As long-time readers know, I don't normally cover the Dallas Stars - they're on the Frozen Pill's beat. I live in Dallas, though, and am a Stars fan (except when they're playing the Rangers). I purchased my partial-season ticket plan today, and thought this would be a good time to offer up some constructive criticism regarding the Stars' 2009-2010 home schedule.
Guess who's NOT coming to dinner?
I'll give you a hint: The Rangers, Capitals and Penguins. This season, I won't get to see my favorite team, the most exciting player in the NHL today, or the defending Stanley Cup Champs in person. These were my top three must-see games in 08-09, but they're not an option this season. Lower on my list, Les Habitants are the only Canadian club not flying into DFW during the coming season (I'm not a Habs fan - I just miss Bob Gainey). In short, this is garbage. Every team should play a home-and-home set against every team in the opposing conference every year.
The "Consolation Prizes"
When picking the games for my partial plan, I struggled to find ten games I really wanted to see in person. Chicago was a no-brainer, but I only selected the first of their two appearances - the second time the Blackhawks visit Dallas is Game 81, and I seriously doubt this game will have any real meaning for either club. Boston, Detroit's 2nd visit (wish their 1st stop wasn't right before Christmas), and a Night-Before-Thanksgiving tilt with the much-improved Blues received automatic bids, as did both Columbus games (I cover the Blue Jackets for OGA...and miss Ken Hitchcock).
Those were the first six games that caught my eye. Upon further review of the Stars' schedule, I decided to get tickets for the first Dallas appearances of Messrs. Hedman and Tavares. Two games remained, which I left up to my son. Tex Jr. picked the perpetually-rebuilding Toronto Maple Leafs and the Philadelphia Prongers. I didn't ask why he picked those games; I just assumed he wanted to hear Celena Rae sing "O Canada" at least once this season, and he figured the Philly game would be phun.
My Personal Boycott
At this point, you might be saying to yourself, "Tex, those look like decent choices, but...how could you pass on all twelve games against division rivals San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles and Phoenix?" This is my personal boycott: I won't pay to watch the Stars play any of these teams, because the Dallas Stars don't belong in the Pacific Division. I've emailed the NHL on this subject, and I even sent Gary Bettman a globe, to no avail.
In a logical world, Vancouver would be in the Pacific, given that waves from that ocean crash against property in that city. I understand, however, the desire to keep the three western Canadian teams together. Fine. Put Colorado in the Pacific, and move the Stars into the Northwest Division. Dallas has a good playoff history with Edmonton, a love-hate relationship with Minnesota, a vendetta against Vancouver, and I will never forget the fact that, in exchange for the Stars' current GM, Dallas sent Jarome Iginla to Calgary when the Flames really wanted Todd Harvey. Yes, the Dallas Stars could easily make themselves at home in the Northwest Division. Until that happens, I'm not buying ticket one to a Stars' divisional game. Are you listening, Gary? This is where do my best Denis Lemieux impression, shouting, "Trade me right f***ing now!", and hanging up the phone.
Trade me back to On Goal Analysis right f***ing now