Special Contribution from: @iStankonia
Every season, in every sport, there is one winner. By definition, the rest are losers. The 2013-2014 Dallas Stars were just that... Losers. But the story gets obviously better as you look deeper. Expectations were low, with a young team and very little playoff experience. The guys that did have playoff experience were tired and let's be honest, completely awful. Horcoff being the exception.
I want to bring up 5 points/questions tonight, as I lay in my hotel bed...
Is Kari good enough to carry a team deep into the playoffs?
All season long he was great at home, but his playoff road starts were telling. Other than his shutout at home he struggled. I'm looking at the bright side here. He'd spent very little time in the playoffs in Atlanta and his team when he made it wasn't very good. I've always thought that in a true hockey market, Kari would be a superstar. He makes some of the most unbelievably tough saves look like a routine save from the point. He'll only get better as he gains experience and his team defense gets better in front of him.
Can Dallas convince Nichuskin to stick around?
Every four years I pick Russia to win gold. I love their style of play, especially on the big ice sheet. I have no ties to Russia, but love their hockey. The KHL scares me, however. They want their Russians to stay home and can offer huge contracts, with no taxes that you'd see in America. Here, he's a great rookie. In Russia, he's Justin Bieber.... if Justin wasn't a complete loser. Can a market and city like Dallas keep him from spurning the NHL like those before him? I hope so and truly think Gonchar was only signed to mentor this kid. Nill knew he had a chance to draft him and paying Gonchar who could speak his language and tell him how great America is was worth it. If I had to bet I'd bet he'll leave Dallas soon.
Alex Goligoski is a very good defenseman.
He's not elite. Never has been and never will be. Hockey fans, especially those in newer (putting it nicely) markets like Dallas love goals. They saw what they thought to be a perennial 40 goal scored shipped off to Pittsburgh for an undersized DMan. Goligoski has struggled at times, no doubt. Many times I've been ready to throw in the towel. But this year, especially the second half and even more so in the playoffs, he was different. His game in his own zone was spectacular. As he goes this team goes. He is the MVP of this team. Yeah I said it. Not Benn or Seguin. Alex freakin' Goligoski.
Cody Eakin is not a top 6 center.
But he's one hell of a 3rd line center that can win draws, play great in his own zone, and chip in offensively. People up here gush over Mikko Koivu. That's exactly what I see in Eakin. I know I said I'm not breaking news, but I have really good feeling that Nill will at least make a huge push to sign Paul Stastny. I don't think Colorado will pay the 6 million it will cost to keep him. Dallas has plenty of cap space. To me it's a perfect match.
Ralph and Razor are the best duo in their field.
Dallas fans, you better realize not only do you have a special product on the ice, you have one up in the booth as well. I watch Center Ice every night during the depressing winters of Minnesota. No duo has their level of chemistry, humor and of course vocabulary. I get a sick feeling night in and night out, seeing a half empty arena. My only hope is that the city of Dallas is watching on TV, waiting for another eloquent line from Razor.
As I look back at my first article which I'm sure will be one of thous... hundre.... hopefully a few dozen I see that it's not as gloomy as I thought it was going to be. Soon enough I'll go more in-depth, but I wanted to get the ball rolling and thought something like this would do it.
I'll leave you with this... Remember how bone chilling the playoffs were in Dallas? Remember your golf ball sized goosebumps? Why can't that you do that 41 times during the regular season, too?