Aug 16, 2010, 7:00 PM EST
With Mike Modano and Marty Turco gone, the Dallas Stars decided to market the team (actually the TEAM) rather than an individual player.
Still, Defending Big D tried to guesstimate who might be the new “face” of the franchise. Ultimately, they couldn’t come up with an obvious choice. Let’s look at some of the highlights.
My man crush on Brenden aside, I don’t think he’s the answer. The captain was perfectly positioned to make a run at the top of the public consciousness after his stellar playoff performance of 2008, but a torn ACL and a mediocre return have limited his effectiveness on and off the ice the last two seasons…
I agree completely about Morrow. If his health was ideal, he would be a solid bet, but at this point can you really trust his knee to hold up for a full season? Even if he plays, it’s hard to imagine him matching that breakthrough season he experienced riding shotgun with the hard-to-love Mike Ribiero.
Moving on, Brad Gardner pointed out the first name that popped into my head: Brad Richards. Despite his solid point producing totals, Gardner hits the nail on the head about why Richards won’t be the face of the franchise.
We love Brad Richards. He makes this team immeasurably better when he’s on the ice. I hope the new owner signs him up for the rest of his career. I might consider giving any offspring he may have an entry-level deal. That being said, he has all the personality of a wet mop. His interviews are boring. He’s a nice guy, but his demeanor just doesn’t pop, and his on ice performance, while efficient and productive, lacks the pizazz and flamboyance of Mike Modano’s jersey flapping behind him, or Marty Turco rolling around on the ice making saves.
To a hockey fan, he’s a genius. To your buddy “Joe Bob” at work, he’s nobody.
Here’s the wrap-up on the remaining choices. I’ll share my thoughts after the last excerpt.
The Other Guys.
James Neal. Jamie Benn. Loui Eriksson. Should they get consideration? Loui is as quiet and workman like as Jere and Brad are. The other two are burgeoning, but off the radar in the larger public consciousness. Again, to hockey fans they’re worth watching and you want them on your fantasy team, but to everyone else they’re guys who weren’t here in 1999. That’s unfair, but a lot of people see it that way.
What about Steve Ott? Face of the franchise? No. A larger player in the marketing game going forward? I wouldn’t be surprised, and I support it. Otter is everything people who don’t know hockey love about hockey, and he threw in 20+ goals to go with it last year. No one gets the AAC on their feet like Steve Ott. He definitely gets an honorable mention here with a nod toward the future.
After reading this article, it’s obvious that the team’s marketing-by-committee approach is the right way to go, but I’d keep an eye on James Neal. Here are three reasons why he could emerge as a solid, though by no means Modano-level, marketing chip.
- His nickname (“The Real Deal”) is awesome.
- He can score goals/points with aplomb.
- Neal also hurts people.
(Female fans could confirm or deny his attractiveness. I’m afraid that is outside of my area of expertise.)
So, overall, the Stars lack a matinee idol after having Modano for the entirety of their stay in the Lone Star State. Really, the team should count its blessings and understand that a box office lottery ticket cannot fall into your lap every time. As the DBD bunch point out, winning is the ultimate marketing tool, though.
Unfortunately, they might be closer to finding a face of the franchise than they are into reshaping into a winner in a tough Western Conference and Pacific Division.
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