Dallas Stars Nearing the Point of no Return, Running out of Time

Stars center Tyler Seguin and company look to improve on their middle-of-the-pack status in week two. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Stars center Tyler Seguin and company look to improve on their middle-of-the-pack status in week two. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite a hugely disappointing season, the Dallas Stars still have time to make a run and claim a spot in the Stanley Cup tournament.

Make no mistake, the Dallas Stars find themselves in a fortuitous spot. In a campaign beset by injuries and lackluster play, the postseason is still in play. For a team that epitomizes the word “mediocrity”, this is no small miracle. Aside from the NFL, the National Hockey League places a high premium on rewarding teams that underachieve during the regular season.

Sure, the NBA regularly allows sub-.500 teams to qualify for their playoffs. But they merely serve as cannon fodder for the upper tier. Eight seeds in the NBA never compete for the championship jewel as often as the lower entries in football and hockey. Specific to the NHL, no other sport in the “Big Four” offers its low-level playoff contenders such a generous path to advancement.

To be sure, the general consensus in hockey is that a team can get hot at the right time and produce upset after upset en route to the finals. It has happened before. It is not common, but the 2011 Los Angeles Kings accomplished that very feat. They entered the Stanley Cup tournament as the eighth seed in the Western Conference. They exited the Stanley Cup tournament as the 2011-12 NHL champions. Inexplicable runs can happen.

Barring a stupefying reversal of fortune, a run of that magnitude will not be in the cards for our Stars. There is so much wrong with this club this time. The big names aren’t producing at the same clip they did last year. It is virtually impossible to outscore their problems like they did last season.

More from Sports Dallas Fort-Worth

As a result, this bunch threatens to basically do the same thing the 2014-15 squad did: flame out after a year in which they showed a lot of promise. This is unacceptable for a number of reasons. For one, the fan base has been told that this franchise is being built the right way. General Manager Jim Nill came to Dallas with that Detroit pedigree. Genius front office moves would surely follow. And while some flashy transactions have occurred (see Tyler Seguin, Patrick Sharp, and Jason Spezza), the end result leaves a ton to be desired. In fact, it is largely unacceptable.

I can be somewhat fair and chalk it up to a lack of cohesiveness in light of the rash of preseason injuries. Or I can be realistic and state that the stars on the Stars have not performed to their contractual standards

As someone who was never really on board with the Lindy Ruff era, the recent news regarding his employment status if Dallas misses the playoffs is a bit of fresh air. He says all the right things, and that is commendable, but the end result is wins and losses. If the team can’t put it together defensively, they either will not, or worse yet, cannot. Wholesale changes are needed if they miss the tourney this year.

Next: Mavericks Talk: Yes, Super Teams Are Hurting the NBA

More from Dallas Stars

Realistically speaking, the Dallas Stars need to show us a version of hockey we haven’t seen so far this year. Defense and goaltending need to shine bright. If they do not, it will be another chapter of inconsistency in a maddeningly familiar book. We’ve bought into this bill of goods too long to be shown such a lackluster product.