So, most of the time on this here blog, I spend time ranting about fans, or talking about game results, or something like that. But as it is the beginning of a brand-new season of NHL hockey, I’m going to make a brief attempt at actual sports journalism, and talk about the decisions the Stars have made as of late, and how I disagree with 99% of them.
People seem to believe that you must win in preseason in order to win in the actual season and make playoffs. I think that’s ridiculous. Every year, teams get new, young guys to play, and how are you going to find out if they’re ready for NHL ice time if you don’t use them in preseason? Just because the Stars lost 3 of 7 preseason games doesn’t mean that they won’t make playoffs (I’m a firm believer – if the Stars could make playoffs last year despite tons of injuries, I’m sure they can make it this year). HOWEVER. Management has made some questionable decisions about which players to keep.
A week or two ago, the Stars sent James Neal, Mark Fistric, and Perttu Lindgren back to Iowa to play for the Iowa Stars, the team’s AHL affiliate. With all that I’d heard about Mark Fistric, that surprised me, but after some consideration, I understood the decision. The Stars have great defensemen in Sergei Zubov, Philippe Boucher, Stephane Robidas, Mattias Norstrom, and Trevor Daley, and there are better, more experienced d-men that will stay. So this decision is fine with me. But there is one other that upset not only me, but my fellow Untypical Girls staff writers, and almost every Dallas Stars fan I know:
The decision to send Chris Conner back to Iowa.
Conner, I feel, proved himself in the preseason, not to mention in all the games he played in last season. Sure, we tease him a little here on UG about being a midget, but we also know that he is an outstanding hockey player. In a few years, he will be Modano-caliber, I seriously believe that. Tippett liked to use him on the powerplay, he used him on a line with Modano, and Conner shone. So why did they sent him back, instead of Francis Wathier, Aaron Gagnon, or Vojtech Polak, none of whom I have even seen (and I’ve seriously watched, listened to, or otherwise kept up with every single game thus far)? Conner will certainly be one of the first to get called back in case of injury, but it surprises me a lot that they didn’t decide to keep him here in Dallas. The Stars are a defensive team, which is good, but they need to score goals to win.
Our primary goal-scorers aren’t getting any younger – I’m looking at you, Mike Modano and Stu Barnes. Certainly, Modano and Barnes are great players whose age isn’t affecting their gameplay, but they’re not going to be around forever. They’re both 37 (well, Stu is almost 37) – 37 is awfully close to 40. We need to be training up younger guys with some serious NHL ice time to be hard-hitting goal-scorers for us. Guys like Eriksson, Jokinen, Lundqvist, and Ott are going to be good, for sure, but hello? Chris Conner. Come back to us, Midget.
The Stars home opener against the Boston Bruins begins in less than 4 hours. We all know I’ll be there. It’s also dollar hot dog night, which is always a bonus, right? So tasty, yet so bad for me.