By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Langenbrunner's return adds a savvy veteran with playoff experience to this talented team of overachievers. But will it be enough to, say, make anyone notice?
These subtle Stars have bite, you see, but little bark.
Stripped to a die-hard, bare-bones fan base after years of playoff flops, a near-fatal league lockout and the NHL's TV banishment to the cable channel Versus, the Stars are struggling for attention. Or TV ratings. Or, for that matter, fans. Add it all up and hockey significance in Dallas has dropped more than 25 percent since the turn of the century. There was that brief rally in 2008 when the Stars pushed the Red Wings in a scintillating six-game Western Conference Finals, but the next year crumbled beneath a season-ending knee injury to Morrow and an ill-fated dalliance with the notorious Sean Avery.
Once with a season-ticket base over 14,000, a waiting list and nightly crowds flirting with 19,000, the Stars have had four gatherings under 15,000 this season and have drawn over 18,000 only twice—both for Modano's returns as a member of the hated Red Wings. TV ratings that once topped 3.0 on Fox Sports Southwest are now failing to attract even a 1.0.
Simply put, the Stars are playing their best hockey in 10 years. And they're doing it before the smallest audiences since the team arrived from Minnesota in 1993.
There are signs of life. The on-ice success. The crowd last Saturday night. The fact that NHL commissioner repeatedly says there is no chance of the Stars leaving Dallas. With the Mavs' season in jeopardy because of Nowitzki's health and Caron Butler's season-ending injury and the NFL's looming lockout that could threaten a 2011 season, there is a window for the Stars to regain some fame.
Don't look now, but the Dallas Stars are winning.
Is it just a matter of time before hockey again matters?
The most routine dunk in highschool basketball gets 'play of the day' status even on local sportscasts, but a highlight worthy goal by Jamie Benn or Brenden Morrow gets no mention.The local TV sports dweebs do not know or like hockey. Even The Ticket, the official Stars' radio station is all Mavericks talk all the time even on days following Stars' games. The 'sports' fans in Dallas follow the lead of the local media and the local media follows the Cowboys and Mavs like ten year old girls follow Justin Bieber.
The stars hired an interim GM this week. And things are looking good. thanks for writing about the Stars
if the dallas stars were broadcasted on 105.3, then they would cease to be noticed at all. they would join the ratings black hole known as The Fan.
Oh wait, with deadline at Obsertver being Tuesdays, maybe they scooped to mornin news? No guess not...
Wow Richie I remember reading almost the exact same Column in the Dallas Morning News bt Mac Engel. Must be just a coincidence.
Sorry this line...
In one of the worst trades in Dallas/Fort Worth history—thank you, former general manager Doug Armstrong—Langenbrunner was traded to New Jersey nine years ago along with Nieuwendyk for Jason Arnott.