I long for the day when Stars hockey is again viewed as an example of excellence and measuring stick for others.
That day is coming, I truly believe that. But it's over yonder down a winding, bumpy, draft and develop road. In the meantime, Stars Hockey Inc. is going to have to endure the odd derogation from current elite powerhouses like the Boston Bruins.
Cam Neely, a friend of mine, and a respectful and respected former player - now executive - of the Bruins was quoted in their Behind The B documentary series saying, 'No disrespect to Dallas, but this is an Original Six team." to Loui Eriksson when greeting the former Star in person following the July 4th trade that brought Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to Big D.
I kidded Cam about the episode with a Ron Burgundy reference ("...this is an Original Six team. People know us. We're kind of a big deal...") and he was of course adamant that he meant no disrespect (which he didn't) but the slight is there (So too are the leather-bound books no doubt).
Fast forward to Tuesday night when the Stars met the Bruins in Beantown. After the dramatic Shootout victory that featured the former Bruin forwards Seguin and Peverley scoring to secure the win. Boston's classy but irritated head coach Claude Julien was asked about the outcome to which he replied, "Well it came down to a shootout because we played at the level of the other team. Not to take anything away from them but I like to think we’re a better team than what we showed."
"Not to take anything away from Dallas..." "No disrespect to Dallas..."
The two men meant that, but it still stings, no? Maybe it isn't full soul crushing stuff but it's at the very least a little bit velvet pride pummeling - and motivating, I would think.
With a Cup and another trip to the Stanley Cup Final in the past three seasons, the Stars certainly want to become what the Bruins have been lately. They're going to have to earn it though, because that level of respect is never just given.
So in the end, no offense taken. And thanks for the two points.