I admit it – I’m a sucker for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. To me there’s nothing quite like it in all of sports. The NBA has tried to replicate the NHL format by going to best of 7 series a few years ago for all their playoff series (from best of 5), but there’s just something about a “next goal wins” in NHL playoff overtime that is like nothing else in sports.
When the Stars won the Cup in ’99 I was in Buffalo witnessing the triple overtime thriller; so stressful I could barely deal with it, yet still to this day my most memorable sports memory. And last night when the St. Louis Blues defeated the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks in triple OT, it was no less thrilling – albeit only game one of series one.
If you’re a die hard Dallas Stars fan, you had to love (or perhaps hate) seeing your old fav Steve Ott providing the primary assist on the game winner. “Otter” is now teammates with former Stars captain Brenden Morrow in “The Lou,” along with Brett Hull in the front office, Ken Hitchcock behind the bench and former Stars GM Doug Armstrong running the show. The make up of “Dallas North” has a similar feel to when Bob Gainey pretty much made the Dallas Stars “Montreal South” back in the 90s – with former Canadiens such as Guy Carbonneau, Craig Ludwig and Brian Skrudland all skating for the home team at Reunion Arena, and Ironman Doug Jarvis coaching behind the bench with Hitch.
If you’ve never given the NHL playoffs a chance you are missing out. I know the NHL at times is a hard sell south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but I also know that people old enough to remember the late 90s here in Big D remember what a hot ticket the Stars were, and just how much fun those games were to attend.
I spent almost 15 years in the Stars front office but I have no official connection to them now – but I’m hoping that former fans, current fans, and fringe fans will all pack the AAC Monday night when the Stars return from Anaheim for their first home playoff game in 5 years. Whether they’re down 2 games to none or tied a game piece – you won’t regret attending an NHL playoff game. Don’t take these playoffs for granted like we used to do with the Stars when a trip to each and every post season seemed like a given. We were spoiled no doubt. You just might miss out on something special and memorable like what happened in St. Louis last night, and there’s no guarantee it will come this way again anytime soon.