All in all, 2011 proved to be a heartbreaking year– Stars hockey and otherwise. As Stars fans, we suffered the incredible devastation that came when our guys completely blew it. All they needed was a regulation or overtime win against the Minnesota Wild. That’s cake, it’s so easy for us to beat them. But that’s not what happened. The Stars were handed the chance to write their own destiny when the Blackhawks lost earlier that day. But they blew it.
Marc Crawford was fired two days later, surely causing many to celebrate an experiment that had gone wrong.
The offseason brought a shakeup as Glen Gulutzan was brought in and Brad Richards signed elsewhere. However, Nieuwendyk being the mild genius he is, used B-Rad’s cap space to bring in Vernon Fiddler, Sheldon Souray, Radek Dvorak, and Jake Dowell to add depth to a team that kind of lacked it. Then, in a truly awesome twist, Sean Avery was waived, so Nieuwy traded for Eric Nystrom to bring the Stars to the cap floor. At the time, the trade was kind of like whatever. Now? It’s effing brilliant. Nystrom has already surpassed his career high in goals and we’re not even halfway through the season.
The Stars have struggled through their typical mediocrity, but they’ve been a surprising team this season. Most critics picked them to finish in the West’s basement, but they’re currently duking it out for a playoff spot. Granted, tht’s not too different than last year, but things just feel different, you know?
Despite the injuries piling up, I still think we’re in a good spot. The new owndership is in place. Kari’s back. The third line is all kinds of awesome. This year might not be the year, but I feel really good about the direction we’re headed.
Same goes for the NHL and hockey in general. No one can deny that it was a terrible offseason, starting with the Vancouver riots and ending with the Lokomotiv disaster. We lost a lot of good men over the summer.
One such loss was that of Our Star, Mike Modano, who retired in September. It wasn’t all that shocking, but it still hurt to see my favorite player of all-time go. One bright spot in such a sad year was the one-day contract the Stars signed Mo to, to ensure he retired a Dallas Star.
The concussion epidemic is still going on, with Team Concussion boasting the likes of Sidney Crosby and Chris Pronger among others. It’s truly been a bad year in hockey, with more bad happenings than good.
2012 might bring the end of the world, but in hockey, I thik it’s something to look forward to.