It’s a fresh start for the Dallas Stars, in more ways than one.
With the NHL lockout in the rear-view mirror, the Stars begin the chase for the Stanley Cup while celebrating their 20th anniversary in Dallas. And the organization is pulling out all the stops during this shortened season.
Back with the Stars in front office capacity is the face of the franchise, Mike Modano, along with three-time Stanley Cup champion Mark Recchi and former Stars All-Star goalie Marty Turco. Modano takes the role of executive advisor, Recchi is involved in hockey operations and Turco is part of the studio broadcast team. These are just some of moves made by owner Tom Gagliardi and general manager Joe Nieuwendyk aimed at bringing back a winning atmosphere to Big D.
On the ice, they picked up some veterans who know how to win in forwards Jaromir Jagr, Ray Whitney and defenseman Aaron Rome. Jagr has already made an impact with his new team; the future Hall of Famer scored two goals in the season opener against Phoenix. They traded a popular player in Steve Ott to get Derek Roy from Buffalo. The new guys join a strong nucleus that involves captain Brenden Morrow, Loui Eriksson, and Michael Ryder. Kari Lehtonen will once again guard the net, with rookie Cristopher Nilstorp backing him up. On paper, the Stars look good under second-year head coach Glen Gulutzan.
One name that’s missing from the roster is their All-Star from last season, Jamie Benn. Benn, a restricted free agent, remains unsigned but it sounds like both parties are working towards a deal. His younger brother Jordie is among the young crop that’s seeing ice time with the Stars early on this season.
In another move to amp up the excitement, there are talks of a pending uniform and logo redesign. Gagliardi said that Turco and Modano had input on the prototype they’re waiting on from Reebok, and that it would have a vintage look.
After getting two goals by Ryder in the win at Detroit, the Stars start the new season with a 2-1 record. But it’s not as much how you start as it is how you finish for the Stars, who have faded in the second half to miss the playoffs the last couple of years. But with changes in personnel and atmosphere, it’s a trend that could be coming to an end this time around.
Written by C. James