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The Official Site of the Dallas Stars

A New Era

by Scott Burnside @OvertimeScottB / DallasStars.com

Burnside joins DallasStars.com

Stars welcome Scott Burnside

Scott Burnside discusses his new role as DallasStars.com's senior digital correspondent

  • 05:42 •

Well, that's been a weird few weeks.

After 13-plus years as ESPN.com's senior (and at the beginning, only) national hockey writer, the call came from Bristol, Ct. that time had run out on our relationship. No hard feelings. Thanks for coming out.

And then things got weird.

When something life-altering like this happens, especially after having covered every Stanley Cup Final since 2006, three Olympics and the World Cup of Hockey twice, it's a little like getting a front-row seat at your own memorial.

Lots of people called to offer their sympathy. Some coaches, GMs, scouts, players, and of course, lots of journalists, many of whom had received similar calls or who wake up every day wondering when their phones will ring with similar news, offered words of encouragement.

Among the calls, though, was one of a different tone and tenor.

It came from the Dallas Stars.

Basically, the Stars wanted to know what I was going to do now and more to the point, would I consider joining the organization.

Now, I have been working on my shot and my gap control is better than it used to be, but nonetheless I was a bit surprised at the notion until I learned the position they had in mind wasn't on the ice, just near it.

They are calling it Senior Digital Correspondent. I asked for the 'senior' part because who doesn't want to get an added 10% senior discount when you go to the grocery store or the pharmacy?

And basically, it means I'll do a little bit of everything when it comes to sharing news, views and stories, not just about the Dallas Stars but the League and the game as a whole.

To say the media landscape is changing is to give understatement a bad name. I started in the business as a news guy when everyone in my city of Windsor, Ontario got the paper every day. Everyone.

The desks along the editing row at the Windsor Star were charred from editors having set their still-lit cigarettes down beside their massive computer terminals to edit the afternoon edition before heading over to Lee's Imperial Palace for libations between editions.

My son will turn 15 in the fall and I'm not entirely sure he's ever actually held a newspaper in his hands.

So, when ESPN lays off 100 employees, many of whom had been contributing content daily across the sporting universe for decades, and when an organization like ESPN basically shutters its hockey operation in the middle of the Stanley Cup playoffs, well, you know all the old rules are out the window.

They're out the window, too, for entities like the Dallas Stars.

Dallas is a big marketplace with a rich history, yet the team is looking to be proactive in creating more and different content to keep elevating the team's profile in a crowded sports and entertainment landscape; one dominated by the NFL's Dallas Cowboys.

The move to install such a person in this role comes at a pivotal time for the Stars.

The team is celebrating 25 years in Texas and after a miserable 2016-17 campaign the storylines are being redrawn as we speak.

Ken Hitchcock returns to the scene of his greatest triumph, the Stars' seminal Stanley Cup win in 1999. The team hopes it has addressed its long-standing goaltending issues by acquiring and then signing two-time Vezina Trophy finalist Ben Bishop to a six-year deal.

They have ended up, via the draft lottery, with the third overall selection, giving them the opportunity to draft an impact player with their highest pick since Mike Modano was chosen first overall in the 1988 draft, five years before the team made the move from Minnesota to Texas.

Beyond the stories of a team longing for a second championship, the Stars were looking for someone to tell the stories of the game, the League. There'll be a podcast and lots of video, and maybe some television.

Basically, they were looking for someone to do much of what I've been doing for the past 13 years or so at ESPN.

The interesting part is team officials insisted - repeatedly - they weren't looking for someone to shower the team in rose petals.

The opposite in fact.

As the former secretary of the Lambeth, Ontario 4-H Beef Club (this is true), the expectation is that if other material needs to be shoveled on the team beyond rose petals, that's okay too.

Will there be times when Hitchcock grows tired of seeing us show up every day pestering him about line combinations, power play deficiencies and defensive breakdowns?

Quite possibly.

Will GM Jim Nill curse those who came up with the idea of having us come aboard?

Well, Nill isn't much for cursing but he might mutter under his breath about being bugged about trades and draft picks and what's next for this team.

But maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Bottom line is no one knows exactly how this experiment will work out. And that's exactly what this is, an experiment in coverage and content and the telling of the stories of a team and a league evolving at a dizzying pace.

But the one thing we know for sure is that as the media landscape shifts under our feet and under the feet of those consuming and creating that content, the game, the stories, remain constant. They demand attention and tending to and that's what we hope to do.

And so, as this too-long beginning is finally being ended we can't think of a place in the hockey world we'd rather be.

We hope you'll be part of it.

Enjoy.

Scott Burnside

Senior Digital Correspondent, Dallas Stars

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