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The Light at the End of the Tunnel

by Daryl "Razor" Reaugh / Dallas Stars

The Stars will miss the playoffs for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. That represents a treadmill of disappointment and mediocrity that began in 2009 and has produced a futile, every other year turnover in the team's hockey department.



When you're in the throws of this it seems that you're the only ones enduring such frustration and longing, but you're not. There are others of your kind. I think it's valuable to take a little reality check.

So the Stars have missed in 6 of 7; the longest such stretch in franchise history. If you've followed this team as forensically as I have during the void you too would see that the club appears to be on the cusp of making a major next step, a step toward being a consistent playoff team, and more importantly; a squad that challenges for the Cup.

Don't believe me?

"Victory Green colored glasses, Razor"

Pollyanna?

Peruse these examples of the franchises many assume were championship quality always (some, right out of the NHL womb), but who actually had to endure (or are enduring) some major pain and disappointment before ultimately achieving the prize:

Anaheim Ducks
Missed the playoffs in 8 of 9 seasons when they were a smidgen less than their "Mighty" monicker...then they lost in the Cup Final...missed the playoffs again...lost in the W Conference Final...Won the Stanley Cup.

Chicago Blackhawks

Missed the playoffs in 9 of 10 seasons and played in front of only a smattering of fans at the UC...lost in W Conference Final...won the Stanley Cup...won another Cup three years later.

Detroit RedWings
Missed the playoffs in 12 of 13 seasons from 1966 thru to the early 1980s (They gave away cars at games just to get people to attend)...they last missed the postseason in 1990 and have since that time won four Stanley Cups and lost in two other Cup Finals.

Los Angeles Kings
Missed the playoffs 6 seasons in a row (and in 12 of 15 years dating back to their Cup Final loss to Montreal in 1993)...have won 2 Stanley Cups in 5 seasons since that most recent 6 year playoff drought.

New Jersey Devils

Missed playoffs in 13 of 15 years (Gretzky once famously called the Devils, "Mickey Mouse")...then won 3 Stanley Cups over the next 14 seasons, and lost in two other Finals.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Back in the late 80s they missed the playoffs 6 seasons in a row, and in 7 of 8...then the Pens won back-to-back Stanley Cups...More recently; missed for 4 years in a row...lost in Final 2 yrs later...won Cup.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Missed the playoffs in 9 of their first 10 years of existence...won Cup two years later (Bolts have actually missed the playoffs in twice as many seasons as they've made the playoffs).

Toronto Maple Leafs
This year is the 9th time in the last decade that the Leafs and their insufferable "Leafsnation" will be out of the postseason...They last won the Cup in 1967...

So you see, there is precedent, and there is hope. Sure, that light at the other end of the tunnel may seem like a train you're about to kiss right now, but it's more likely a beacon - an incandescent glimmer of consistent and effulgent playoff payoff for us all in the years ahead.

Meantime, lay as flat as you can and as still as can be on those imaginary tracks. Let that eightteam locomotive rumble over top of you. Exhale. (Maybe change your gonch too;)) Swear a bit, as it's been proven scientifically to help handle pain. That emotional pain, it too will pass...

Then - in full Stars regalia - walk proudly to the light of the ensuing possibilities.

Ethereal Razor - out.

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