on April 1.
While their scheduled national exposure isn’t as consistent as half of the NHL, it’s a chance for the Dallas Stars to take another step on the big stage. After an impressive run in 2018-19 that was capped with a trip to the postseason and a busy summer centered around adding new talent and shoring up their weak spots, the Stars look poised to be a contender in the year ahead.
And if they can do so on a national stage, it should bode even better for their exposure down the road.