Under the cover of wintry mix, the showpiece of America's No. 4 sport sneaked into Dallas and will this week try to re-boot old fans and cultivate new ones with a three-day extravaganza. The culmination will be Wednesday night's All-Star Game at the American Airlines Center, but the coolest part of the festivities will be today at 4:30 p.m., when the Stars' 1999 Stanley Cup champions hold a little reunion in Victory Park. Eleven members of the team are scheduled to re-assemble, including current players Mike Modano, Darryl Sydor and Sergei Zubov and past heroes such as Brett Hull, Joe Nieuwendyk and Pat Verbeek.
The group will escort the Stanley Cup into the free party, which will include Stars broadcaster Ralph Strangis, Mayor Laura Miller, NHL Vice President Ken Yaffe and Stars President Jim Lites.
Also on tap Monday will be All-Star team practices, an appearance by Cuba Gooding Jr. and a plethora of famed faces from hockey's past. If you can't ditch work to attend the ol' gang getting back together, you can catch the highlights on Fox Sports Net Southwest at 6 p.m.
Tuesday's event at AAC features the Young Stars Game, which will include the Stars' Jussi Jokinen, followed by the All-Stars showing off their skating, puck-handling and shooting in a SuperSkills competition. Think Slam Dunk Contest, on skates. Stars Marty Turco and Philippe Boucher will play in Wednesday's game. Sadly, an injury will prevent Mike Modano -- long the face of Dallas hockey -- from playing in the game. But he will drop the ceremonial first puck.
Which begs the question: If a puck drops in an afterthought sport, will anyone notice? --Richie Whitt