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Friday, April 6, 2012

Another season, another missed opportunity, but different

Dallas has been spoiled rotten by hockey.

Get a team in the early 1990s, learn to love them, and by the end of the decade, they are Stanley Cup Champions with a whole host of awards and tradition. Sellout after sellout, amazing atmosphere in the playoffs - the whole bit.

And then sports happens. Players get older, coaches move on for whatever reason.

We had a bit of a resurgence a few years back, but we've all seen that this club has been struggling for some time to get back to its heyday.

And this season was - for the most part - no different. Now that the team is officially not going to make the playoffs, its time to take a quick look at 2011-2012 and see what is around the corner.

The loss of Brad Richards was big, but surprisingly not nearly as negative as expected by many. The new coach and new players made for a team that was much more competitive than the pundits led us to believe last August.

This team still needs leadership, especially on the blue line. But we know we're in good hands in goal and there is still talent and fight in this team.

The biggest addition this season was not in the lineup or locker-room, but in the corner office. For the first time in what seems like forever, the Dallas Stars have an owner that wants to be the owner and has the resources to do it well. Obviously, there were things Tom Hicks did well - but we all saw how his sports empire crumbled, from the Texas Rangers to Liverpool FC to our beloved Stars.

Enter Tom Gaglardi - a Canadian who owns a hotel enterprise as well as a minor league hockey franchise in Kamloops, with a mother from Texas.

He probably spent the last five months evaluating the team, so this could be a very active off-season. Where he chooses to make changes, add resources and otherwise put his stamp on things will be interesting to watch.

This town loves the intensity of top end sports. With the right resources, the Dallas Stars can once again be one of those teams - and with all the recent success by the Rangers, Mavericks and FC Dallas, added to the continuous expectations that the Cowboys will win the Super Bowl (no matter how realistic that expectation might be), that could take the DFW MetroPlex to a plane of existence that will be the envy of the whole sporting world.

What do you expect to see from Gaglardi? What do you WANT to see from Gaglardi? Nieuwendyk (GM for those not following along recently)? Gulutzan (Coach for those not following along even more recently)?

Personally, give me an evaluation of what wins in the NHL, then how do we get the Stars to either be that or be the next generation after what is currently working, then provide the resources to get it done.

The thing is, the bar has been raised in DFW - better be tops in the league or you just aren't carrying your weight 'round hea'. Here is hoping the Stars can keep pace!

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