By Will Martin
You’ve heard the ‘chicken or egg’ question at some point in your life.
No doubt there’s an occasional retort from a friend who will tell you that ‘accidents will happen’ or better yet ‘there are no ordinary moments…things happen for a reason!’
Hang onto that last quote for a moment, if you will…
Matinee play was the order of the day at the American Airlines Center with a rematch from last January 26th for the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues. Dallas lost that day 4-3.
I almost said North Dallas 40 but caught myself as that term has been coined for another North Texas team circa 1976.
2013 is being dubbed the 20 Year Anniversary of hockey in North Texas. No question as to how much the game has grown by leaps and bounds since the jump from lake land. From those early days at Reunion Arena to what has now been a fixture in downtown Dallas since 2001.
There has been great hockey played here in that time frame and there has also been a drought of playoff action since 2008. New ownership, new blood, new direction, new talent and a whirlwind of potential.
It was also Faith Day at the American Airlines Center. The Mike James Band played admirably during the pre-game festivities and that was enjoyable. Heck, anytime you come by to watch a hockey game in Dallas you’re treated to sights, sounds, and fun.
Fresh off a 5-1 defeat to the Oilers at home this day represented a stretch of 15 games where 11 will be played at home. Enter the St. Louis Blues with their ex-Dallas Stars head coach, ex-Dallas Stars GM, and ex-Dallas Star player albeit currently on injured reserve.
For this to occur on Faith Day one can ponder, ‘am I missing something? Have we reverted to 2001 all over again?’ Surely, some of the 16,633 in attendance had to wonder the same thing.
Doug Armstrong walked by for a quick moment of discussion. Joe Nieuwendyk did the same. Past versus present. You build a house and then new people take ownership. Those whom are evicted go elsewhere with a blueprint that equates to success of a different kind elsewhere.
You look at the makeup of the St. Louis team there are/were a mix of ex-Dallas players on the team. Hearing Darren Pang and some of the St. Louis media banter I heard the name Jason Arnott getting bounced around. I remember he had a bit of a run here earlier in the decade.
Other names popped into my head. Brad Winchester, BJ Crombeen, Jamie Langenbrunner to name a few. All these ex-Dallas connections definitely had me believing this team at the turn of the Millenium, or Hullenium provided a wonderful blueprint for fielding a successful hockey program.
Anyone remember Dave Tippett and Mike Smith out Arizona way?
The game itself was anything but pretty. It was to become effective after a Devid Perron goal at 4:20 of the first period put the Blues ahead 1-0.
Faith Day has its perks. Dallas had an answer four more times. But first there was an intervention in the name of a fight with Antoine Roussel and Chris Stewart. Derek Roy certainly thought so.
“I think Roussel’s fight gave us a lift,” Roy said. “They were chipping everything in, they have big bodies and were working us down low and we tried to do the same on the other end, but they were doing a good job defending. But [Roussel’s] fight gave us a boost, and after that, we got that goal by Cole and we took off after that.”
Derek Roy had a goal and two assists, Erik Cole scored his first goal for Dallas since a trade with the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, and Loui Eriksson and Jaromir Jagr provided insurance in the third period.
“Yesterday was the first time he [Roy] said he felt completely healthy,” Stars Coach Glen Gulutzan said. “He was quick on pucks. He was making plays. You can’t give him space because he can find the guy. I thought he was real good tonight, a big catalyst for us, and that’s what we’re going to get moving forward. ”
The win also marked the 100th career win by Dallas over the Blues.
This was the start of a five game road trip for St. Louis. Not exactly the kind of start you look forward to.
“We had too many average performances,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “What can you say? Too many average performances doesn’t get it done on the road.”
Loui Eriksson’s seventh of the season from the right face-off circle, which came after a cross-ice pass from Jordie Benn at 12:48, made it 3-1, and Jagr’s seventh of the season with 1:00 remaining made it 4-1.
“When you score one goal, usually another goal comes next game and it was nice to get one today again,” Eriksson said. “It was a nice pass from Jordie and it was nice to see that go in, and definitely to get the win.”
Back to my original thought. The Dallas Stars should enjoy this win. The 2013 model has a whole lot of upswing. The team they defeated sure looked and felt like a Dallas team from years past from top to bottom.
Both teams meet one more time in St. Louis on April 19th.
Derek Roy, how do you sum up this day?
“We wanted to come out strong right away. We know we have a lot of games in March and
we want to make hay at home and get some wins. We didn’t start off the way we wanted to but we battled back and got some good turnovers, we worked hard, threw pucks to the net, got some good bounces and made some good plays.”
On that note a three day respite before playing the defending Stanley Cup Champion L.A. Kings Thursday night. A team that had the #8 seed in 2012 then went gangbusters during the playoffs.
Here’s to looking ahead. Also fitting on an afternoon when Jamie Langenbrunner was honored as a member of the 20th anniversary team!