Stars Gazing

The Cowboys signed Terrell Owens and Mike Vanderjagt last week. The Mavericks have flirted with having the NBA's best record all season. The Rangers open their season a week from today. And the Stars...eh, didn't hockey die? While you were busy not caring even a little bit, the NHL skipped a year because of labor unrest but has been reincarnated with more scoring, less fighting and a Dallas team that is again among the best on ice. Quietly, the Stars are 48-20-3, with 11 games left on the schedule. The team's only better season came in 1999, the year it won its lone Stanley Cup.

Not surprisingly, the loudest player on the area's best-kept secret is Mike Modano, who on Sunday became the franchise's all-time leader in power-play goals with his 135th. He now leads the Stars in all-time goals, games played, points, magazine covers and fawning females. Led by your favorite player, the Stars will be one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup when the playoffs start next month. So feel free to pretend that you always cared about hockey. Loving hockey is the new not giving a damn about hockey. --Richie Whitt

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