“It stinks, really, because you don’t want your heart broken. Yet, it’s the price you pay for loving this team.” –Mike Heika
Who would have guessed that the Stars and Jackets would be battling to take the final playoff spot from the Red Wings? I sure wouldn’t have. It’s just one of those bizarre things that’s come about that I can’t quite believe but I don’t really mind.
After that win against the Canucks last night, it’s hard not to believe in this Stars team. It was a real, true test after the loss in Chicago, and they passed with flying colors. They’re not the most talented team in the world, but they have just enough talent to get by on.
The rest is belief. Belief that they can do this. They are good enough.
The wins have come because the Stars have adopted an attitude that has been severely lacking the past few seasons when they fell short of a playoff spot. At this point in the season the past two seasons, we were subjected to a disinterested Stars team that didn’t want it bad enough. In 2011, they were given a gift: beat Minnesota (a team whose number they always seemed to have) and you’re in. They blew it. The way they played in that game, they deserved what they got. Then last year, they went 0-5-0 in the final stretch when they had the opportunity to even win the Pacific.
At this point, a meltdown could very well happen. I’m not going to sugarcoat it: the Stars have a tough road ahead and they probably won’t be good enough. But despite the daunting task, this team we’re seeing is different than the underachievers in past seasons. They believe in themselves, and I think the fans do too.
Last night’s game showed just how far they’ve come. They were the better team last night and did their damage in the third period the way they deserved to. The young guys stepped up and showed beautiful growth that we might look back on in a few years and grin at. It was a team effort as they continued to surprise and inspire.
Even if the Stars implode and don’t make the postseason, this has been a lot of fun. It really has.