Dallas Stars remain loitering in the 2022 playoff push

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

Lest I get called a Dallas Stars apologist–again–let’s dispatch with the facts–again. As of right now, the Stars are outside of the playoff picture looking in. They currently sit in ninth place in the NHL’s Western Conference with 75 points. They are directly behind the eighth seeded Vegas Golden Knights, who sit in the catbird seat with 76 points.

The Dallas Stars are not a playoff team at this particular moment. We can all agree on that.

However, the Stars are one point behind the Golden Knights with four games in hand. Whether the doom-and-gloom portion of the fan base chooses to believe this or not, it sets Dallas up very well to make up the stagger. The truth of the matter is, despite all frustrations, the Stars can still write their own script into the Stanley Cup tournament.

The Dallas Stars are not a playoff team currently, but that changes nightly.

I’ve been saying this for a while now. You all know I’m a “big picture” guy. So regardless of any one loss, such as Saturday’s 4-1 setback versus the Vancouver Canucks, I’m going to find the silver lining. I’ve long since passed the fatalistic mindset of my Stars brethren. We tend to spend too much time agonizing over a given loss and not taking the journey into account.

That’s not to say I don’t feel the frustration. It can be difficult to watch on a nightly basis. The Stars can vacillate from the height of world beaters to the depths of bottom feeders. For better or for worse, this is their curse.

But for the armchair general managers that exist out there in the ever-vocal social media, I have to say a few things. First, head coach Rick Bowness isn’t going anywhere, at least not for now. Even a total collapse this season won’t bring about any change until all is said and done. Get over your fantasies of him being jettisoned before this campaign is over.

Next, the player rotation is the player rotation. Aside from the Joe Pavelski, Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz line, there’s going to be a ton of shuffling as the coaching staff tries to find a suitable second punch behind the top trio. The way this team is currently constructed (and paid), they’re going to have to find places for fan whipping boys like Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov.

This doesn’t even address the gripe regarding Saturday night’s lone goal scorer, Jacob Peterson, and his scant 9:04 time on ice. But it also doesn’t mean he would have scored a hat trick if he had more playing time. To suggest anything further is simply grasping at straws, especially for a team that’s been so goal challenged all season.

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Believe it or not, the Dallas Stars are in pretty good shape as the season turns into the final quarter. They’ve got a crucial four-game west coast roadie against some teams they can beat. After that, they’ve got 10 of their final 14 games at home, where they’ve been excellent. If they don’t make the tournament, then a lot of fans will get their wish regarding wholesale changes. If they flame out, this will be the final iteration of Stars’ hockey as we currently know it.