Once again, the real March Madness Tournament has proven to be a disappointment (*Drops to my knees* WICHITAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA), so I’m going to pour all of my hopes and dreams into this one about the Stars. Nothing could possibly go wrong, right?
It’s Round 2 for the Soul Patch and Supervillain Goatee divisions! There were lots of upsets in the first round – will we see those again this round? If you haven’t voted for the Duck Dynasty and Neck Beard Divisions, click here. Get all your votes in by Friday 3/27!
The Soul Patch Division
Our first match up pits two baffling occurrences against each other. It’s a sad fact that every single goalie we’ve faced this year— (Ondrej Pavelec, Jake Allen, Jhonas Enroth, even Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy in his fifth ever game in the NHL, just to name a few)—looks like a Vezina candidate against the Stars.
But is that more Star-like than Jamie Benn, who has only lost three of thirteen fights in his NHL career, facing off (for whatever reason) against Jonathan Ericsson, who has two inches and about twenty pounds on him. (At least it didn’t go as badly as it could have?) It happened seven minutes into a currently scoreless game that the Stars went on to lose 7-6 in OT. (After going up 4-2 heading into the third, and then 6-4 heading into the last seven minutes of the game. But that’s another topic entirely.)
In a match up of things that should make you happy, we have Tyler Seguin’s second career season since coming to Dallas . . . two seasons ago. For at least part of December/January, he was actually leading the points race. If he wins the Art Ross this season or next season or any time while with the Dallas Stars, he would be the first in franchise history, and that includes their time as the North Stars. What makes this Star-rier (for the Stars and the entire league, honestly), is that Tyler remained in the top ten for the entirety of his three weeks on IR recovering from the Kulikov hit.
But is that a better Star-ious moment than the AAC scoreboard taking on all comers? Timely jokes about the dead kid from that Super Bowl commercial, trolling the Maple Leafs about their famous fan, Justin Bieber, and lists of the All-Time Greatest Rangers, and of course the famous list of Winnepeg’s Tourist Attractions all made an appearance in the arena.
Defenseman John Klingberg debuted in Dallas on 11/11/14 in an offensively defensive storm. He scored his first NHL goal on 11/20/14 and by New Year’s, fans were calling him Klingbae. We recently went over the Calder race in a podcast, but in 53 games played (fewer than any of the other Top 10 rookies in the points race) Klingberg has put himself in the running. He also is the perfect vehicle for us to make tons of Lord of the Rings jokes, which we appreciate so much.
Pitted against our new Elf Prince, is our number one offensive pairing. Mid January, with Jamie Benn riding a career low shooting percentage and 29th in points in the league, Lindy Ruff made the tortuous decision to shuffle the lines a bit and split up the dynamic duo. We’re honestly not even sure the split lasted for an entire period before Lindy had them back on the ice together. Is it any coincidence that after this period apart (literally, a single period), Jamie went on a streak that now has him sitting at 4 points back of league leader Sidney Crosby? Coincidence? I think not.
In the last matchup for this division today is Jamie Benn scoring from the face off with 1.7 seconds left in the period? Down 2-0 to Montreal in the first period of the game (this, after my post about how well the Stars play in Canada), the Stars just need to get on the board. Jason Spezza wins a faceoff in the offensive zone, the puck goes right to Jamie, and then right behind Carey Price, hockey-Jesus for the Habs this season. Because why not?
On the other hand, is that Star-ier than when, on 10/17/15, it looked like much hyped and very much anticipated second line center Jason Spezza had scored his first goal since getting traded to the Stars. Had it not been inevitably waved off after it was ruled that Seguin had interfered with Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, it would have tied the game up with three minutes left to go. Instead, it’s a no-goal, and Spezza scores his first goal two nights later in a 6-5 loss to the Flyers.
The Supervillain Goatee Division
Stars Fans, do you remember all those times this season when we’ve gone into the third period with a lead, however large or small? Do you remember that instead of feeling a certainty that we would win, a feeling that we had it in the bag, or even the smallest glimmer of hope, you were instead filled with an awful feeling of dread? That would be because the Stars are 28th in the league in winning percentage when going into the third with a lead. THERE’S A REASON FOR THE DREAD. We’ve been let down way too many times. (Who, you might ask, are 29 and 30? Edmonton and Buffalo, basically who you’d expect.)
That said, we have gone to OT in fifteen games. But unfortunately, not a single one went to OT because of a man advantage for the Stars. No. Not a single one. In fact, instead of going to OT with a man advantage because we pulled the goalie, we have had empty net goals scored on us a total of ten times. The only time we’ve scored a goal when we’ve pulled the goalie was the game against Winnipeg on 1/16/15, which we eventually lost in regulation 2-1 anyway. So which is Star-ier? Losing in the third (again)? Or being -10 in empty net goal differentials?
In the next matchup, we have Erik Cole (may he rest in peace in Detroit)’s ridiculous empty netter against Boston. That thing curled around, bounced off the boards, and kind of lazily drifted towards the net before anyone on the ice realized that’s where it was heading. You can see the “OH SHIT” moment in Dougie Hamilton’s skating when he figures it out, but it was already way too late. (Razor’s call about it too, lol. “It didn’t even put its blinker on!”)
But is this more Star-ious than the game vs the Blackhawks when NBCSN forgot who our team is? The Stars have been featured on NBCSN a couple of times this season which is, you know, kinda nice to get national exposure for a smaller market. But we’re, you know, the smaller market. This was never quite so evident as it was the first time it happened this season, in the January 4 game against the Blackhawks. In between long soliloquies from NBC’s color analyst about how amazing the Blackhawks are this season, last season, the seasons before, and probably every season until Kane and Toews retire, they couldn’t even bother to get Stars’ players names right. Klingberg became Klingman and Antoine Roussel’s evil twin (or is he the nice twin?) Dominic Roussel showed up for the game.
In back to back games this spring, Jamie Benn and Jason Demers get highsticked in the face hard enough to draw blood (Jason ended up with stitches. Twice.) What makes this even Star-ier is that neither penalty was called. In Demers’ case, the same penalty was called later that game AGAINST the Stars. (It was on Garbutt, in an incident that should surprise no one.) #hugsonhugs indeed.
But is that more Star-ry than the recent game against the Wild? The Stars take a 1-0 lead into the third period. Remember how the Stars’ winning % when taking a lead into the third is terrible? Nowhere has it been more fucking tragic than this game. The Wild scored SIX. FREAKING. GOALS. in this period to eventually win the game 6-2. They set a record, apparently.
In the last game of the day, we pit two tragedies against each other. First there’s the fact that we weren’t able to beat the Maple Leafs this season. Granted, it was only two games, but the Maple Leafs are. Well. They’re the Maple Leafs. The funnest thing in the dwindling days of this season has been watching that shitstorm implode on itself, right? And yet, in two games played against them, they beat us 5-3 and 4-0. FOUR. TO. ZERO. We were actually SHUT OUT by the Leafs this season. This season in which their slide to the bottom has made more news than literally any other hockey story.
But is that more indicative than the ups and downs of this season than the time when Tyler Seguin scores a hat trick against the San Jose Sharks? Look at this excellent tip in for the 1st goal. Marvel at this gorgeous shot for goal #2. Stare in awe at the beauty that seals his hatty. But then remember we lost the game 5-3. Even Tyler Seguin can’t save this team from itself sometimes.