Hockey in Dallas

Hockey’s Back!

It’s almost that time of year again.  Less than two weeks from the season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Dallas Stars look to make an impact and start the season strong.

After barely sneaking into the playoffs last season (only 2 points ahead of the now Arizona Coyotes for the final playoff spot), the Stars were given the unenviable task of taking on the Anaheim Ducks who finished 1st in the western conference.  The Stars put up a great fight, taking the series to 6 games before ultimately succumbing to the Ducks in overtime of game 6, 5-4.

The Past is the Past.  Our Future is Brighter.

No one is going to take anything away from last year’s team; however, that’s not to say that no one is going to look towards the future and see that the future is bright here in Dallas.  The team put together for 2014-2015 is definitely a bigger offensive threat.  The biggest issue facing the Stars?  Being caught in one of the two most competitive divisions in the league.

Anyone can argue which division or conference is tougher, but the consensus is that the west is a far tougher conference to play in right now.  For starters, look at the standings for the end of the season last seasons.

In the east, you had the Boston Bruins (President’s Tropy winners) with 117 points to win the Atlantic Division.  You had the Pittsburgh Penguins with 109 points to win the (awfully named) Metropolitan Division.  Who else made the playoffs from the east?  The Tampa Bay Lightning (101 points), Montreal Canadiens (100), New York Rangers (96), Philadelphia Flyers (94), Columbus Blue Jackets (93), and Detroit Red Wings (93).

In the west, you had the Ducks clinching the conference 1 point back of Boston at 116 points to win the Pacific Division.  The Colorado Avalanche eked out the Central Division with 112 points.  Who’s next?  The St. Louis Blues (111 points), San Jose Sharks (111), Chicago Blackhawks (107), Los Angeles Kings (100), Minnesota Wild (98), and Dallas Stars (91).

To top it off, the eastern conference boasted the two worst teams in the league with the Buffalo Sabres registering only 52 points (still, they may have overachieved) and the Florida Panthers picking up 66 points.  In the east, only 3 teams finished within 8 points of the final playoff spot, whereas in the west, 4 teams fell in that same category.

It’s painfully obvious that after Boston and Pittsburgh, there isn’t much in the way of strong teams (though, both bowed out inexplicably early in the playoffs).  In the west, there are 5 teams that have that opportunity to win every game every night – Anaheim, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose, and St. Louis (sorry Colorado, but you just don’t have the same strength of team as you did last year).

And somewhere in the middle of all of that mess that is the west are the Dallas Stars.  They certainly may have improved their offense, but if they don’t improve their back end, they may have to rely on some luck to make the playoffs again this year.  I’m not counting them out by any means, but they need to prove every game that they can hang with the big boys on a nightly basis.

Here’s to a great season!

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