Dallas Stars are Legit Contenders

By Matt Krombach

Spezza

 

In the span of just 14 months and two days, it appears Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill has made the Stars Stanley Cup contenders again. No, not get eliminated in the first round contenders; more like Brett Hull’s foot was in the crease, contenders.

The NHL has been eventful as free agency kicked off July 1st. News of top free agents like Jerome Iginla, Dan Boyle, and Ryan Miller signed new contracts to new teams. Although they didn’t make huge name signings, they did, however, manage a big name trade. But it’s not enough to just state facts about the signings and acquisitions; the Dallas Stars have a story of how they got here.

March 24, 2013 marked the day the Dallas Stars officially began construction on a rebuilding project as they traded Captain Brenden Morrow to the Pittsburgh Penguins. With a vacant spot for the ‘C’ the franchise crowned the now 24-year-old Jamie Benn as captain. As a rebuild was now underway the Stars also took a step in a new direction as they appointed Jim Nill as the new General Manager in April of 2013.

It didn’t take Nill long to be effective as the Stars were in the playoff picture for the first time since the 2007-2008 season. In June of 2013, Nill hired Lindy Ruff as head coach of the Stars. Ironically, the day before Ruff was appointed head coach was the anniversary of the controversial end to the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals between Dallas and Buffalo. Ruff was the Sabres’ head coach from 1997-2013.

A valiant effort in the 2013-2014 season put the Stars back on the map earning them their first playoff appearance since 07-08. Their playoff hopes would soon be put in the shadows of the Anaheim Ducks as they were sent packing after the first round of the 2014 playoffs. However, as eager as the Stars were for another taste of Stanley Cup champagne, they still had work that needed to be done. Continue reading

Blue Jackets in Playoff Picture; Red Wings’ Streak in Jeapordy; Leafs Clinch Berth

HKN Leafs Senators

Yes, it’s a long headline.  Bear with me.

On Wednesday April 17, 2013, the Columbus Blue Jackets have put themselves in the playoff picture since the 2008-2009 season.  Not only was the 08-09 season their only appearance in the playoffs, they were swept in the first round.  For some reason this season’s All-Star game was going to be held in Columbus, they needed the help.  From the beginning of March Columbus won six out of their first ten games with three of the four losses ending with a point gained in the standings. Maybe they only won by a goal in extra time when they did win, but they’re proving the NHL that they can hang with the big boys.  If they can win their final two games, they have a shot at putting away the Red Wing’s 21 straight playoff appearance streak. Continue reading

NHL Adds Five More Outdoor Games to 2014 Season

Curtsey of The Score

Curtsey of The Score

One outdoor game a season isn’t enough and neither is two apparently.  Edmonton hosted the NHL’s first outdoor game in 2003 as the Heritage Classic and made a second appearance in 2011 in Calgary.  The United States hosted it’s first Winter Classic, which is now an annual event, in 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo.  Now, the NHL has a total of six outdoor games that are included in it’s 2014 schedule. Continue reading

Trade Deadline Aftermath

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Some players fell victim to disappointment and others to sweet relief.  It was the goalies that had most of the attention on them today Roberto Luongo, Steve Mason, Ben Bishop, and Mikka Kipursoff.  Although we all had hoped to see more activity on trade deadline day today, considering a shortened season it was going to be very unlikely.  So let’s take a look at the teams who did have some activity over the past few weeks, shall we? Continue reading

Lockout Lunacy

As the NHL enters another possible full-season lockout, the NHL owners and Players Association continue to dispute money issues.  As the current lockout continues, the issue isn’t that the players are on strike and wanting more money, like in 2005.  This time around, the owners are trying to cut back the players’ 57 percent of revenue share that they agreed upon seven years ago. Continue reading

The Rick Nash Saga

A few months ago, Columbus Blue Jackets GM announced that Rick Nash was looking to be traded.  Not only does no player want to end up in Columbus, but they’ve been at the bottom of the barrel for the past few seasons, why are they still there?  Anyway, after months of speculation, trade rumors, little boys getting molested, and more trade rumors, Rick Nash has been traded. Continue reading