Complete Collapse Completed
Tsk, tsk, tsk.
Three huge division games to gain plenty of ground in the Western Conference standings. Six huge points to perhaps make a run at the eighth seed and make the playoffs.
They only got one point. And they were lucky to get it.
The Dallas Stars lost to the Phoenix Coyotes in a shootout 2-1, got completely destroyed in San Jose, losing to the Sharks 6-0, and finally, the coup de grace delivered by the Los Angeles Kings with a resounding 3-1 victory earlier this afternoon. So many points given away, so much to regret.
It's easy to tell where this all started, too. It started with the Stars getting too comfortable with being the best team in their division for a time. It's easy to say that the team got way too confident with themselves and created a monumental fall from grace that saw them fall to where they are now. The Stars were looking good for a time. And that was with James Neal and Matt Niskanen.
The Stars thought they could make a run of it with a top-tier defenseman in Alex Goligoski and with a premier forward in Brad Richards. But it's looking like that wouldn't be enough.
This isn't to say the Stars are a bad team.
If you look at the team's makeup, they have a good goalie, solid defense, and some talented forwards. But there are teams that are just that slightest bit better and more battle tested. The Sharks, Ducks, Kings and Coyotes have all made the playoffs in recent years. They will just be the odd-team out in a competitive division with four playoff representatives.
Sure, missing the playoffs won't help the attendance issues in Big D, or help the crazy ownership situation. But it's a necessary step in toughening up this young team looking to go in a more efficient direction. With more money to work with in a more stable ownership situation, General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk can branch out and find more efficient pieces.
But that's for the summer. For right now, the Stars can look on this season like being up 3-0 in a critical game, only to lose the lead, and lose the game in the process. It's a tough lesson, but they just learned it.