Conference Call Tuesday – Dallas Stars
Dec 10, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars left wing Antoine Roussel (21) tries to fight Chicago Blackhawks left wing Jeremy Morin (11) but is separated by linesman Lonnie Cameron (74) at the end of the game at the American Airlines Center. The Blackhawks defeated the Stars 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Regular Season Record: 40-31-11
Western Conference Ranking: 8th
Season Series: 3-2 Blackhawks
The Stars planned to make good on a huge offseason in the summer of 2013, when they began the 2013-14 regular season campaign with a new star forward, new coach, and reworked management. The playoffs were to be a distant possibility for the club, playing in the stacked Central Division under the new realignment. Tyler Seguin was brought in for a trade involving former top defenseman Loui Eriksson. The Stars’ defense was thought to be the team’s limiting factor going into the season.
Dallas was consistent all year long, sticking around behind powerhouses such as the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks, and quietly played themselves into a Wild Card playoff spot, with several Pacific Division teams hot on their trail. Seguin and new captain Jamie Benn were lights-out as a pair, with Seguin notching several hat-tricks and landed fourth in NHL scoring, as the pair finished with a combined 163 points.
The Stars indeed qualified for the playoffs for the first time in five seasons, and drew a match-up with the Western Conference Champion Anaheim Ducks. The Stars put up a commendable battle, but were eventually eliminated in six-games.
The Stars weren’t sitting idle as the 2014 off-season began, as they picked up Jason Spezza from the Ottawa Senators, and have made several moves, with several weeks to go until training camp.
We sat down with Josh Clark from blackoutdallas.com, to talk the Stars’ past, present, and future:
1. The Stars stuck around in the tough Central Division, and held on to a Wild Card spot for their first playoff appearance in five years. What was the secret to their success in 2013-14?
1. I think the biggest key to their playoff year had to be Tyler Seguin. The 22 year old came into Dallas with a lot of criticism, but responded to it exceptionally and ended up 4th in the league in scoring. He led the team well along with his partner-in-crime Jamie Benn, and the two formed one of the best dynamic duos in the NHL. Seguin will end up being a determined leader for the Stars in the years to come.
2. Jim Nill made an impact last summer, and he’s been making big moves since the Stars’ playoff run ended. How happy are you with his work thus far?
2. I couldn’t be happier with Nill’s work so far and he already deserves to be a candidate for GM of the Year. He’s filled the spots the Stars needed to fill and those spots have been filled with quality players.
3. Going into the post-season, Playoff experience was said to be a limiting factor for the team. Do you think that factored into the first-round exit?
3. It was, but not as big as people thought it was. Lehtonen surely struggled, especially in Game 6, but that was about it. The Stars showed that they could overcome the nerves and Game 5 turned our to be the only game where they were thoroughly beat, and even THAT loss was largely due in part to goaltending.
4. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn had career years, and there’s lots more in front of them. Is this the future of Stars hockey? How high can these two go?
4. Definitely. These two combined for 163 points last season and always clicked when on the ice, and they look like they are going to do even more next year. Seguins skill and dot management along with Benns physicality make for a scary pair. These two will be the leaders of the Stars down the road.
5. Bringing Tim Thomas mid-season was a move some doubted at the time. Now that it’s over, what do you think of his time in Dallas?
5. Wasn’t the smartest move by a long shot for Jim Nill’s time in Dallas. Thomas wasn’t an upgrade in the slightest, even though many thought he would be back on March 5. But he basically performed the exact same as Dan Ellis did, so overall it was just a name change in net, no skill change. Thomas’ 2-4-1 record was nothing for Stars fans to look at.
6. Do you feel any pressure from teams like Phoenix, Nashville, and Vancouver with their offseason moves this far, or are the Stars going to be playoff contenders for years to come?
6. As always, if you can’t beat em, copy em. The Stars made sure to make a splash on day 1 of free agency and ended up not only matching the caliber of deals from AZ, NSH, and VAN, but improving on them. The Stars will have to try REALLY hard if they want to MISS the playoffs after all these new acquirements.
7. What would it take for the Stars to surpass the Wild, and be in the same conversation as the Central’s top three teams? Roster moves, or improvement from within?
7. They’ve already made the roster moves, now it’s just applying them within, which they can do. Minnesota had a pretty good offseason, but the Stars clearly held the better cards. They truly need to upgrade the defense, but besides that they could easily be looking at a 100+ point season.
8. The Stars made a splash when they picked up Jason Spezza, winning over Senators management with teams like Chicago rumoured to be in the mix. How excited are you to see him come to Dallas?
8. We were celebrating in the streets the second we heard the news! Spezza is going to be a key addition to the Stars squad along with his former line mate Ales Hemsky. Jason will back up Seguin on the second line and will take a major load off of Seguin’s shoulders that he had to deal with last year due to the lack of strong experience in the dot.
9. Antione Roussel certainly made a name for himself against the ‘Hawks, and it wasn’t positive. Do you see him as a good contributor, or are there better options in his place? (We all know what answer we want to hear)
9. Haha I knew you would want to hear another answer, but the fact is Roussel is a consistent playmaker and knows how to play the offensive side of the puck really well. He’s filed for arbitration so we’ll have to see where it goes but the Stars are lucky to have him. Oh, did I mention the physicality he brings to the table?
10. What’s your prediction for the Stars 2014 season?
10. Alright this one is a question I’ve been struggling with for a while but here it goes:
Record: 47-25 -10
Division finish: 3rd
Conference finish: 5th
Playoff performance: lose in Western Conference finals in 6 games
Big thanks to Josh for helping us out this week! Be sure to tune in to blackoutdallas.com for all your Stars news and updates.
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