Today at a press conference at the American Airlines Center, the Dallas Stars officially introduced two of their newest team members, centers Tyler Seguin and Shawn Horcoff. Tyler, of course, was obtained via trade from the Boston Bruins along with fellow centerman, Rich Peverley for Loui Eriksson and prospects, Matt Fraser, Reilly Smith and Joe Morrow. Horcoff, who has spent his entire 13-year career in Edmonton, came to Dallas as the Stars sent Philip Larsen and a 7th round pick from the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
Stars President and CEO, Jim Lites kicked things off by giving a quick “State of the Stars” and recapped the previous 10 weeks that have elapsed since the end of the season which saw Tom Gaglardi take full control of the team as an owner. “Tom is really committed and he’s a terrific owner,” Lites said as he mentioned Mr. Gaglardi first as the “people who have made my job easier.” Mr. Lites went on to state that Tom is spending money and he’s listening and doing the right thing consistently.
“Watching Jim Nill, he is everything we hoped he would be,” Lites said of the new general manager. “All of us are thrilled with the job Jim has done. I sat in with Jim as he conducted coaching interviews and he was thorough and Lindy is going to do a great job for us.”
GM Jim reiterated what Jim Lites said that the Stars seem to be holding these press conferences a lot lately, but it’s all for good things. Nill stated, “Three weeks ago, we sat down as a management team. We had a game plan, but to tell you the truth, I didn’t know this is how it would turn out.” It was easy to hear the excitement and pure joy in Jim’s voice as he introduced Shawn Horcoff first. Having had experience with Horcoff during the World Championships, Jim pointed to Shawn’s professionalism and how he “brings it to the rink every day.” Jim mentioned the “good players we had to give up to get Tyler here,” but reminded everyone that Seguin will “be a part of this for a long time.”
After the new additions were presented with their jerseys, the media finally had their opportunity to address the situation surrounding Tyler’s social media presence.
“Jim and I talked and thought it was the right idea to shut it down,” Seguin said in response to his twitter account which has garnered national attention. “My twitter was taken over and it didn’t feel good that my name was out there with negative things and I apologize for anyone who was offended.” Tyler maintained his belief that his account was hacked as his phone was in his pocket at the time of the tweet.
“I think the media has a tough job and I know what I need to do,” Tyler continued. “I don’t believe it was one of my friends. It’s behind me and I’m looking forward to gathering their [teammates’] respect.”
Seguin mentioned that Jamie Benn, Kari Lehtonen and Ray Whitney have reached out to him since the trade but that’s about the extent to his familiarity with the Stars squad. Tyler indicated he was excited to move back to his natural position of center, but pointed out that he is willing to play where ever coach needs him to fill in.
Perhaps one of the moves that came out of “nowhere” was the move that brought Oilers captain, Shawn Horcoff down to Dallas (remember, there were grumblings of a Seguin trade on draft day). There are Stars fans who have expressed concern regarding the contract that Horcoff brings with him, and that perhaps that money could have been better spent on a more “marquee” player who may have been younger. What many don’t realize are the intangibles that Horcoff brings to the organization. You cannot buy leadership and I think that was evident in the drive to encourage former Dallas Star, Eric Nystrom to stay with the team. It’s not every day you can go to a storied franchise like Edmonton and send a low draft pick and an underperforming defenseman for their captain.
Shawn said, “I’ve spent my first 13 years in Edmonton. That’s a long time, not just for a career, but in life in general. My family and I were ready for a change. We just felt it was the right time.”
When asked what excited him about coming to Dallas, Shawn immediately pointed to the fact that Jim Nill wasn’t afraid to make moves to improve the team and be committed to winning. StarsInsider.com even had the opportunity to ask Shawn on a conference call if coming to Dallas with other vets like Vern Fiddler and Ray Whitney would have an impact on his game. “Absolutely. In Edmonton, obviously they’re a young team and as a captain, you can’t just worry about your personal game. You have to pay attention to the team on the ice and situations and make sure everyone knows where to be. Having guys like Fiddler and Whitney will allow me to focus more on my game and how I’m contributing. I have not been able to have that leadership support around me and I’m excited.”
Jim Lites said the Stars perception is changing and it’s now a perception of winning and competing for a Stanley Cup every year. Lites has never been one to sugar coat anything, so when he says he expects to compete for Cups year after year, you can bet the organization will continue to make moves to assure that takes place. One way was alluded to by Jim Nill.
“I think everything is going to slow down now. You have to play 3, 4, 5 years ahead in a cap world.”
The Stars are moving forward. Nill said last week that unless a team calls up to offer a significant opportunity to improve the organization, this is the team that will head to camp in September. It’s time to focus on hockey again. If you hearken back to the 1999 Cup championship, you’ll remember that “nothing else matters.” Twitter doesn’t matter. Who we gave up to get certain players doesn’t matter. What matters is for the first time since the early-2000’s, the Dallas Stars have a committed owner who is willing to do whatever is necessary to put a successful, smart team on the ice. The Dallas Stars have a committed President/CEO who is fan-centric and will do whatever he has to do to make the fan experience at the American Airlines Center a memorable one. The Dallas Stars have a committed (and proven) general manager who is willing to make even some “unpopular” decisions with fan favorites to improve the team that takes the ice 82 times a year.
The Dallas Stars are committed. Are you?