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Columnist: Dallas Stars are like the Texas Rangers

Oct 27, 2011, 2:58 PM EDT

Dallas Stars

There’s an interesting piece from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News (sorry, subscription only) about the similarities between the red-hot Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers, who will face St. Louis in Game 6 of the World Series this evening.

With the state of Texas wrapped up in Ranger-mania, it’s not surprising the local hockey team has followed suit.

Stars defenseman Mark Fistric is a regular visitor to Rangers Ballpark (usually spotted wearing his Josh Hamilton jersey) and head coach Glen Gulutzan is an admitted fan of Ron Washington’s.

So when Heika suggests the hockey team somewhat mirrors the baseball team — albeit during Dallas’ recent 2-1 shootout win over Phoenix — it’s intriguing.

If a young team wanted to shape itself in the image of another organization, the Texas Rangers wouldn’t be a bad role model.

After all, a deep lineup that mixes youth and experience seems like a good idea. So does a coach who connects with his players and builds chemistry. The result can be a squad on which any player can be a hero on any given night.

That’s kind of what happened with the Stars on Tuesday. Led by new coach Glen Gulutzan and an interesting group of players tossed together by general manager Joe Nieuwendyk in the off-season, Dallas showed in a 2-1 shootout win over the Phoenix Coyotes that it has playmakers throughout the lineup.

How about Adam Burish, for example? The gritty, energetic forward had been moved to the fourth line in recent games and watched as his role was reduced slightly. But when the team needed a jolt in the third period, Gulutzan moved him up to the top line with Mike Ribeiro and Brenden Morrow, and he produced, scoring the tying goal with 1:01 remaining in regulation.

You could almost say he played the David Murphy role, a regular contributor stepping up when called upon to do just a little more.

The piece goes on to compare several other:

Trevor Daley is Mitch Moreland (both unlikely heroes — Daley scored the shootout winner against Phoenix, Moreland homered out of the No. 9 slot.)

Michael Ryder is Michael Young (both were bumped down the lineup.)

Jamie Benn is Ian Kinsler (both provided consistent defense.)

Sheldon Souray is Mike Napoli (both recently-acquired fan favorites.)

Kari Lehtonen is the bullpen (both close the door.)

Heika also points out that Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk and Rangers GM Jon Daniels both went to Cornell. And remember when Nolan Ryan dummied Robin Ventura? That was straight out of a hockey brawl. OMG, THE SIMILARITIES ARE UNCANNY.

The Stars deserve a lot of credit for even being in this type of conversation. For starters, they’re bankrupt. They have the league’s lowest payroll and a head coach nobody’s ever heard of. After losing Brad Richards, their big free agent signings were a guy that had been in the AHL for a year (Souray) and Boston’s resident whipping boy (Ryder). Everybody figured they’d be a bottom-five team in the West — yet here they sit, tied with Washington for the second-most points in the NHL.

  1. hockeyfan9170 - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Hopefully more fans go see them. Their attendance is embarrassing the league.

    • danphipps01 - Oct 27, 2011 at 4:28 PM

      It’s more like their location. I mean, Texas? No matter how well they play, no-one’s going to be that interested. They’re bankrupt and can’t do a damn thing about raising money in Dallas. Move ’em somewhere with an interest. The hype of getting a team on an explosive hot streak this year would probably push it through with comparatively little trouble. Lord knows the players deserve better recognition from the public for their play – which comes in the form of actual fans, something Dallas doesn’t have many of.

      • greynraney - Oct 27, 2011 at 5:12 PM

        I think your comments are misguided. It’s not like the Stars have been in Dallas a short time. Attendance was low last year with the departure of fan favorites like Mike Modano and Marty Turco and I believe they do have the fan base or else this attendance discussion would have started years ago. As a fan it’s hard to see a half filled arena and the forcast for this team going into the season wasn’t great. The Stars have to continue playing well, and if they do I believe the fans will show.

  2. whatswellydoing - Oct 27, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    Sorry, you lost me with the Adam Burish praise.

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