Nothing would have beaten another win, but I could not be more proud of my Dallas STARS! I hate being on the wrong side of the handshake ... but our boys deserved a great send-off ... and myself and the fans came through nicely! Detroit was no doubt the better team but Dallas gave them a run for their money. After 3 straight first-round exits, the STARS erased so many playoff demons this time around and set the bar back where it should be. They are the 3rd best team in the league this year ... no reason to hang your head over that! Not only that, but the core of this team - Morrow, Ribeiro, and Richards - are all in their 20's and all under multi-year contracts! Furthermore, four of the defenseman that helped carry the STARS to the brink of the Cup Finals are all under 24. Modano and Zubov will stay as long as they want ... they are most certainly welcome and will always be a positive factor. I would imagine Barnes will be back unless he decides to retire; I'm not sure what impact the concussion has had on that decision. Norstrom is expendable but I think he deserves another year with this team; he definitely helped carry the load this season. Niklas Hagman is the gigantic question mark ... after back-to-back career years he is due for a pay day ... but at what price is too much for Dallas to pay. They don't have all that much cash lying around since $9-million is set aside for Richards ... but I think you have to make a run for him ... he did not step up much in the playoffs, but he was enormous in paying the way to the playoffs. Boucher is under contract but I could see him being dealt. Unfortunately, he was hurt a lot this year after his all-star season a year ago. This is way early to be predicting, but defensively I think you start with Zubie and Robi, then let the kids play - Daley, Niskanen, Fistric, and Grossman. As of this moment I would have the top 12 forwards as Morrow, Ribeiro, Richards, Modano, Lehtinen, Barnes, Eriksson, Lundqvist, Ott, Petersen, Hagman, and Brunnstrom. That means depth would include Winchester, Barch, Crombeen, Conner, and the likes. I can't imagine Holmqvist is brought back to be Marty's backup ... in fact I'm pretty sure that job will fall to Tobias Stephan ... no need to spend money on a backup when Marty is going to play most of the time anyway.
Well I hate to keep telling myself the summer is here, but I've got to force myself to go to bed at some point. Well done Detroit ... you definitely earned it. Boy would I give anything for you guys to get back Franzen and Dallas to get back Barnes and Lehtinen, and start this series all over again!
THANK-YOU DALLAS STARS! THANKS FOR A MEMORABLE RUN AND MUCH TO CHEER ABOUT! WE'RE PROUD OF YOU AND CANNOT WAIT FOR NEXT SEASON!
Go Penguins! A sweep would be AWESOME!
I still BELIEVE ... it will just have to be next year!
Forever ... GO STARS!!!