We have decided to trade a few questions with our sister site, Defending Big D. David Wilson has generously offered to answer some questions that we had for them. For our responses to their questions, please go check out their website at www.defendingbigd.com.
Hope you guys enjoy!
1.) How much will Jason Spezza be able to impact this team?
Hugely. He’s a guaranteed producer, and however that second line shakes out (I’m not certain Hemsky won’t be given time on the first line as the season goes on) Spezza will rack up a good number of points as a Star. Funny enough though, I don’t think it’s going to be his point totals that have the most effect on this team. Yes, secondary scoring was a problem for the Stars last season and Spezza will help address that. But the top two scorers in Dallas, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, were able to be among the league leaders, despite facing the toughest matchups game in, game out.
Imagine what happens when a threatening second line starts to take some pressure off the Bennguin line…
Not to mention that Spezza and Hemsky on a powerplay unit with Benn and Seguin is just going to be fun.
2.) How are such high expectations for the season being handled by not only the team, but the fans in Dallas?
The team are saying all the right things. Confidence in themselves, confidence as a group, young guys ready to fill important roles, veterans excited to contribute, etc, etc… Nobody’s saying they’re going to win the Cup, but none of them are backing down from the challenge.
As for the fan base, there’s definitely been a shift. I don’t know if it was due to it being opening night, but for the last few seasons home games against the Blackhawks have been a 50-50 crowd at best for the Stars. And while the Hawks had a pretty large, vocal contingent Thursday night, they were definitely the minority, and ‘Let’s go Hawks’ chants that a year ago, to our embarrassment, would have rocked the arena, were drowned out by choruses of ‘Let’s go Stars.’ Dallas, it would seem, is starting to take notice.
As for the blogging community, which as I don’t live in Dallas is where most of my resources come from, the raised expectations this season come with a giant caveat. It’s rare to hear somebody mention how strong the Stars look, without somebody else raising questions about the defense. Sergei Gonchar was selfless enough to take an injury during the preseason and thus remove the problem of having to actually dress him for games, but it meant that in his place the Stars iced a third pairing consisting of two players with a paltry 44 games of NHL experience between them. There are some fantastic defensive prospects in the pipeline for Dallas, and in a couple of years the blueline will be a force, but right now? Call it a bit of a boat anchor, preventing wholly boundless optimism.
3.) The Nashville Predators faithful see the Stars as a hated rival. Not only because of the Modano/Tootoo incident, but now because of Jason Spezza. I’m interested to know, how do the Stars fans view the Predators?
Most Stars fans have forgotten that Spezza nixed a potential trade to the Predators. That got overlooked in the joyful rush as we learned that he had instead chosen Dallas as his destination. Trust me, we know what it’s like to not be a choice destination for NHL players. Boy has that changed in a hurry though.
Regarding the view of Stars fans towards the Predators? Speaking for myself, I have to say I kind of like you guys. It’s like the Arizona Coyotes. A team that doesn’t have the star power or big market to drive them, but still manages to keep themselves relevant and get labeled over-achievers, despite never really achieving much. Don’t take it personally. Until last season the Stars spent five years neither over-achieving, nor under-achieving, nor even really achieving at all.
Dallas fans these days I feel reserve their hatred for Anaheim and Los Angeles, and St. Louis of course, and hold a begrudging respect for the Blackhawks, with all our vitriol reserved for their bandwagon fans. There’s just no room to hate the Predators, you know?
Saying that, I’m not going to be in the least surprised to see ya’ll turn a few heads this season. As solid a defense as Nashville has, and if Rinne can stay healthy, with the potential in the new forwards playing a new system…
Make the playoffs, and when we see you there, then we can start talking hatred.