Alas, another season has come and gone and Canucks fans are left once again without their team ready to take them to the dance. So what are you to do? Fear not! As we are the helpful and caring types, we have begun our annual campaign to find homes for Canucks fans who don’t want hockey to be over. Remember, your loyalty is nothing trivial, so make them tell you why you should pledge your allegiance in the quest for hockey’s ultimate prize.
“Fucking horseshit”. That was what Dallas Stars CEO Jim Lites said earlier this season, referring to the play of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. The team certainly seemed to respond and are now giving a favorite to emerge from the West (the Nashville Predators) all they can handle. We spoke with Defending Big D editor Taylor Baird about her Stars and why you should cheer for them.
1. The season series was very close (Dallas was 2-1-2), but neither team was successful on home ice. Do you think that this Stars team on the road matches up well with Nashville or is it just the fact that the bad singing at the Bridgestone Arena doesn’t rattle the Stars?
It’s funny, this might be the only team the Stars beat consistently on the road this season. I think this team entered the playoffs with a confidence that allowed them to weather the first game onslaught from puck drop and then change the game to suit their pace/style. They imposed their will and were the better team for the last 40 minutes. The question is whether they can manage to win two games on the road in this series....if they do, and advance past the first round, they’re going to have even more confidence in a West that looks wide open today.
2. Do you think this series will come down to Jamie Benn being able to produce points or Ben Bishop being able to stop pucks?
It’s going to be on Ben Bishop to stop pucks, as it has been all season. But the fact that he hasn’t allowed more than 2 goals in a game since February 4th (yeah, look that one up, it’s true) I think Dallas feels comfortable with it being like that. The true achilles heel for the Stars is whether their bottom six can do any scoring at all.
3. If Dallas can get through this series, is there a realistic chance that they can get past Winn/St.L and reach the Conf. Finals?
I think if Dallas makes it past Nashville they’re going to believe that they can play anyone, and confidence (combined with stout defense and excellent goaltending they’ve had all season long) and there is a better than 50% chance that Dallas makes noise in the west.
Bonus: Did the rant of the Stars CEO in December actually work and motivate this team?
Absolutely not. The only thing that realistically changed after Lites’ “fucking horseshit” comments back at the end of 2018 was that Tyler Seguin finally stopped shooting at a career-low percentage and he finally got puck luck to put them in the net. Anybody making an argument that Lites influenced getting this team into the playoffs with those comments either didn’t watch this team all season or want to have a convenient narrative storyline.
Thanks to Taylor for taking the time to answer these for us, and you can follow her on Twitter at @taylordbaird.